How did the project start? I’d say I started drawing very early. As far as I can remember, as soon as I was able to draw, color and hold a pencil, I was creating. I remember spending hours at the kitchen table, just drawing whatever came to mind. It’s always been a part of my life.
What are three adjectives to describe your style? Lively, Expressive and emotional.
Walk us through your creative process. Does it vary, if so, how? Since I do my artwork with colored pencils, it’s very important to have the right kind for the job. Using something with a soft core is optimal for blending, so I always stick with my Prismacolors. Next, we move on to the paper, I use smooth Bristol paper, because, once again, I can get a nice blend with it since it doesn’t have too much tooth. After I have my supplies ready, I like to brainstorm. I will usually pick something that has been heavy on me for some time. After that, I just think about what I want to represent those feelings with visually. I have an affinity for animals and wildlife, so I love using them to help send messages to my audience. I’d say the thing that varies the most is time. The more complex the piece, the longer it is going to take, with my most recent taking me over five months to complete.
How has your art evolved since you started?
I started out wanting to become good at realism. I wanted to be able to draw everything around me the way I saw it. I practiced ALL the time, I’d pick actors I liked or singers and draw them. Over time, I started using it as a method to express my deeper thoughts. So I explored more metaphorical means, also, coupled with some research on different animals and such, to start creating something with more depth. I wanted people to feel something when they saw it. I wanted maybe even some people to feel comforted or validated by my work.
What is your favorite creative tool, and why?
There’s a lot to choose from, but I’d say either the electric pencil sharpener, or the pencil shaving duster I keep on my drafting table.
What about being an artist fills your cup?
Why should others take interest in the arts? Being an artist probably means you think outside the box. Thinking outside the box requires coffee, so technically what fills my cup as an artist is coffee, but also the fact that I can represent beyond words feelings that cannot always be verbally communicated to others. Art brings people together, it changes with time, creates history and heals people. I think anyone looking for a more mindful existence should take a dive into the arts and see what they can find out about themselves.
Any advice for new or struggling artists?
It will take a very long time, It will be hard, you will feel like giving up, but as long as you continue to persevere and create, you will improve, you will meet your goals, and you will eventually exceed your own expectations. It takes passion to be an artist.
What upcoming project should we look for, and where can we look for it?
I’ll be doing on-demand live portraits at Grovefest today in Coal Grove at Paul Porter Park. As for fine arts, you can view R.E.M. at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center in Ashland. I am always creating, you can find my artists page on Facebook by searching “Art by Shayna” or using the tag @artbyshayna14.
What question do you never get asked that you would like to be asked?
How would you answer? Do you think art has to do with talent or practice? That would be the question I never get asked. In my opinion, as long as you stay passionate, you practice, you research and you create, you can become an Artist. All that it takes is time. That’s all it takes.