Meet Vantana: Digital creator, artist, Twitch streamer, and online Yoga instructor
With advancements in social media and creator technology, more and more artists are flocking to digital platforms to create art, build community, and inspire others.
It’s also common practice for everyday people to turn off traditional media and seek out entertainment and connection on digital platforms instead. In fact, 4.2 billion people actively use social media, and the average time using social media is nearly 2 hours and 30 min.
Social platforms make it possible for outstanding artists across the globe to share their passions, personalities, and even their favorite brands and products with other people.
Vantana is one such artist who abandoned traditional work during the pandemic to focus on his creative digital projects.
He’s a Twitch-streamer, photographer, painter, musician, and yogi. Not to mention, he’s a joy to watch live. When I saw his stream for Bubble, I knew I had to interview him.
Banknotes: Tell me more about yourself, your background, and how you got started as a digital creator.
Vantana: My name is Vantana (like Santana) and I go by Vantanart. Being an artist of many different mediums, I struggled to find which one called to me the most. I later decided that I didn't have to choose, and I came up with the signature name "VantanART" because it encompasses all sides of me as a creative.
My motto is, "Put your art into it.” And, it became a part of my lifestyle. I've always had an eye for photography, I love painting and drawing, singing/songwriting, and I really enjoy creative direction.
I started my journey over the 2010s by creating and publishing different photo and video projects on various social media platforms. Over time I began performing at open mics and singing on sidewalks in the city of Philadelphia where I was born.
For years, I continued working in countless restaurants as a waiter to fund my creative projects. When the pandemic started in 2020, I hung up my apron for good and, like everyone, a lot of my plans were foiled.
Because I had so much time on my hands, I found my passion for gaming again and eventually found my way to live streaming on Twitch. The rest is still being written.
Banknotes: I see you have a background in fine art, but now you do tons of work on digital channels. How did you make this transition? What advice would you give to other fine artists who are looking to start doing creative work in the digital world?
Vantana: With the digital age being at an all-time high right now, I feel like creating content online is something that is essential for the success of any creator.
After attending school to study fine art, I quickly realized it might not be for me. I started indulging in other avenues of my art like singing/songwriting, graphic design, and photography. I started uploading a lot of my visual art and creative projects on social media. I wasn't really thinking too much about it—I was just producing things that I really loved.
My best advice to artists is to find unique ways of showcasing not only your art, but yourself. Put yourself into your art, and vice versa. Make it personal. People want to connect with you.
When there's a story attached to your art, there's a sense of relatability, and I think that really helps find your target audience. Those people will support you and inspire you to keep creating things that make you light up.
Banknotes: What is your creative inspiration and why?
Vantana: My creative inspiration comes from however I'm feeling at the time. When I'm painting, writing music, or editing my videos, I draw inspiration from whatever I'm fond of, or not very fond of, at the moment and for me, that is always changing.
I like to sit with myself and reflect on experiences and feelings. My best art is created when I open myself up to change and new ways of thinking.
Banknotes: What do you do to build your personal brand across different online platforms? Do you have any suggestions for other creators based on your experience?
Vantana: For me personally, I love to laugh and make others laugh as well. A lot of what I use social media for is laughter. It's free medicine. Making others laugh and smile is my priority when making content.
I also like to provide value and education to my followers. Something they can come back to, to learn from, or get inspired by.
My do's for creators are to stay true to yourself and always remember why you started in the first place. This will center you in times of uncertainty and keep you going.
My dont's would probably be to never compare yourself to anyone else's journey. Everyone's story is different and unique.
Focusing on what you may be lacking will only hurt you in the end. Keep your chin up, and always look forward to greatness coming your way.
Banknotes: What is the advantage of teaching yoga classes online vs. in person? Which do you prefer?
Vantana: The best part about teaching yoga at home is that I'm at home. I can connect with anyone around the world and share the gift of yoga. I love it so much, but sometimes I do wish I could teach my online class in person.
There's something about being in a room of people who all have the same goal: to have a moment of peace. The energy that takes over the room in my yoga classes is truly magical and it's so beautiful to see others getting in touch with their thoughts, their breaths, and their bodies.
I love giving in-person adjustments and helping students get deeper into poses. I also love giving my students a cold lavender towel at the resting portion of the class called "Savasana."
