CHICAGO-When you’ve seen your glorious future, you don’t get surprised when it begins to unfold. It wasn’t always like that for Michael Cox of Born Vain Art. After losing his mom a few years ago, Cox contemplated suicide. The pain of losing his mother was so great, he blacked out and tore up his Atlanta condo. When he finally calmed down and surveyed the damage he did to his home, two weeks after the fact, he had a revelation that gave him a new outlook on life and put him on the road to success like never before. It was at that moment, that Born Vain Art was born.
Currently, his designs are sought after by people from all walks of life in Chicago and beyond. Most recently, hip hop pioneer MC Lyte was spotted with Cox and his signature design. His company, Born Vain Art specializes in custom made hand painted t-shirts and portraits. Back in August of 2014 Bean Soup Times reporter Victoria Joshua said:
With canvased and wearable portraits of Afrocentric musicians, popular athletes, well-known actors, dancers, and even personally painted portraits of buyers, Born Vain Art could arguably be the best hand painting company in the Midwest.
Celebrities and big time athletes continue to wear his work and he’s just getting started. He recently answered a few questions exclusively for Bean Soup Times.
What sparked your decision to start doing your art and what made you realize you could make it a business?
I invented BV when my mother passed away. In sheer madness and hurt I knocked an entire wall down with paint behind her passing. It was in Atlanta. I went home to Chicago for the funeral and forgot I completely destroyed my condo with paint. As I returned to Atlanta, opened the door, the paint had dried on everything. Floors, ceiling, walls, everything. Immediately I knew I had something special. The paint had bubbled up on the walls with the Atlanta hot sun shining through the windows for two weeks, gave my paint an effect I use today in every shirt.
I made it a business after careful cultivation of the different mediums of paint and my new method of painting. After a few tries the shirts came to life
What is your response to being featured front and center in such a big way in one of the biggest annual sporting events?
My art shirts have graced many athletes and entertainment people for years… . It’s only right college basketball get a little taste. I work hard to get my craft noticed and supported by many. Just scratching the surface with the NCAA. Born Vain Art by Michael Cox is on its way to major exposure and worldwide attention.
Have you had formal art training?
No. Never. That’s what makes me understand the gift fully. I wasn’t a nice person before she passed away. I did things I’m not proud of. Actually the day she passed I thought seriously about taking my own life. Depression. As I opened the door to the condo, I felt more lost than I ever felt but as the door opened and I saw the paint dried in an array of colors I suddenly started to laugh and cry at the same time. I knew that the Most High, the universe and my mother got together to save my life and maybe the future lives of my children. Born Vain means the epitome to love one’s self. I had to learn that. It ties into drawing and painting people on tees so they and others can enjoy and love themselves. (Think I said that right lol).
Means the world for me to accomplish this bro. I sit in front of every tee the same. I make damn sure when it leaves my home I know I put my all into it. It’s already been written bro. The Most High made a deal for me to go on and make history. I accepted.
Your mom lives on in such an incredible way. Her gift to the world (you) are being a gift to countless others.
I truly believe that. I have gained humbleness as well as humility. Before, I didn’t have to show those things. I’m so proud to be this person. He makes me feel alive and worth more than monetary gains, although I gotta get this money. It will all come in abundance in due time.
Check out Born Vain on Facebook to see more of his incredible work.