This week, we have Yai Vila in the She’s Trending interview corner. Her vision is simple, make colorful art that uplifts the soul. It’s a simple yet childlike meaning. Yai Vila is on a mission to make the community smile with her cartoon style artwork.
From her most recent community venture with Phoenix Art Museum, Yai Vila proves every artist has a story with her mural inspired by Wayne Thiebaud’s Four Ice Cream Cones. With the support of her city by her side, Yai Vila is showing us the beauty of knowing who you are and loving where you come from.
Who is Yai Vila, what do you do, and why?
I make art. I do anything that has to deal with creativity because my body and hands do it on their own. I paint, create murals, illustrations, and do graphic design as well. I mean anything that has to deal with art and the creative process. I do it with my style and heart because I have no other way of living life.
You are originally from Madrid, Spain. What was life like growing up in Spain and how did you end up in Phoenix?
I met someone in Spain and she’s the reason why I am in Phoenix. I also have my mom; we are super close. I came to Phoenix about 7 years ago. When I first told my mom I was moving to Phoenix, she said, “No, you’re not going,” and I was like, “Yes, I am.” At the age of 21, I didn’t care. Finally, my mom came around and was happy that I was following my dream of moving to the United States. Transitioning to Phoenix was definitely a culture shock for me. It was pretty tough in the beginning. I couldn’t speak English well and I was really lost. However, luckily for me, I am adaptable.
How often do you go back to visit Spain?
I actually go about every 2 years. I’ve lived in Phoenix for about 7 years now and I’ve been to Spain about 3 times since moving permanently. I stay for about a month or a month and a half usually. I always try to spend as much time as I can with my family and friends when I visit Spain.
When did you develop a love for the arts and drawing?
When I was 2 years old, my family would throw papers on the floor and I would go crazy and wild since art was so exciting to me. It’s one of those things where it just happened naturally since I was obsessed with drawing. I was the typical kid that would never pay attention in class because I was always drawing. I was even failing in art class because I always wanted to draw my own ideas instead of the concepts the teacher presented.
When I realized that art was something that I wanted to pursue, I started becoming interested in digital programs. I started using programs such as PhotoShop, Flash, and more. I started asking my friends for tips and suggestions along with online tutorials to hone my craft. I got really focused on digital artwork and that was really fun for me. I also went to art school that focused on jewelry and metals. I started doing jewelry and metalwork, which was super fun. Along with art school, I went to 3D and animation school, but had to quit because I couldn’t afford it. I ended up quitting school. However, it was perfect timing because about 3 months later I moved to Arizona.
How would you rank the following Artist: Bob Ross, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Claude Money, and Vincent Van Gogh?
I would rank Picasso as number 1 because of his philosophy in surrealism and cubism. Knowing how to draw but being kid-like in the art, Picasso was looking for something deeper, which is why he created a new style. I appreciate him for his innocence in being a childlike artist. Leonardo da Vinci is number 2 because he was way ahead of his time. He was a genius to me. The fact that he was vegetarian just shows how forward thinking his mind was at the time.Vincent Van Goh was a pioneer, but also crazy because he cut off his own ear. I’m attracted to his style as he was the first one of his time to create a unique style that was mundane, but yet beautiful at the same time. In regards to the other artists, Bob Ross was mind blowing and a badass altogether. When I first saw his videos, I was definitely intrigued and wowed at first sight because he was just super openminded and rad. I never really learned about Michelangelo; however, I appreciate his art. Claude Money is very classical and realistic all at the same time. Money’s artwork reminds me of my grandparents who have imitation art of Money and appreciate the skill and culture of art.
Since ice cream is in your in your social media name, what is your favorite ice cream flavor and where can we get the best ice cream?
My favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip. I also love cookies n’cream, hazelnut, and bubblegum so muh. I would say bubblegum is my favorite childhood ice cream flavor. My favorite place in town is probably Nami on 7th Avenue and Palm Lane in Phoenix. They are a vegan ice cream place and they have the best flavors along with toppings like captain crunch and sprinkles that don’t hurt your stomach.
What is your favorite music to listen to when you get in the zone while doing your art?
I like anything that’s pretty much uplifting. Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Drake, Explosions in the Sky, Nicolas Jaar, Tycho, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Tame Impala just to name a few.
We noticed that you are a cat lover…what’s your infatuation with cats?
Cats are woman-like and very feminine. They do what they want compared to dogs and I like their attitude because they’re unstoppable.
What emotions are brought out of people that look at your art?
They are always positive, which is exactly the emotion I want to bring out of people. There’s so much sadness and negative things happening in the world and I don’t want to contribute to that. I think I’m here to take a little weight off of people’s shoulders. I choose colors for my art that make me happy and in return, it makes them happy.
You’re constantly on the move. How are you able to practice the regime of self care while being an example to others?
It’s hard. I mean, I feel like I always take care of myself. When I’m lazy, I treat myself. I draw with friends and go out. If life was just given to me, I wouldn’t be motivated and I wouldn’t know what would push me to do more in life.
Any upcoming collaboration in the works you can let our readers know about? Where can people find your artwork?
I have a couple of things in my head; they are not exactly planned, but in the future, I would like to have another art collaboration with one of my artist friends, Kevin Aviles. He draws and paints big non good looking real guys that we see everyday in the streets of phoenix. We’ve collaborated about 3 times already and are thinking about doing a collaborative exhibit together. Since our work is opposite from one another, it shows a good balance of chemistry. There’s another artist by the name of Simon Says Macy that creates cute sculptures out of clay from popular movies. I asked her to do a couple of sculptures from my characters in my art and she totally killed it in a good way. We are also are thinking about a collaborative exhibit of our two styles and crafts combined.
With all of our interviews, we like to sign off by saying thank you! We know that you’re trending, which is why we chose you to be one of our featured guest. In honor of our tradition, we would like you to finish the sentence… I’m trending because…
I’m trending because I do what I love and I don’t give a shit!