Shingi, an angel, a muse, an artist, an inspiration to me and many in so many ways.
A stunningly radiant photographer and well being muse, her uplifting and charismatic work translates throughout all she shares online. From her professional work, to self portraits, recipes, well-being advice and so much more through the use of her eloquent voice. Her art transcends the visual into the hopeful, a bright muse of floral and beige tones and a mind just as beautiful.
I had the honour of asking Shingi my ever curious questions, about her art, her health and her inspirations and to share her answers here through this glorious platform of musings.
I welcome you all as we briefly enter the world of Shingi Rice, I do hope that you do enjoy.
photo by Shingi Rice
Your work to me feels like a celebration of the warrior within. As if you paint them with a magic brush that details their personal enchantments - their inner faes, witches, shamans & warriors, their bright magic within. I'm curious, when you take photographs what is it about your subjects that you look to in order to gain the inspiration you need for that one magic shot?
I love to show the people I photograph the distinct beauty I see in them that they may lack to see in themselves, I find that sometimes when I photograph someone, they first shy away from their beauty and sometimes fail to believe in it, sometimes I feel like shaking them until they see it, but when my work does that for me, I feel elated. In the process of model selection, tend to vie away from a specific look, but instead choose to highlight people of colour, because within the industry I work in, there is a distinct lack of ethnic diversity, and so I want to make it a priority.
photo by Shingi Rice
What first inspired you to pick up a camera?
I, myself, am an only child, I grew up in the Spanish countryside with my parents, myself and a home full of cameras. When I was about 12 years or so, I attended a school trip to the southwest of Spain and decided to bring a camera along with me. I documented my experience and found a new love for taking pictures of memories and landscapes, and appreciating the final product too. Being alone, I was my own best friend, entertaining myself with my camera, taking pictures of my cats, the landscape, myself, everything. Always drawn to the world of art and fashion I decided to attend art college where I could Merge my two passions and craft them into more. I began documenting my friends, styling them and taking their photo's... and now, here we are.
What inspires you to turn the camera onto yourself?
To be honest, being in lock down I was pushed into the world of self-portraiture. In the past I have had my photograph taken by wonderful photographers and friends, the results were always stunningly beautiful but they lacked that one thing that felt like me, and I don't think another person, unless they know you, like the inside of your skin, can equate the vision you hold for yourself. I wanted to document myself in the way I see myself as I am. I wanted to be my own art, my own muse & create my own visions as I am. I'm having a lot of fun taking my own photo's, playing around with them, getting creative, I've discovered a lot about myself through this work and I love the thought of looking back at my work in 2-3 decades to witness again what I was up to at this point in my life.
I follow both of your accounts - your photography & your personal, and am in awe of all that you share, especially when it comes to well-being & health, food & books. I wonder, what inspires you most when it comes to the world of well-being? And what has your personal well-being journey looked like for you?
I had heart surgery almost 8 years ago, and when you have an experience like that it tends to awaken your bodily awareness, you want to pay more attention to how to treat it and what you're doing with it. I had surgery a year before I moved here to the U.K, and it wasn't until I got here that I took more serious steps, especially in regards to the food I was eating. I cut out meat 100% and I found a live-in landlord who stayed with me 6 months out of the 12 who was a strict vegan and wanted to live with someone who had the same dietary requirements, I figured this would be the best opportunity to live in a household that created the dedication I needed for my health and diet. I did have a few slip ups, as you do, I mean Onken yogurts and cheddar cheese, wow. And then I went to America a year later, which was a complete eye opener for me, witnessing their diets and how bad it was, triggered more of a need for conscious nutritional health. But yes, surgery was my main trigger, I had surgery while still attending college which put me through a lot of stress, this triggered a BIG spiritual awakening too. I feel like veganism was my gateway into mediation, yoga, mindfulness, it all seemed to follow through. I've been working on these things A LOT lately, mostly meditation and some yoga. Going through hard times really does inspire a better you.
I love so much how you show up to world & the world of Instagram, the colours you adorn yourself with, your sense of style, your grace and personality. I'm curious to know what your style evolution has been like, how it plays a part in your journey and if it has always been easy to exist so wholly as yourself in this way?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, how I used to be when I was in college and how my style has evolved.
I attended boarding school growing up, living in the countryside made getting to school daily pretty difficult. My boarding school was within a major city of the region we lived, so a stark contrast from my rural up-bringing and being away from home forged a lot of self-discoveries. When I was still in secondary school, I made a lot friends who attended the art college, and I started to dress in a lot of black and get piercings, I started listening to a lot of rock music, and soul music too, Like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. I began to discover who I am through this process. At the end of secondary school, I Locked my hair and got more piercings, dyed my hair and shaved it after surgery. Dying my hair was a big mistake, I wasn't aware of the processes needed to dye Afro hair, so bleaching it and dying it red myself was not a good idea. Moving to the U.K also added to my identity, I mean moving to a new country with a shaved head will do that to a person. I noticed when I moved, I switched my love of silvery jewellery to brass and gold, appreciating how it looked so much better upon my skin tone. I locked my hair again and began that journey once more. I have always been a big tomboy, wearing baggy clothes, not caring for makeup and those sorts of things. But I see now, I express myself through more makeup and "girlier" clothing, playing with more colours and textures. I became far more conscious about the clothes I buy, buying less from Zara (living in Spain, buying from Zara is like a rite of passage) and more from consciously sustainable brands, buying second hand and using this to fuel my expressionist creativity. In more recent years, I have actually taken to boycotting fast fashion as a way to generate more sustainability. Jewellery for me, is something quite ritualistic, I always have rings on my fingers and earrings in my ears, I love to adorn my body this way. But yes, I always found it to be very easy to melt into myself.
What have been your biggest inspirations this year?
You know what, I feel like community has, because in this year, there are so many things that we have given up on, but we haven't given up on community, our loved ones, our friends, our families, if anything we've been brought together more. Love, understanding, empathy, that has inspired me a lot. Seeing smiles and happiness, it really inspires me and gives me hope.
How do you hope to inspire others?
The way I hope to inspire others is too, through community, to live a very mindful and wealthy life. Wealthy, be in mindset, be in eating, how you show up to the world and making sure you create a sense of belonging. What I've realised is that people get lost in where they belong, and so I create a space in which I belong, so that others can feel that too, well, I hope that's what I'm doing.
And lastly, how do you let your fae fly free?
I had to google what fae meant, realising you mean "faery".
I feel like I can answer this is so many different ways, but firstly, I believe myself to be very carefree. I do what I want, but respectfully, knowing that my actions won't cause harm to another being, I give myself permission to be as free as I can be. I'm pretty open minded and open to the world and I find grounding to be an important tool. Stepping on the land with bare feet, feeling free in this way, forgetting everything else and being present on the marshes, drowning the mundane noise.
You can find more of Shingi's words and work through her accounts on Instagram @bluespit & @spitblue
sending love to all
*cover photo, a portrait of Shingi by photographer Jasmine Malone*