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Meet Cheyann Washington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheyann Washington.

Cheyann, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My passion for art has been an overall lifetime passion, my mother is a graphic designer she really showed me a lot about fashion and textile at an early age. Then going into high school, I attended LACHSA (Los Angeles county high school for the art). I was in their visual art program and I wouldn’t have that opportunity if my after school art teacher didn’t help me with my portfolio. She told me how much this school meant to her and that I have the skill and the motivation to pursue art.

LACHSA wasn’t like any ordinary high school, anyone yo talked to were artist. Eventually, I got into oil painting and figure drawing which inspire most of my work today. Towards the last year, I attended an art boarding school in Napa county called “the Oxbow school”. That place was magical it was basically a class size version of my whole school but the focus was painting, photography, printmaking and sculptor. The academic classes taught me a lot about my own purpose as an artist even then I was studying spirituality. This program was a semester-long so I got to spend the first half of the year there then graduated from lachsa in 2017 since the beginning of 2018, I’ve been working more as an artist and I started my career as a model.

Modeling is so fun, I enjoy every bit of it. I meet so many good creative people out of it even other artist. I feel like as a model and artist I never looked at my work separately. When I model, I think of movement and my body which is translating the essence of my existence. I’m currently signed to a small agency called Contra based in Los Angeles.
Back to art!!, I’m also being represented by a gallery space in downtown LA called RhythmVisuals were held two show, one being my first solo show in October 2018 and another solo exhibition show in May of 2019. I have so much gratitude towards all that has happened in about two years, I’m now finished with my website that I started in the bringing of 2019 and having upcoming shows.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Well, I didn’t come from a family where things are all planned out or handed to me in anyway but everyone around me was growing and learning their own passions so I felt like a majority of the time when I needed something I had to do it. I couldn’t finish college cause we couldn’t afford it so I ended up leaving the first semester plus the school I was at didn’t even allow me to express my self artistically. Artist depression is a thing! Like, even when we had to move to a home with no electricity or water in the middle of the desert :\ … while going to high school in LA. That was stressful!!

I felt like no one knew what was going on in my life and I had to act as if things were fine, I started getting into mediation and journaling more in the desert, it was solitude. I then stopped looking at my situation as a problem but as a gift. I had the opportunity to go to school in LA and escape to the desert even with all the BS surrounding me. Everything I’ve been through as a child to this day has humbled me in a way. I’m happy that in my life I don’t let those things get in the way of my work and art-making. It just pushes me day by day to be better.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
So I was inspired from high school to continue my love for the human body and existence, my paintings capture texture movement and emotion, through color and form. I also love to paint large!

I was in figure drawing for about four years. I gradually learned how to perfect my drawing skills of the anatomy and poses. Towards the end, I started exaggerating the human body which hysterically mad my teacher upset because I was known for my drawing skills so once I started going my own route, I then feel in love with distortion. For a while, I was distorting figures in spaces which either looked like they were uncomfortable or comfortable. I questioned for a while what does comfort actually mean to me? As a black women I’m always put in spaces that make me question my existence and my sanity. My art now is focus towards my physical interactions with the things around me, the emotional world. I’m very proud of how far I established my self.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I was always a pretty chill kid but when I had an idea I was always trying to figure out how I can make something, I was very crafty and enjoyed learning.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Model. wearing jacket and holding piece – jumi olowofoyeku

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