I first met Audrey when I was on the search for an artist to collaborate with on our new ebook Smash it!. I immediately connected with her work. I mean, I couldn’t stop talking about it – these wacky pictures of girls with swirls of colour on their faces – there was just something so emotive about her style.
You gotta know something about Audrey: she is fierce. She is a chick who goes for what she wants in life and her energy is just contagious. I asked her if I could interview her for the blog and she said YES, so here we are. Reader meet Audrey…
How did you get involved with designing the cover for aliljoy’s new ebook Smash it!?
I just saw on Twitter about needing an arty cover for aliljoy and I decided to send a message. I thought maybe my work could fit the positive and colourful mood of the future ebook.
What appealed to you about the project?
I love each project that is empowering, positive and bringing out curiosity and greatness in everyone. I know, it seems a lot to look forward to in one single work but people very often forget the importance of the communication and the exchange between two people. Working on this, I knew I would have a nice time, sharing what I love the most – my arty work, and learning new things.
I heart even more the ebook’s message: Smash it! To me it means: Go out, do your thing, don’t look back. Be confident and happy. Love yourself and what you do.
You are an artist, designer and illustrator, but has this always been what you wanted to do?
I always wanted to work in art, since forever.
It’s only when I studied Fine Arts at 20 that I had an epiphany and realized I could draw. It’s like; all these years of loving art could finally begin to take life on a blank page. I studied graphic design for two years, and did a relatively large amount of personal work at the same time. Drawing these women, with colors on their faces, and their flawless hair, it’s been unexpected. But I love it so much.
I always wanted to be a designer but I just didn’t knew I could be an artist too.
I’m still on my way to discover how far I can go in all of this. I feel like I’m only at 10% of creative potential, which is great.
Where do you find your creative inspiration? / What are your artistic influences?
Every work, design, drawing, anything always start with a song. I never start drawing without setting music first. My favourite musical artists are Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Lana Del Rey, and Coldplay.
What I seek in an artist is emotion. You know, that’s strange. When people look at me I wonder what they see: my wheelchair or my bold red lipstick?
I want people to look at my art, and have an emotion.
That’s one of the reason I do draw faceless women: I want people to look at these women, and to feel something, but without being attracted to a pretty face just like I feel something when I come across seeing an artwork for the first time.
To me, creativity is infinite and that’s why art fascinates throughout the ages.
What challenges (personal/professional) have you come across on your journey as an artist?
I’ve been through a lot in the past two years, I felt like a weirdo in my class. But I stood my ground to face most of the people that were trying to discourage me in some way.
Doing arty works is so intimate. I tried shooting photography this year, and I did a series of photos of my own hands, and when I saw the result I felt naked. When I showed it to the teacher he said: ‘I don’t get it’ and then he added ‘when I see this, I think that being handicapped is uncool.’
This crushed my entire world.
Sure, my hands are unusual but I always loved them, I can do so much with them, I can draw, I can write, I just can you know? Through these photos, you can see that my hands are raw and elegant at the same time. So I held my head high, and kept going. Because I know this is worth it.
What would you say to someone in the same position as you who was thinking about pursuing their dream, but encountering obstacles?
I would say that if you love something hard enough, then don’t stop. There’s something so unique and attractive in a brave person because your struggle is your story.
Why does art matter?
First, art always mattered. Art is what is left when everything else in life does not make sense anymore. I wish more people embraced their arty side.
Do you have a motto/favourite inspirational quote?
‘Be the change you wish to see in the world,’ by Gandhi. I realized very early that nobody would be able to make my dreams, my goals come true for me. I had to take control of my life and be ambitious for myself. Sure, the road is long and uncertain, but there’s had this invisible string pulling me on the right direction. As a child, I knew I would make big stuffs. It might seem cocky but that’s true.
I always embraced my weirdness, ambitions, creativity, and even wheelchair.
I thought ‘different is good’ and it just means people will my main difference at first sight. All I thought, maybe, it could even help me to make a change.
What are your goals for the new year?
So many. I am gonna participate in my first exhibition, and that makes me so happy. I intend to sell some of my art (canvas, drawings). I know I’m gonna meet some celebs, Ed Westwick per example (I have a thing for English men), and I just want to show them my works, because who knows… Strong connections can be found in the most unexpected places. I just want to keep being happy.
How are you going to Smash it!?
Oh Lord. I think I’m a person of ‘fire’ and I love that. I consume myself with love, imagination, friendships and travels. I’m headstrong, and when I decide I want something, there is almost no limit. I’m gonna Smash it with all my strength because I don’t know what else to do.
I rise up each time someone tries to tame this fire of mine.
But getting stronger is also meaning getting tougher which is not that cool, I want to keep some innocence; the idea that brighter days are always ahead, that hope is real.
What brings you a lil’ joy?
Tons of things. Wearing a new nail polish, finishing a drawing, trying to blend colourful inks together, writing. I think in order to be happy we must learn to respect and love ourselves first. Basically, sharing my story here brings me a lil’ joy because I hope that maybe someone who will read this will see how cool it is to be yourself.
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