Meet the Artist
When asked his preferred title, Taj Stansberry says, “‘Artist’ explains it all, but at the end of the day, [it’s] whichever person relates to me the most.”
The photographer, director, author and all-around creative genius has directed music videos by some of your favorite music artists, including Rihanna, J-Lo, Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Chris Brown, Nas and plenty more. The Oakland, Calif., native is also the talent behind Viceland’s television series The Therapist.
In addition to daddy duties, the proud father is debuting more projects this year. He’s starring in a film called On the Radio, which is directed by Preston Whitmore (writer/director of This Christmas); and he’s releasing his second book, Turbulence 2: Above the Setting Sun, along with several art exhibitions. He’s even working on a new series surrounding mental therapy.
With creative ambitions that show no bounds, Stansberry reflects, “Honestly, I just can’t wait until my name explains all you need to know about me.” -Tamara Crockett
How does your love for art and creative expression play into your style?
Balance is a major element in my work… It’s the same way I approach getting dressed for the most part. This doesn’t mean all textures and colors are evenly distributed either. It just means if I’m rockin’ heavy floral patterns or sailor stripes, I may go light on the feet or vice versa.
Do you feel compelled to have a defined style or aesthetic when working in an industry centered around appearances?
As an artist, I really like my work to take center stage. I never want to overshadow it by purposely drawing attention to myself. However, there’s a beautiful space where both my work and my defined style can co-exist. I use that space as my metric system, which reveals if I’m going to be TAJ, Taj or invisible that day.
What item(s) is most essential to you and why?
I’d have to say my denim jeans. A good pair can be worn three to four times a week and will just get better and better with wear and age. [I’m] not big on jewelry. But my first girlfriend from seventh grade bought me a diamond cross. I rarely receive gifts, and it’s a symbol of lifelong friendship, so I never take it off. Plus, gold provides the “pop” when you need it.
Who or what has influenced your style the most?
Today, so many things/people influence me. I kind of keep my eyes and mind open when I’m out in the world. I feel like the more you allow yourself to be influenced by, the better off any creative journey you’ll embark on will be—including simply getting dressed in the a.m. And as for who, my older brother and brilliant creative director, Bobby Joseph.
What one wardrobe piece would people be most surprised to see in your closet? Probably my camo onesie. And not because it’s camo. I think it’s on my IG. lol.