Banknotes: How do you go about building community on Twitch? What’s the importance of community on social media? How have you been able to find and engage with people who relate to your content?
Vantana: I think building a community on Twitch is just as simple as turning the camera or microphone on and doing whatever you want.
Chances are, at least ONE person is going to enjoy your streams and the content you put out, and that's really important. Every streamer starts at zero. Growing a community is not linear and it is not an overnight process.
My favorite thing about being on Twitch is that I have the ability to communicate with people around the world who relate to me and what I love. Another important point is to focus on the things that make you unique and help you stand out.
Banknotes: How do you manage coming up with fresh ideas day after day? What's your well of inspiration?
Vantana: I love watching my own content. When I'm smiling and laughing at my own stuff I know I'm doing something right.
I have a lot of inside jokes with my awesome community (VanFam) and I like to elaborate on those. They inspire a lot of the content I decide to put out.
Banknotes: How did you start getting sponsorships from brands (e.g., Bubble)?
Vantana: I have been contacted by multiple brands and organizations that just didn't align with my core values as a creator.
Bubble was my first official sponsor and it was so exciting to work with them because I love skincare and anything having to do with wellness.
Earlier this year I signed with my management community "Hello Streamer" that helped me get in touch with Bubble and other companies.
They've done an amazing job at helping me acquire great opportunities and really gaining control of my brand’s success.
Banknotes: What can brands do to build a positive relationship with creators?
Vantana: I think it starts with offering something to creators that can help them build. Some brands underestimate the impact content creators have.
Brands that value their creators and their customer base stand out from the rest.
Collaborating with like-minded and diverse creators, along with paying them what they're worth is a great start.
Banknotes: What do you look for when you enter into a partnership with a brand? What can brands do to make an offer attractive for creators?
Vantana: First and foremost, I'd like to collaborate with brands I resonate with and value. I also look for brands that are passionate about what they do.
I put a lot of energy into everything I create, especially if it's attached to my brand. I love when a company shows they are serious about creating an impact in a big way. Some of the offers brands give out can be insulting, especially if they're worth millions.
You are essentially a walking billboard in most instances. Creators brainstorm content, craft quality photo and/or video work, test products, review, and edit, etc.
It's a lot of work and we bring a lot to the table. No one can pay their bills or feed themselves with "exposure.” When a brand recognizes that, it shows in how they deal with others.
Banknotes: What has been the process for the Bubble live stream giveaways? Have they worked well?
Vantana: I've only done one sponsored stream recently with Bubble and my community was really excited about it.
We talked a lot about skincare, played fun games, and had lots of laughs. Working with Bubble was awesome and folks from my community got to try the product, which is great.
Banknotes: What advice do you have for other digital creators who are just getting started?
Vantana: Create content that is true and genuine to you. When you're having fun, it shows.
Talk about subjects that make you light up and show up as the best version of you. This will attract the people who really relate to you and what you're trying to accomplish.
Stay true to yourself, no matter who's watching.
Banknotes: What skills did you unexpectedly develop while pursuing your path as a digital creator?
Vantana: Public speaking is definitely one of them. Finding my voice and using it has been such a confidence booster and has helped shape my content and who I am not only as a creator, but as a person.
I also have picked up really impactful skills like community management, audio engineering, video production, and so much more.
Banknotes: What has been key to your improvement as a digital creator over time?
Vantana: Learning, learning, and learning. There is a whole world wide web of information out there at your fingertips. You can sharpen your knowledge on almost any subject you can think of just by looking it up.
Utilizing my resources and asking the questions I wanted answers to has taught me so much. You can never learn too much. Educate yourself as much as you can.
Another key for me has been to "do it even if it's not perfect." Sometimes we think we won't be successful at something if it's not great from the start.
Being flawless at something that is new to you is just unrealistic. You have to show up to practice over and over again before you can really score big.
Reflect on your work, learn from your mistakes, and grow from that.
Banknotes: What does the future hold for you as a digital creator? What are some of your goals moving forward?
Vantana: I'm not sure. I've been creating content for as long as I can remember and I would never have expected to be where I am now in my journey. I would love to explore work in TV, film, or radio.
I started my own radio show on Twitch called TannaRadio where we explore new music and create discussions about the state of pop culture and current events.
I would also love to get into voice acting and working with wellness brands to educate people on things like mental health and wellness. I'm really grateful for how far I have come and I'm excited about the future.