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Art & Life with Ilani Fay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ilani Fay.

Ilani, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
As a kid, someone once told me “Do not live your life in love.” It was at that moment, I knew I wasn’t meant to just do what I was told. But it took me a while to get there.

The very act of creation is love, but it’s also of difference. And growing up, the last thing I wanted to be was different. I contained myself in the in-between because I thought I was “too much.” My self-resistance fostered a disconnect in me so big that I lost touch with who I was.

I feel thankful for that time, though, because what I found in the in-between is what lay within. I found solace through stories, films/video games, music, and anime and found that the people who created them inadvertently created space for me to be me. That nebulous ability to show the world something that once only existed in your head – that was something special. Something healing and that creative fluidity lent itself to multiple types of jobs as I got older, including being a world builder, freelance animator, jr. game designer, video editor, until eventually becoming a copywriter and artist.

Nowadays, I just try to take ownership of my own happiness, accept myself, and let me be me. It’s hard to unlearn all that self-limitation, but there are so many external factors trying to get you down – who’s going to take charge of your healing but you?

Can you give our readers some background on your artwork?
My stories and art are spaces I carved for myself when I felt isolated or confused. When I need to breathe, I draw vignettes of strange, absurd worlds and characters that neutralize whatever trauma, stress, or difficulty I have. When I feel overwhelmed, I turn to the page and write. The things I create don’t solve my problems, but they help me work through the muddiness of my everyday. In their own magical way, the imaginary has so much power to change our reality. To create, as it is to love, is to imagine the world otherwise.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
Financial Challenges as an Artist
Sometimes, you have to do what you need to support yourself and put food on the table. And that’s totally okay. I currently have a day job (albeit an artistic one) that I go to that supports my creative practice. Bills, taxes, financial obligations, etc. are realities of life are real obstacles to my artwork, so what helps me is to create space for myself when I can, and try to integrate my creativity in my every day when I can’t. That looks like blocking off time in my schedule to make art. Or taking a workshop. Or, when I’m at work, to really be present with what I’m doing and finding the creativity and joy in that, which may later inspire something I make.

What I’ve found is that my current work-life-art balance takes the pressure off my creativity. I don’t show up to create and feel stressed about how I’m going to make money from my art, or that I need to “get better” so I can make money. That’s just a recipe for burnout. I am privileged to be in a cycle of my life that I’m just grateful to show up and create and experiment and explore and play and see where it grows.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’d love to do more art shows and cool projects with cool people! Hit me up. 😉
Instagram: @ilanifay

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
personal photo: Becca Menichetti (IG @bcca.m)
PIC 002: Becca Menichetti (IG @bcca.m)

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