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Conversations with the Inspiring Arielle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arielle.

Arielle, before we jump into specific questions about your art, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was kind of born into a creative atmosphere. My creativity has always been encouraged by my family, even when they didn’t quite understand it even when I was awful. I started with fashion drawings… I used to want to be a designer. I’d draw these women with impossibly long legs, sky-high heels and one eye (I could never get both the way I wanted them).

As I got older, women of color remained my subject of choice and my pieces became much more abstract. I mostly kept them to myself aside from a small community show here and there. I was in a minor accident near the end of 2014 and began practicing yoga as a result. As it turns out, it fits me and I stumbled into a community of other amazing black yogis and creatives. They really pushed me to come into my own and I started doing shows and immersing myself in my art and yoga practice.

The love and openness I was shown from this community outside of my family is the push I needed to put myself and my art out there.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have definitely had a few challenges along the way. Everyone does. My biggest struggle is in-person exposure. I’m a bit introverted, to say the least. When I first started doing art shows, I’d struggle with speaking to people that stopped to look at my art. They would be standing there discussing the art amongst themselves and I would be off to the side. Slowly shrinking away (imagine that Homer Simpson gif), or awkwardly smiling and avoiding eye contact.

The vast majority of my sales and shares come from online exposure. Typing is definitely easier than a verbal conversation, but putting my art out is so much like putting myself out that it can still be a bit scary. Even now. I recently had the honor of showing at the Emoji Art Show alongside one of my favorite artists and we spoke a bit about my “problem”. He gave me some advice and I have been actively working to apply it. The next show I participated in, I actually did quite well for myself. I made some sales and I made some friends. So that’s great.

If I’d have to leave one token, it’d be that getting out of your comfort zone is actually amazing. As cliché as it sounds. Take that first step, even if it is a baby step. It’s absolutely worth it.

We’d love to hear more about your art.
The majority of my art is centered around women. Generally, they do not have faces and they are always in an abstract setting. My paintings are all a little reflection of me in some way and this is not something I would readily accept before. They represent my emotions and passion and my mood at any given time.

I absolutely love painting with acrylics. The ability to rework my pieces and exploring the textures is amazing. It’s a completely different feel than my digital work. My paintings definitely hold more emotion, without a doubt. I am able to fully immerse myself into the process in a way that my digital art does not allow. I think that embracing both has helped me balance my emotions with my logic and has helped me grow immensely.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership in your industry or generally?
Women as a whole have been portrayed as the gender that is supposed to play nice, hold their tongues and take up as little space as possible. This definitely crosses over into the workplace and any blended social settings.

Existing as a female in any space comes with its own special “unpleasantries”. From my experience, the creative “market” in Atlanta has been very welcoming and open to all types of individuals. I do, however, believe that I am lucky enough to exist in a time where women are breaking barriers and making progress in a very public manner across the board. There are so many amazing women that are speaking up and taking up ALL of the space and it’s amazing to witness.

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