Inspiring Female Artists: Ayicia
Supporting the arts and small businesses anyway we can is so important right now. This is the second in my series where I feature Inspiring Female Artists. Today I’m spotlighting Ayicia (eye-EE-shuh). Ayicia is a portrait artist who specializes in realism and solely uses colored pencils. When she's not using colored pencils she uses a #2 pencil or charcoal. Her work is astonishing. I enjoy her style because along with realism she brings the extraordinary. I originally saw her amazing work on Instagram and was completely blown away by her message/inspirational words on her website.
“As a portrait artist, my biggest goal is for you to experience these pieces and recognize your own beauty and self worth. Welcome to the world through my eyes.”
Welcome to the world indeed! You are looking at 70 hours of work with colored pencils!! The attention to detail, the colors...my mind is completely blown. I am just IN LOVE with this portrait of my daughter Ophelia at only 3 months. This is more than anything I could have ever imagined! Below is the original photograph I sent for inspiration.
I absolutely adore Ayicia's creativity. She checked in with me every step of the way and I was so so happy with every idea she came up with. The crown and the dress are so fitting...perfection. I had to know more behind the scenes. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.
1. Walk us through this amazing portrait of Ophelia. What was your thought process and how did you bring the photograph to life?
"Immediately, once I saw the picture of Ophelia, I saw her in a hot red dress with a golden bodice. I knew, right off the bat, that’s what I would aim for. I started almost immediately. And then, about 16 hours in I realized some of the proportions were off.
I am such a sucker for proportions and correct positioning so I decided to start over. In order to make sure things were drawn properly, I got the random notion to draw upside down. To my surprise, that resulted in far better proportions than the first picture. I slowed down my process to perfect the details within the piece.
Drawing with colored pencils causes you to ponder the layering of colors and how they would blend together. For example, her face is comprised of a blend of Peach, Light Umber, Beige, Chestnut and Tuscan Red. Too much Peach would even the tone to the point where there could be a lack of shadows. Tuscan Red, in excess, could remove highlights and produce a red face. I enjoy layering the colors to produce a sense of molding, and shape, a sense of transitioning without the evidence of any outlines. I like to create pieces that are as lively, as the person I am referencing, that pops from the page when you see it.
My hopes are that my artwork is always an experience, more so than a drawing."
2. Where did your passion for art begin?
"I’ve enjoyed drawing ever since I was a child. I remember making short stories where I would illustrate characters going about different scenarios. I'd staple it all together and then read it out to my family. My first ever character was an ambiguously aged girl named Sally. She had two long blonde ponytails and could be found in almost every story I made, even at school.
My art kind of played a background role in high school, only being used for homework assignments here and there. However, once I graduated, I began to return to my artistic roots, drawing more often. My Mom gave me a set of colored pencils for Christmas of 2016. Around that time, I began seriously experimenting with color for the first time.Since then, I have been practicing as much as I can, creating any and everything that comes to my mind.
My goal is to, one day, create novels, animated series, animated films, and multi-dimensional art pieces, surrounding different ideas God has blessed me with."
3. What has changed for you during these uncertain times? Are you more motivated? Has your style changed?
"This quarantine has actually improved my motivation a lot. Ironically, I’ve been receiving more calls for commissions during this time than beforehand. I had actually paused commissions to take time for myself and regroup things. When I draw pieces for others, I clear my schedule so that I can better pour into it. I separate myself from everyone, pray for wisdom, turn on some gospel music and focus solely on producing the best art that I can. As a result, my art is almost never just drawing. It’s an important responsibility for me. So, I’m careful to only open commissions when I am prepared and able to fully commit. I don’t feel comfortable giving half done pieces, regardless of how well I am paid.
Now, I have many people reaching out in regards to getting pieces done. I plan on opening commissions back up within the coming weeks. I’m excited to share my gift with others! It means a lot to me, to have people entrust their portraits to me, whether it’s a piece just for the fun of it or a gift for someone they love dearly."
4. What inspires you?
"I spend much of my time seeking out and spending time with God. If you talk to many people I know, one of the things they’ll tell you, is I love to pray. I love prayer and praise and worship, reading scriptures. One of my biggest sources of inspiration is my time with God. He is always revealing things to me, many times even about myself. It transforms my life, my thought process. It shapes how I see those around me. My best ideas usually come in the middle of church service (out of respect, I just jot down the idea and then draw it when I get home).
I also draw inspiration from African Americans. I grew up in a poor, predominately Black neighborhood. I’ve seen firsthand the different negative identities and labels placed among people. I’ve had classmates that were shot and killed, I've experienced racist experiences firsthand. I’ve experienced trauma, even bullying in my childhood. I know what it’s like to have nothing and to assume you are the equivalent. It literally wasn’t until I spent time with God that I realized that was not my story, it’s just an interruption. One of my greatest desires is to help other African Americans realize the same; that they are not what happened to them.
That’s why so many of my pieces are of Black babies and children. It’s what I wish I had seen when I was a child. It’s often what I wish I could see now. I enjoy combining realism with the unexpected; the impossible. I believe the most magical moments are the ones you can place yourself in. I feel the best art pieces are the ones you can capture yourself in, even if you weren’t the one who originally made it.
Such beautiful words and so inspirational. Thank you Ayicia for sharing such descriptive, personal, and beautiful answers.