Sit Down With Our #090 Featured Artist
Instagram/ Bryanna Smith
Featured Artist / #097 ScrawlrBox
A freelance artist originally from Southern California, who has now established her creative roots in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, with a lifelong passion for artistic expression and an insatiable love for coffee.
Her diverse range of influences and inspirations draw from her deep appreciation for Japanese culture, a penchant for Kpop music, an enchanting connection with astrology, a fascination with the cosmos, and the exploration of new and exciting cities & the natural world that envelops her.
Bryanna’s signature style is characterized by a playful cheerfulness, with a dash of cheekiness, all underscored by a vibrant palette of expressively contrasting colours. She primarily utilizes paint markers in her traditional work for the tactile experience of traditional painting and harnessing the energetic vibrancy of their hues.
This same commitment to design and vibrancy seamlessly carries over into her digital creations, where her use of colour truly shines.Her work has been exhibited globally in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and featured by POSCA, Coffee People, and uni-ball. Some of her clients and collaborations include Mensho Ramen, Xing Fu Tang Tea, and Pair Cupworks.
We absolutely love your cute character illustrations, they are adorable! Where do you find the inspiration for them?
Thank you! Much of my inspiration can be found from 90’s and early 2000’s pop culture, and natural elements like animals, and space. I also find so much inspiration from Japanese culture, character art, and anime.
From looking at your art, I think it’s safe to say you are an animal lover?! Do you have a favourite animal or perhaps one you find most joy in drawing?
I do! I have a few actually, but the absolute favourite would have to be cats. I don’t know what it is, but they have been my forever muse. Cats very well may have been the first thing I ever learned how to draw. Ever since I was very young I have been fascinated with the natural world. In youth, I spent a lot of time with my grandfather, who is also an artist and a painter, and he would teach me to draw the animals I was obsessed with. Other creatures you will often find the subject in my work are pandas, foxes and various birds local to me.
Is your artistic style something that has developed over time or have you always worked in this way?
I would say it’s definitely taken time to develop. I have really seen it evolve the most in the last 2-3 years. As colourfully expressive as my art presents, it hasn’t always been this way. I spent a lot of time in my early art exploration being terrified of colour. I found POSCA in 2017 and the first one that I bought was black. Looking back, I know that it was paint markers that gave me my spark and confidence in using bright, vibrant colours.
When you are lacking motivation, what gets you going again?
This is a tough one! For me, I find that it often helps to stop forcing creativity, and find small ways to get inspired. Occasionally, I will pick up a book and read for a while, and if that doesn’t help I like to get out of my art space, grab some coffee, and take myself on an art date. This would be wherever that looks like for you, but personally for me this could be just exploring my city trying to find something new that I haven’t yet discovered. I like to go to museums, try new foods, or even something as simple as bird watching. These are all very present, in-the-moment things, and they definitely help to get centred again
Your digital work is just as cute! What is it about working digitally you most enjoy?
I appreciate the compliment! In digital, my approach is very different because of the near-limitless possibilities! I’m really able to explore and try on new styles, and it feels like a completely new creative world for me. I can create customised colour palettes, and I use the layer feature to really build my designs with precision. Of course, the unlimited erasing mistakes deserves a mention as well.
What’s been your proudest moment as an artist?
I’m very proud of myself for taking a leap of faith into this as a career. I never felt I often had the support to make this a reality, and It finally came down to me allowing myself to embrace this passion I felt for creating. I have found the greatest reward in following my dreams. If I hadn’t taken that initial step, I would literally still be in a cubicle doing accounting. The friends and the support I have found in the art community along the way have been a continued encouragement to keep going!
What’s your favourite way to use paint pens?
Paint pens are my preferred medium so I tend to use them from start to finish on the majority of my projects. I LOVE them because I’m not limited to the page. I like to paint with them on a variety of items and they tend to hold up extremely well. I use them on recycled cardboard, planters, handmade clay pieces, and so much more. My favourite has to be on my annual holiday ornaments, in which I use craft ornaments as a base. I’m fond of these because I love the holidays, and I take great joy in creating custom bite-size pieces for friends and family to cherish for years to come.
One has to go: pencil, eraser or black paint pen… which one could you live without?
With complete confidence I can say you can keep the black pen. I have been without it for some time now!
What is it about creating you love most?
I adore the process of creating and the mindfulness that I can gain from it. I completely relish in creating whimsy, expressive subjects. Familiar, but not. In my work, you may get a black cat who is expressed as gradients of purples and greens. I love to make things feel like there’s a magical element so you will continually see stars, and glowing and twinkling features. The end result of creating can feel like magic, though a lot of practice and work goes into making it.
What is your favourite snack?
Chocolate chip cookies are the greatest creation known to man. I don’t think there’s a more perfect, tasty snack, especially elevated with a hot latte or some tea. That’s the perfect combo for me.
What do you get up to when you’re not creating?
In my free time you will find me exploring new cities near and far, trying the latest coffee shops, or at an arcade. More recently, in the last year, I’ve been cultivating my local art community, and co-founded a non-profit with a friend for local artists to get together over a shared love of art and coffee.
Where can we see more of your work?
I’m very active on Instagram and very involved with the community online! I often post my most recent work and share art process videos there, as well as tiktok. I have a webstore if anyone is looking to support my work, and I can be found in a few local Arizona stores for retail. My instagram, though, is the best place to look for updates on my products and artwork