I began my journey as a visual artist from a young age; drawing, sculpting, and painting with whatever objects I could find around the house. I was a second grader when I was placed into my first visual arts program, and have continued to study art in a classroom setting ever since. I am appreciative of my time in the classroom. I learned patience from exploring new media, picked up on new techniques from teachers and professors, gained inspiration from art history lessons, and sharpened my artistic eye with dozens of still lives. As I grew technically, I saw myself begin to slip back into phases of exploration and childlike creation. Building these technical skills has also taught me how to break them down. I began to use them to my advantage in some of my abstract work, and sometimes completely abandoned them. As a perfectionist by nature, I strive for sharpness, focus and likeness in my work. This process is both taxing and rewarding. However, as I continue to explore abstraction, I learn that process has always been what drives my creativity; from the focus it takes to perfect a busy still life, to the abandonment of thought it takes to make an automatic drawing or painting. With the work I created this year, I explored both, letting each process give and take from the other. I continue to see the beauty to be found in embracing the part of my mind that hones in on details for hours. And I continue to explore the endless process of creating without thought, which I have learned to be the ultimate reflection of the subconscious.
My name is Aaliyah Arnold. I am a 20 year old photographer and printmaker from Jeanerette, Louisiana. My inspiration for my art has always been the raw and unfiltered world and life experiences. My love for art started like many others probably have. I picked up my phone one day and took a picture of a plant, and fell in love with the idea of doing it forever. I’ve since expanded into printmaking as a second medium.
When creating my art I am in my most vulnerable state, which tends to produce very emotional pieces for me. Art has always been my cool down from the world around me, it’s my therapy. I always have some part of myself within my work, it is my way of sharing bits and pieces of my life with the world. My process of creating art is much like the world around me, it can get messy and frustrating until something beautiful comes from it. That is the best part of art for me.
Over the past 10 years I have been creating art with the intentions of expressing the beauty of oneself and social issues within my community. Sitting on Glory is derived from a series I created called the Golden Hour. This series embarks on the idea of one’s true beauty and self-appreciation. I try to exhibit elements and overall vision that touches others’ hearts. My inspiration is derived from many things. Most of my ideas come from life choices, revelations, social issues and many forms of creative expressions. Sitting on Glory is a mixed media piece using acrylics, metallic markers and gold leaf flakes on canvas. Being appreciated is a way to feel that we’re important to others, and are valued, or even cherished. It is validating and meaningful to hear that you are appreciated for who you are. It makes people feel valued while also helping with the well-being and mental health of that individual.
I use my work as an outlet to play with the relationship between realism and surrealism. The subject matter is my reality, while the way I choose to express said reality is through my fantasy. My inspirations come from various music genres such as hip-hop, alternative, R&B/soul and electronic, as well as a plethora of animated works. I am heavily inspired by the elaborate– hand drawn scenes showcased in older Japanese animated films and television shows including “Akira” and “Cowboy Bebop”. Growing up, I was enamored by Faith Ringgold’s “Tar Beach” because she was not only the writer, but also the illustrator. Her work, in addition to the work of Radcliffe Bailey and Alfred Conteh has influenced me. It is inspiring to see successful, black artists who create such a diverse range of work still be able to incorporate their signature style and voice within each piece—no matter the medium they use. Within my work I touch on topics regarding loss, identity, self-preservation and spirituality. These topics have been prevalent over the course of my journey, therefore I hope to create work that speaks to those that are dealing with or have dealt with similar experiences.
Si mañana soy yo, espero ser la ultima represents the echo that someone feels when they lose someone.
Racism among us represents the tension between women in the Hispanic community. In the Latin community, men tend to underestimate women of color and it creates a tension between which race/color is better and beautiful.
Concentration Camp to HeLLaven was inspired by femicide in Mexico. It represents the death of women by the hands of a man. They never got justice.
The ever shifting, ever changing world is constantly on the move. For what the past has brought to the future is a mysterious and often confusing present. However, with each and every day, life’s up and down brings with it new experiences and moments to remember. Music in Space is the featured work. It is a ceramic zoetrope featuring 24 pianos on various stands circling a human heart. The old saying goes “in space no one can hear you scream”, but the heart provides a constant beat which then leads to music within human life, wherever they may go. For human nature to hit those beats and feel their highs and lows because if it’s not beating then that’s when we flat-line.
Southern University at New Orleans
This painting symbolizes what I believe to be my family’s crest.
One must recognize the courage, strength and resilience immersed in the being of a woman. Women are direct portals for mere thoughts and emotions to transcend into new consciousness or new beings. The evolution of creatures within this world thrives upon the existence of women. Women are the patient spirit, the nurturing spirit, and the unconditionally loving spirit. She is mother of nature itself.
The purpose of this project is to show appreciation for and the beauty in urban culture. When people see urban styles or places they often judge or label it as being “tacky”. For this project I gathered students from Xavier University of Louisiana with a unique urban style and placed them in an urban environment that made them standout. The location was decided based upon the attire of each individual. My overall goal was to capture something dramatic. Something that would make someone stop and really analyze not only the person and their urban style, but also their surroundings, and how beautiful the combination of the two are.
The purpose of my work is to provide an unfiltered perspective to the skate scene of New Orleans. As an African American skater, I always had a desire to help disprove the negative stereotypes that are associated with skaters. As I began to skate and linger around other skaters, I started to develop a deep respect for them. That respect came from the discipline that they have when it comes to applying themselves to their craft, much like many artists. From my time spent with them, I began creating images and my photography has evolved as a way to give people a look into the different personalities that exist within the New Orleans skate community. By documenting the passion, talent and drive that these skaters possess, this body of work serves as a catalyst that begins to close the gap between skaters and the outside world. My process focuses on capturing the raw emotion of the moment by isolating the skaters to emphasize what is happening in the art.
Intimacy in a time of separation is something that many long for. Trying to remain connected to who you are. These images reflect an intimate moment that occurs while you are in your own bath tub.