LA Artist YAI Talks Staying In The Moment And Creating Work During Tough Times
Yahira Vila also known as YAI, is an LA based artist working with illustrations, murals, paintings, and merchandise. Her style combines fun cartoonish characters, with pops of color and a touch of surrealism. Recent works include a mural at Welcome Chicken + Donuts and a limited edition capsule collection with Pabst Blue Ribbon.
See the full interview below!
How did the beginning of the year look for you pre-corona?
Everything looked so great and promising, I had lots of gigs lined up, I finally had worked the courage to start applying for contests and events, and I felt very optimistic about pushing myself and my work a little harder. I had gone through a little bit of a rough time the past year where I didn’t know how to make myself be inspired and start painting and beginning of 2020 things started to change, so yeah. I felt great and happy to have a new chance at things. Lucky for me one of the great things I had a chance to do was applying for the Pabst Blue Ribbon can design before everything started going down.
How have you been impacted by the pandemic personally and artistically?
It has definitely been challenging in many ways… I had a few great opportunities coming up. One was painting a mural live for Adobe in Las Vegas and it got cancelled as well as a few other projects like a big mural in Arizona that lost all of the budget.
Those were the negatives of this terrible circumstances, but of course there was some good things happening, like the fact that I became the second winner of the PBR contest and it literally saved my life, thanks to that I was able to get another gig with them creating an art piece and doing a live story on instagram with questions and answers, which was super fun and empowering as well as a virtual drawing battle with Secret Walls. I feel like desperate times call for desperate measures and everybody’s needs and interests had to switch from the outside world to the virtual world.
Has the content of your work changed at all recently?
I wouldn’t really say so, I feel like my work is definitely a reflection of whatever is happening in my life or my mind but I always try to keep it positive and hopeful. I see a lot of artists who started creating trendy things such as the infamous corona virus thingy and the toilet paper rolls, etc but I honestly couldn’t make myself do it… I don’t really like to follow trends like that even though I am quick to follow other ones. If anything my work got a little more detailed since now I have more [time] to spend on each piece.
What’s one message you think is important to remember during this moment?
Now and Always… we can only focus on the present because that’s literally the only thing we really have. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow ( most of all right now ) so let’s enjoy every day, every hour and every minute of it as much as we can.
What’s one of your personal goals for the end of this year?
I would like to have a solo show again this year. It’s been a few years since I last created a full body of work for an art show with the sole purpose of filling up a room with a theme instead of creating pieces that are commissioned. So yeah, hopefully a solo show/art installation and to keep pushing my brand as much as I can. Also I would like to dig deeper and expand my art capabilities