Today we’d like to introduce you to Alea Staley.
Alea, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My knack for drawing started at a very young age. I had just received a kitten for my 4th birthday, and I’d miss her so much that I’d try to draw her so I’d be able to see her again. Once I realized that I could make lines that’d bear some resemblance, I started to wonder what else I could draw; and thus began many projects of error and success. Many of my teachers never quite liked the fact that my classwork would come back with all sorts of doodles. A middle school teacher was the exception- suggesting that I take an art class. That was my first experience with acrylic paint, and I remember feeling so frustrated. Our first project was to draw a Toucan bird with a blue background, and my bird’s beak looked awfully crooked. The blue background had gotten nightmarish because I ran out of a specific shade of blue and had to cover it up with something else.
When the class ended that day, we were told our paintings would be hung up.. I was ashamed that included mine. But having to see it every day made me strive to do better. At the end of the class, I was very confident in my traditional skills, and I took the Toucan home to fix him up.
The time for high-school came before I knew it, and I had decided to go to a career based high-school. There were four different “programs”, and I was enrolled in the Digital Media and Design one. I could only describe my brief attendance at this school as a struggle. My academics and school art projects were not very good. I was more interested in drawing in my sketchbook then I was in doing homework, and a plenty of the assigned art used digital mediums like Photoshop and Illustrator that I had taken too long to get familiar with. I had to switch schools during my last year in order to graduate on time.
I attended a charter school not too far off. This was one of the best decisions I’ve made. My teacher had the patience that a lot of traditional teachers did not, and we were able to work out a scheduled that had enough room for my drawings and my homework. I was able to graduate on time with a little artist portfolio to boot. I took a couple months off from school after that to experiment with my artistic skills. For some reason, Photoshop and Illustrator- the programs that used to be the bane of my existence, had started to gain my interest. I had an old drawing tablet I had gotten while I was in high-school (I never used it) but that day I had decided to give it a try. I didn’t touch paper for a long time, after that. I also started to play video games a lot, they were a big inspiration to my work.
I went to the Art Institute of California for college. Being able to be in the same room as other artists who were just as good or even better than me was so challenging and yet inspiring! I made a lot of friends and cool projects. Though about halfway through my Media Arts degree, I decided to switch to Game Art and Design. After all, Art and Games were such a big part of my life now.
I graduated in 2018 with a Bachelors, and I’m continuing what I love via freelance!
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I make concept character art and environment art. I use mainly Photoshop, a specific set of brushes and a drawing monitor to create it. My inspiration comes from mainly video games, but also a verity of other things like films, plays or real life experiences. My goal with every piece is probably.. to tell some kind of story in one way or another that’s relatable or at least understandable – despite how odd or otherworldly the setting or characters might seem.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I think right now, where I live, artist conditions have improved substantially. There are a lot of safe places we can take our work to make a living, and while actual studios are not easy to get into for a concept artist, they can be rewarding with the pay and benefits. There’s not much I would fix for people of my profession, but I would say some more events couldn’t hurt. Being able to have a place to be openly social with other creatives is always very fun.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I’m mainly active on Instagram at @Leiya_art and Artstation at https://leiya.artstation.com/! You guys can support me by just having a look at my work.
- Website: https://aleastaley.wixsite.com/nicole
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leiya_art/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/staleyalea?ref=bookmarks
- Twitter: @Alea27979335
- Other: https://www.artstation.com/leiya
All images were drawn by Alea Nicole Staley.