Meet the Chris Walker, Founder of Urbanime
Stay focused. Stay passionate. Understand your way. The more grounded you are, the more you’ll find possibilities to find their way to you. When they do, you’ll be ready for them or even have the ability to prioritize and pass on ones that are not optimum at that moment. — Chris Walker
A superhero in his own right, Chris Walker is a creativepreneur, culture curator, and comics veteran who delivers authentic and entertaining experiences for multicultural audiences. A creative alum of Marvel and DC comics, Walker blends decades of experience into his role as founder and publisher at Urbanime, a comic and urban lifestyle brand that represents “the culture” in a way that comics have never done before. With his team at Urbanime, Walker is here to shift the perception of comics for creators and fans alike. He wants readers to trust that Urbanime titles were made by someone who understands them, their culture, and their experiences first-hand. As someone who has lived on all sides of the comic universe, from fan to colorist to now publisher, Chris brings an unmatched level of dopeness to the forefront of genre fiction. He’s here to let the world know that the time is now for Black and Brown culture in comics and beyond. Chris Walker and Urbanime have now and are here to stay.
Now if we can, I’d like to go way back for a little while. Where did you grow up?
I’m from Greensboro, NC. It was great. I had an awesome childhood filled with cartoons, comics, and toys. As I graduated and went on to High School and College (East Carolina University), I enjoyed a state that has beautiful weather, parks, and virtual environments. I grew up around the arts and music, which heavily influenced me.
What inspired your entrepreneurial journey ?
I love storytelling and creativity. I have pursued both my whole life. Story is amazing. It helps us understand our life’s journey and purpose.
Tell me about what problem your business solves?
We empower Black and Brown audiences through story and help them challenge the notion of who and what they can be.
What do you define as failure?
Stopping. You have to keep going and make your dreams happen, even if they do not look exactly how you imagined at the start.
What have you felt you have failed at? What might you have done to prevent those failures?
I wouldn’t say I’ve failed at anything. I stay excited about my goals and what I want to create. There are ways I could improve how I go about them, but that said, I review wins and losses (if you want to call that.) The goal is always to be improving. If I listed anything, it would not be failing faster. There’s a balance that has to be struck between perfection and progress.
What kind of impact do you want your brand to leave on your reader?
With our focus being Black and Brown audiences, the impact we want is to empower this audience and help them believe in themselves and their abilities. Our goal is to help them unlock who they are and embrace their unlimited potential.
What is your why? Why you did you start your journey?
For me, my why is a belief in story and its ability to transform our lives. Story helps us to navigate life and give it meaning, through relationships, culture, community, and even understanding oneself better.
What hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?
A major challenge came from a background and city that did not focus on art and creative services. My parents did a great job exposing me to the arts as much as possible and helped me get into art school. I moved to various cities, NY, San Diego, Chicago, and Toronto to gain exposure to build my career. It was challenging as I didn’t have an internship or apprenticeship, so I broke into eh professional world by networking on my own.
When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
I would say middle school when I was drawing comics with friends and creating my first characters. My mom suggested I print copies at Kinkos and sell them at school for 25¢. I was like, ok not a bad idea. I’ve had the bug ever since!
Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
In all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been anything else. I was not full-time until my 30’s. I love the ability to solve unique problems and apply creative problem-solving to business. It stretches my brain in remarkable ways.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not be achieving their goals?
Stay focused. Stay passionate. Understand your way. The more grounded you are, the more you’ll find possibilities to find their way to you. When they do, you’ll be ready for them or even have the ability to prioritize and pass on ones that are not optimum at that moment.
What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
We want to shift the culture. Urbanime, as I have been told, is the genre. When audiences think of urban culture and genre fiction mixed with Hip Hop sensibilities, they should think Urbanime.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
I’ve had several mentors over the years and consider myself blessed. I had a business advisor for ten years from the Small Business Technology and Development Center, as well as a few art mentors who helped me understand art and commerce. Brian Steelfreeze (Black Panther) helped me translate my training as a painter to comics as a colorist.
Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
I went to my first comic convention at 16, and that was a wrap. I decided the next day comics were my career path. The following year I was in art classes and after school in an art program.
What’s next for you in your brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
Next up is more Mixtapes and Listening Parties from Urbanime and the release of Relic, Codex, and Domain! Very excited about empowering the culture and telling its story in imaginative ways.