Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
My name is Jaya Nicely and I'm an artist and designer living in Los Angeles. The pieces I make tend to revolve mostly around Southern California, but I ideally like to call my work a documentation of my environment and the people that occupy it. I'm very inspired by the small details or the unusual people that tend to be overlooked. I try to bring them to focus in my work.
Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
I get inspired mostly by just walking around new neighborhoods in LA. I always find something new to take a picture of to include in a later piece. My friends are also a huge source of my creativity and unfortunately for them are often asked to pose for new paintings quite often.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
I think the most important tool to me right now is a micron pen. I have a whole box of them on my desk. They're definitely my go to material when I feel the need to plan something out or just sketch to relax. I love the immediacy of the line and how it can't be erased and I hardly ever sketch with pencil anymore because of it.
What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them?
I feel like a lot of what I deal with is my lack of patience. The process of painting has always been an ordeal for me due to my impatience for focusing on the same piece for long periods of time, but the outcome is honestly the most rewarding thing I've ever felt. I try and always think of the outcome and the effect it'll have whenever I get frustrated with the process.
What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?
It seems that the two recurring elements in my work are people and an emphasis on color. I don't think I could ever create a piece that didn't include or focus around a person. Although this is kind of a hard question for me since I see my own work so much I've become sort of blind to it. I always love hearing other people's opinions since they can show me what they see instead.
Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?
I don't really have an artist that I feel I relate to because all my favorites tend to be creating work completely different than mine which is why I love them. But I feel like all artists are driven by the same underlying principles which of course I can identify with.
Though nowadays I've been looking less and less at other artists for inspiration and instead focusing on photographers. My role models are honestly the friends I have in this industry and the guys behind What Youth, a magazine I intern for. Seeing them work hard to create not only quality, but beautifully done content in a field that they're passionate inspires me.
hat is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?
I once had a teacher who told me that when I'm struggling to come up with an idea that I shouldn't think of myself as a failure.
Instead I should realize that this struggle means that I'm trying to create something different instead of just regurgitating the same old ideas I already have. The struggle means that I'm pushing myself and that means progress.