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Meet Vyana Novus-Magee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vyana Novus-Magee (they/them).

Vyana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
(CW) Well, I was in art therapy from the time I was two years old. Through years of sexual & physical abuse, drug addiction, and eating disorders, my creative expression was my liferaft.

In my more recent history, a week after giving birth in 2018, I almost died from a septic blood infection. The combination of giving birth and almost dying was naturally a major pivot point in my life. My capacity was so shifted that I had to get really clear with myself about what was most essential. I was dealing with severe depression, compounded with my history of intense trauma and Complex-PTSD. All of this forced me to focus on every small moment of joy in my day, which led me back to the thing that has always saved me – art.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it definitely hasn’t been a smooth road, but I’ve had a lot of privileges and opportunity that has made it easier. My biggest struggles thus far have been internal. Navigating depression, Complex-PTSD, and parenthood as a freelancer hasn’t been easy, but it has taught me a lot about setting boundaries, scoping my deliverables, and scheduling deadlines.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As an illustrator, I focus on digital portrait and product illustrations. In my fine art, I work with earth pigment paints that I make, focusing on pigment from my ancestral lands (Sicily & Italy).

As a professional, I feel most proud of my ethical boundaries. I work to make my services accessible to Queer & POC owned businesses, and I screen the companies I work for, saying no to those who don’t align ethically – a privilege that isn’t lost on me.

When I do take on a client, I work to really get underneath the purpose of the illustration, weaving in marketing strategy and business support to create a final product with longevity.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Being in Ojai is definitely a different experience than being in the city. This small town has been really good to me and my family. It’s been a place where we can make a noticeable splash much easier and, given the way Ojai swells on the weekends with people from LA, it’s allowed our work to ripple beyond on our little valley home. It’s given us the opportunity to slow down and move at a small-town pace, with access to big city clients.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Source Image for the Alok Vaid-Menon Portrait Photographed by Jessica English

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