Every so often the staffers at The Word is Bond comes across a truly remarkable story. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw this stunning portrait of Amy Winehouse. I needed to find out who Saleem Naseer-Capone was, but all I had to go off of was a Facebook page. I probed further to get the scoop on this incredible portraitist. I requested some information via email, and he told me his story:
My Name is Saleem Naseer-Capone, born and raised in Buffalo, New York by a single mother of four. My mother to this day jokes that I’ve been an artist since I was in her womb. At just 18 months, My mother and family recognized that I possessed something special, a Gift! One that would change the course of my life forever!
Throughout my childhood, I would go on to win several awards for my gift, eventually going on to attend Mckinley High School for advertising arts and photography. I eventually entered foster care for my sexuality and suffered from a multitude of traumatic experiences. I became an alcoholic by the age of 17 and threw all of my dreams away for an addiction. I married at the young age of 20, to an amazing man that I’m still with today. I’ll be 29 in July.
Addiction robbed me of a decade’s worth of life. I had lost my faith in God, my love for art, and I had begun abusing my husband, friends, and family because of addiction. In late 2018, I decided it was time for me to stop running from myself. I checked into rehab, only to hit rock bottom. I was also facing a divorce at the time, homelessness, and I was at my breaking point. But, God had bigger plans for me.
Today, I am almost a year and a half sober! My marriage survived, and I have begun taking care of my physical and mental health, mending broken relationships, and living the life I deserve. My love for life and art had been restored. My art is not only how I pay my bills, but it’s also my therapy, coping strategy, and the gift that I am adamant about changing the world with!
When you get a moment, please look through Saleem’s work. His likenesses are so detailed and precise. Anyone would be lucky to have a piece commissioned by him.