Cheyenne Sookoo, a Brooklyn teen, paints stunning images of women of color and has probably already sold more work than most artists do in their lifetime. And that’s because she has an entrepreneurial mind.
Sookoo spends hours inside her family’s apartment creating stunning paintings of women of color. She often forgets to eat and drink. Her hard work, having already dedicated over 10,000 hours to her trade and having won the “National Youth Entrepreneurship” prize as well, is evident.
She was just named one of the Top Ten Young Entrepreneurs in the World for her creative venture. She has sold hundreds of paintings and her fee for a live event is about $1,500.
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She explains that her business, “‘Events on Canvas’, is a company that specializes in live painting at events ranging from weddings to corporate events. So it will be a new form of entertainment to make your event stand out.”
She entered “Events on Canvas” in competitions sponsored by the non-profit organization, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship that helps young people mostly in black and Hispanic communities become more entrepreneurial and build business skills.
“And these business plan competitions are sort of like Shark Tank for Teens. You pitch your eight-minute business presentation through Powerpoint to a panel of judges and you are asked some questions,” Sookoo explained. With the help of her business teacher, Sookoo won $6,000 in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship competition.
“This means so much to me that I am recognized for an art business. I had many people throughout my journey tell me that I can’t do this, I can’t be an artist, I’m going to be a starving artist, I’m going to fail and NFTE has helped me with the entrepreneurial mindset in terms of not giving up,” she revealed.
Her current series highlights the beauty of women of color and her love of nature.
“So the blue one over there represents water, her name is Oshun, the green one is earth, her name is Eden, this one is Neolani, she represents air, that one is fire, her name is Enya and this one is the ether, her name is Aerglo,” she told NY1 News while naming each painting.
Sookoo’s mother is also an artist and pushed her towards her passion at an early age. She attended Brooklyn High School of the Arts and commenced her business at age 14 through her site “Paints by Chey”. Sookoo also sells custom designer clothing and impeccable canvases.
“I am happy doing what I love to do and I don’t need to work retail or nine to five, I’m going to be my own boss”, she expressed.