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#APBArt - Meet Visual artist Dakotah Aiyanna

Introducing the APB Artist Series where we will be featuring an artist’s APB illustration or artwork regularly. This time around, the featured artist is @bydakotahaiyanna. She is based out of Charlotte, NC and focuses on all forms of art to express herself.  

How did you get your start in art?

I’ve been an artist since a child. My parents actually nurtured that side of me so it wasn’t hard for me to tap into doing art as an adult. My dad was actually an art major at UNCC and he dropped out with the reasoning that "you can’t teach anyone how to be an artist." A lot of his work is in my grandmother’s house, so growing up I always saw it and I just knew that drawing was a release for me.

As a kid, I wrote poetry as well. It was always a way of therapy and healing for me. So I decided that I wanted to incorporate actual art with my poetry. I took a chance with that. My dad fully supported it and bought me a whole bunch of canvas and paint...i’ve been going ever since. 

What does illustration/art mean to you?

Oh, freedom of expression, absolutely. With illustration it gives you free range to do whatever you want and I don’t think anything in life is perfect. Illustration allows you to leave the fine lines, make little mistakes, and it passes. Your art is subjective anyway, whatever you want to do you can do because it’s your style and your way of expressing. The one thing I love about illustration is how free it is and how free it looks because I have a free spirit. 

I know your parents are a big inspiration for your art, Do you have any other inspirations? 

I follow a lot of artists. It helps me but you have to have a sense of who you are as a person and as an artist because if you follow too many people who are artists, you can start to self-doubt and think “Oh I want mine to look just like that.” It happens to everyone so you just have to really know who you are as a person, why you are creating, what you are creating, and who you are creating for.

So for me, my inspiration comes in waves and it comes in different forms. I might read something then create based on what I just read or the feelings that it gives me. I use a lot of books, magazines, and other forms of art as my inspiration. 

What advice would you give someone trying to get into the art industry? 

Just go for it! That’s like only advice I have. It might be cliche but it is so true. Just do it. Don’t doubt yourself. Whatever you are scared of just go for it. What I told myself that I was going to live by this year because I have anxiety is “if it scares me, I am going to do it.”  If I'm not scared about it then that means I'm not challenging myself enough. You have to challenge yourself because that is the only way you are going to get better. 

Anything else that you want the world to know about you, your art, or anything in general?

I don’t do anything to please anybody. I’m not here on this earth to be safe. I’m not going to play it safe. If I have something in my mind that might be a little different, I am going to do it. I try everything, because I’m young. I want to be able to tell my kids, “Your mom tried everything.” I know my strengths and weaknesses as a creator and I do things for myself.