Daemen’s Amani Fanning Unveils Competition-Winning Bus Wrapping for the NFTA

By Calvin Dimmig, News Editor

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority concluded its Black History Month bus wrapping competition on February 1, 2024, and the winner was one of Daemen’s very own. The Daemen Insight sat down with Amani Fanning, a senior student and winner of the NFTA competition, to discuss the creative process, social anxiety, and being a leader in a campus community. Fanning envisions a rich and imaginative body of university students.

“Believe in yourself,” Fanning said, “see your dreams through, and don’t let anyone see your dreams through you.”

Fanning grew up in eastside Buffalo on Gerhardt Street, located along the border of Masten Park and Kingsley. She attended elementary school at Stanley Makowski–a Buffalo Public School–where she discovered her passion for the arts. 

At Daemen University, Fanning was enrolled in the Business program but changed her major to art after two years. Fanning felt she needed to explore her passions and let her creativity shine. Fanning found a role in the Daemen community as a student governor and orientation leader.

Fanning has created various art pieces, and some of her favorites include her musical inspirations. She’s created pieces depicting Jay-Z and Tupac Shakur, two vibrant and iconic rappers in the music scene. Her Tupac piece utilizes abstract shapes, creating contour, a variety of bright colors and a triangular crown laid upon the late rapper’s head. Her pieces typically display elements of realism or cartoons, depending on her inspiration.

Fanning’s inspirations help aid her creative process, but how does Fanning begin to tackle art? 

“My process starts with research and ideation, then I draw thumbnails and sketches, then it goes from there,” Fanning said, “but it’s hard to get stuff out on paper.”

Fanning identified a common adversity that many creatives struggle to overcome. Sometimes, there are so many thoughts and ideas swarming around in your head that it’s hard to put pencil to paper. However, Fanning felt like creating roughs for the bus unwrapping was a breeze.

Amani Fanning’s bus wrapping featuring dancing people, an abstract keyboard, and references to the Colored Musicians Club and The Buffalo Criterion. Posted by WGRZ Channel 2. Jan 2024.

The NFTA bus design that Fanning created featured purple and gold coloring, with swirling musical notes and happy dancers. The piece is dedicated to the Colored Musicians Club, a Buffalo black-owned music venue and jazz museum founded in 1917. Located on Broadway St. near the heart of the city, The Colored Musicians Club is a civil, historical landmark that seems to get less attention. Fanning wanted to give the Colored Musicians Club their flowers. 

Once revealed, Fanning was interviewed by Claudine Ewing at WGRZ News. During her 5:30 segment, Ewing and Fanning discussed the importance of art and African-American representation in the community. Fanning was excited to have had the opportunity to talk about her art to a broader audience, but she was “so scared” to get up on stage. However, Fanning overcame her fears to become “somebody that the kids look up to.”

Fanning would like to thank the NFTA, the Niagara Falls Railroad Center, and her mom and dad for their hosting of the event and support, respectively.

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