The ART Beat of Forsyth Woman

A monthly column that keeps its finger on the pulse of Forsyth’s artists and their inspiring stories. This month’s featured artist, Kyla Eliza, finds power and beauty in the art of destruction, rebuilding art from its fragments and binding connections between her ancestors and herself through vivid colors and various mediums.

Kyla Stimpson |  Kyla Eliza Fine Arts & Design

How would you describe your work?

When it comes to my work I enjoy being a multidimensional mixed media artist. I describe my work as dynamic and constantly changing. Sometimes I rip up one of my paintings to make remnants into earrings, sketchbook covers or collages. Other times I’m relaxed and paint repeating brightly colorful circles, representing my ancestors and thoughts. My artwork isn’t always traditionally “beautiful,” with some pieces more eerie, thought provoking and dreamlike. Most recently, my work includes acrylics, raw canvas, needle and thread, handmade paper and epoxy.

What influences your art ?

My influences and inspiration derive from self-reflection, self awareness, ideas of my ancestors, logic and the use of color. I’m also almost obsessed with Mid-Century Modern design, and design from the early ‘90s. My artwork is also influenced by my relationships and other artists. Interaction between self, spirit and relationships has played a major part in my inspiration. There are also times where I spend endless amounts of time alone to generate ideas, reflect, listen to music and ask questions.

How have you evolved, personally, as an artist?

As a high school freshman, I walked into the art classroom and was greeted by a feeling of belonging; the retracting drawing tables, the stools, drying rack – all of it- suddenly made me feel like I was home. I graduated college with a degree in visual arts and media design at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University which opened doors to my art career. The COVID-19 pandemic led me to become a full-time artist, and in August 2021, I opened Kyla Eliza Fine Arts & Design. I showed in over 20 vendor events in my first year of operating!

You offer lessons and parties, what do you enjoy most about teaching?

Even as a child, I found passion in teaching my imaginary students and parents everything I knew! It’s taken decades to understand what creativity really is, and how to use it to evoke emotion. I’ve learned that to be an artist, you are also a scientist, and I love watching someone’s confidence boost within minutes as they transition from feeling incapable of creating to creating a piece to feeling excited! I’ve taught with The African American Atelier, Inc., Paint Therapy, Dudley High School, Milestones Treatment & Learning Center, and I’m currently independently offering art instruction, paint parties and adding interactive workshops soon.

How do you carve out time to be creative?

Last October, I became an AFAS (Art For Art’s Sake) Artist and have my studio inside the AFAS building in Downtown Winston-Salem. This was the perfect step towards taking time for myself to pursue my creative endeavors. I’m met with a new challenge of carving out time to rest from being in a creative state. I like to say I’m learning how to balance my creativity with other activities such as roller skating, social engagement and self healing.

What are you working on that excites you right now?

I’m working on creating paintings from my series “Surreal Dreams” where I feature vivid colorful (somewhat eerie) scenes from dreams that I’ve experienced. This has been a running series since 2016 and I’m excited that I have time, and a space to sit down and work out some of these ideas in my head.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with fellow artists?

The time is now! Stop with the excuses. Apply for that art show, apply for that event, finish that piece that’s been sitting downstairs in the basement waiting for you and the paintbrush to return.

We create art for ourselves, but it’s selfish of us to keep it away from the world. Find a way to put your art in front of people, invite people to take a look at your perspective of life. You never know how something you create can help others.

If you are interested in learning more about Kyla Eliza you can follow her on Facebook @Kylaelizaarts and Instagram @artbykylaeliza as well as find her work online at Locally, you can visit Kyla’s studio at Art For Art’s Sake’s Artivity Studios, Downtown Winston-Salem. The studio is opened by appointment , First Friday Gallery Hop, and special events.


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