• Nhayah Goode

Who's This? This Is Saleam.

Straight out of Connecticut and straight into the streets of Atlanta, This Is Saleam.

Saleam is a self-taught, freehand artist. He discovered one of his gifts at the fresh age of five years old. He recalls drawing and scribbling on his Grandmothers walls, like most children would do, treating the walls as one big canvas. Grandma eventually tired of poppin’ Saleam over her walls, so she went on and invested in his creativity, by buying young Saleam color pencils, sketch pads, and markers and his gift began to come to life.

As colorful as his early days on this earth were, there were some gray areas, which is the dark side that a lot of our Black Children experience due to the Black experience in the US. Saleam says growing up in the streets of Connecticut had its ebb and flow. He spent most of his youth in and out of group homes, with a little time in prison as well. He was an only child and unfortunately, his Dad wasn’t around, and his Mother pushed through challenging times. As the saying goes, it takes a village and his righteous Grandmother, stepped in and as Saleam says, “She was the only one who truly believed in him.” Since the age of fifteen, Saleam has been rolling solo and fine tuning his gifts.

Carrying that innate, melaninated resilience and hustler spirit, which consists of of surviving, propelling, and thriving, Saleam made his way to Atlanta in 2009, with approximately $4 in his pocket. The Universe and law of attraction rewards fearlessness and a focused mind, thus Saleam began to see the surprise and delight this life experience can bring forth when you allow your gifts to lead the way. Your intelligent, enduring mind and your innate gifts will always provide for you. In 2014, Saleam begin to receive dividends for his artwork and after that, the fruit of his labor began to flourish. He decided to take the risk of making his gift provide for him fulltime.

The divine number of seven, symbolizes prosperity, perfection, renewal, and completion. Saleam has seven Murals in the city of Atlanta. You can find one of them outside of the Decatur fire department, he’s painted a mural for a Jamaican restaurant called Dat Fire, the Peoples Town commissioned Saleam to do a one hundred feet collaborative mural with a woman named Lauren Stinburge. He’s created a mural of the late Dr. Martin Luther King and it’s located across the street from Ashby train station. The Art Man struck again with his most recent masterpiece; a custom-made floor mural located at Juice Heads ATL.

Saleam crossed those streets and made his way to a few screens. You remember the TV show STAR with Queen Latifah and Ryan Destiny? Saleam’s artwork made its debut in an episode on season 5 and some of his pieces were in Urban Grind, a venue that was featured on an episode of Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta. He’s even painted, standing on the slabs of the State Capital for local politicians, who were honoring Green Leaf actor, owner one of the most brilliant voices of all time, Keith David. Rapper Rick Ross and Basketballer Dwight Howard have copped some of Saleam’s canvasses, along with a few other familiar famous faces.

Saleam still resides in the ATL, caring for his disabled Mother. One of his ultimate goals is to inspire, uplift, and travel the world with the vibrancy and intention of his art. In my first months living here in Atlanta, I aligned with Saleam and captured one of his creations and the painting is the epitome of what he wants you to feel. Every day I see Lady Butterfly Goddess hanging on my wall, dripping in all of my favorite colors, along with a few of the other prints I have of Saleam’s work, they truly bring me joy, while stimulating my irises.

What’s Next?

Saleam says he can and he will open his own gallery one day soon. One of the next moves for his gift and to expand his brand, is that he’s in the process of manufacturing his own skateboard company, featuring a variety of different characters from his brilliant and creative mind. Be on the lookout. In the meantime, you can catch him some days, on the animated streets of Atlanta’s Art District in Little Five Points to collect a print or painting two. Coming June 1st, no matter where you are in the world, pieces from his collection will be available for purchase. Until then, go to www.saleambey.com for a preview and when you look for him on Instagram, push that follow button @saleam_malik.

That’s Saleam.

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