-//- Akiala I -//-

Could you first just tell me kind of how you describe your art practice?
Okay. How I describe my art practice is: unlimited. I try not to place labels or limitations on myself. Like, “Oh, I’m an author so I only write books” or “oh, I’m a painter I only paint.” I’m just kind of, like, whatever media I feel called to work in at the moment is what I do, and I just experiment with as many mediums as possible and I want to master as many mediums as possible.

I don’t think you'll ever really truly master something in your lifetime, but I definitely want to be proficient in whatever medium I’m working with. I want to give it my full attention and love and really study the art. How can I really express myself proficiently through this form?

Do you have any themes and subjects that you tend to create around?
Yeah, it’s starting to become eighties space mermaid. That’s my theme. Which, I’m so excited to finally have a theme, that was hard for me for a while. Like, when I paint, what form does it take?

And now it’s kind of it’s just kind of all running through this kind of filter, like every piece I make is kind of in this world, which I’m just excited about. And I think it sums me up, like my essence. 

How has having an art practice helped you explore the world?
Art is just extremely therapeutic, cause I think it taps into your subconscious and you’re able to see “what’s really in my brain.” I like to use collaging a lot for that, cause it’s like, you pick out images and place them and when you look deeper it’s the same effect as tarot to me. Like “oh, okay, I see the story that’s happening here,” or the themes.

I guess it just helps me tap into my subconscious whenever I’m having difficulty really figuring out what I’m feeling or why I’m feeling that. So it’s just therapy. 

When did you first start your art practice or first start identifying as an artist?
When I was younger I just liked to dress differently, like when I was eight I would start making my own clothes. Not all of my clothes, but that’s when I started taking sewing lessons. I was really into it and I loved the idea of standing out. 

Do you remember one of your first outfits?
Yeah, it was so bad! We went to the Lion King on broadway and I found this green fabric and I decided, “oh, I should use velcro” to make the skirt. I thought it was so cute at the time and people were like “oh, wow, I like your outfit did you make it?” Now I’m like, that was so terrible, why did my mom let me wear that out. But also, thanks mom for always encouraging me. 

You’re style’s very distinct, what do you think that says about you?
That I’m not afraid to be a different character. I like to become like a new piece of clay every day and just mold myself, and I notice a lot of people they kind of stick to their script like: “I’m this person. I only wear this color.” I don’t know, I’ve never been like that. Like “Who am I today? How do I feel today?” I just like to dress like that and it helps me embrace what I want to feel.

Do you still make a lot of your clothing?
I haven’t been able to so much with having Z. The pins get everywhere and he’s pressing the pedal on the needle, like “oh, okay this is really dangerous.” And he’s picking up the scissors and waving them. And I’m just like “nope, can’t do that.” But I was able to make that holographic dress, which is the best thing I’ve ever made. 

Where did you find those boots that match it?
Yo, the universe! I’ve been getting really good at manifesting. At first I found the purse, and then I was like “maybe this is a thing!” I went into Buffalo Exchange, saw the boots, they were my size, and I was like “okay, it’s a thing now.” And I bought the fabric and made the dress, and was like “Now I just need a pink cowgirl hat,” and I went to the thrift store and there’s pink cowgirl hats. 

I like to wonder how much we’re pulling these things to us, or how much we’re open to some flow that’s happening that we’re listening to. 
I mean, it’s both. It’s like when you’re in the balance of giving and receiving, to me that’s where love lives, that’s where manifesting lives, that’s where god lives. Everything exists in that gap.

I’m working on manifesting money, like winning the lottery or some form of lottery. I’ve been really good at manifesting a lot of things recently. I mean, always, really, but in myself I’ve been like I really wanna bump it up. Let me just step it up and really, actively manifest things.

What is the process like? Do have meditation, prayer, visualization, or is it something that’s just floating in the back of your mind?
I mean, recently I haven’t wanted to do any form of practice, because in a way it kind of takes me out of my spirituality. Ironically. I feel like when I think I need to do something or buy something or believe in something in order to be a spiritual manifester, it kind of takes my power away. It makes it external now, like “Oh, I have to get this crystal so I can manifest.” Now you’re giving the crystal the power instead of yourself.

Meditation, though, I think it’s really important, I just think there’s so many forms of meditation and for me being a mom I have like three hours out of the day, as much as I want to spend some time manifesting, if I spend an hour when I have three hours out of the day it’s like “Ahh.” So I gotta find other ways to meditate which might be like, I can meditate while doing laundry. I can find ways of clearing my mind. It’s just like a way of being whereas meditation is like I have to do something in order to make my spirit a certain way. Where I feel like no, my spirit should be that 100% of the time. Because if I have to make an effort to do something that means I’m not really embodying that lesson and incorporating it into my life. 

What are some of your sources of inspiration?
Well, Dali just popped in my head, but also Disney’s my number one. 

Sometimes I’m like “am I Walt Disney?” I feel like we might be the same.

When did he die? You might be.
He died a year after I was  born, 1997 December something. Everytime I watch a Walt Disney interview and Michael Jackson it’s like, “of course.” it’s Walt, Michael, Dali, Frida. 

Why do you say of course with Michael Jackson? What calls to you?
He was just like almost an anomaly. It’s just like even ‘till this day watching people play Michael Jackson, their spirits just do something and there’s not a lot of artists I feel that can unite a whole room like that.  

How do you feel you’ve incorporated those four into your world?
So Walt Disney, like, in terms of a visionary, every day I’m just like “how, how did this guy… he built his own world.” The craziest thing about Disney World is he wasn’t even alive to build it.

To me that is the most powerful thing because he wasn’t even alive to make this dream come true. His team believed in his vision so much they just brought it into existence. To be that much of a leader where your dream becomes their dream as well, that is so beautiful. And he still was a family man. It just doesn’t seem like he ever took things too seriously, yet everything about Disney World is just to the T, so elaborate and so advanced and so forward thinking.

Is it important to you that your son be creative or find a way of expressing himself?
Yeah, I think so. There’s a lot of left brained people who are like “oh man, I’m not creative I just do science.” Like, that’s so creative! Or, “I just work with numbers.” That’s a form of art, too. I think I want him to find a medium he feels he can express himself in, and it doesn’t have to be conventional art.

I just hope he doesn’t limit himself to thinking like “okay either I’m left brained or I’m all art.” I think you actually need to have a balance of both, and to find a medium that’s more left brained, then maybe bring in some finances so all that pressure’s not on your art.

That’s what I see with a lot of artists, they just spend so much time developing their art and then they’re depending on it to feed them. 

I’m sure that’s such a hard balance to strike, like you want to be everything that you can be for your kid, you want them to see how much you can be as a person but then it’s also like you want to build with that person and take care of them. Yeah, it’s tough.
Yeah, the goal is to throw all the balls in the basket and a few or one of them will really stick. And then I’m like, “I’m cool. Now, Z, what do you wanna do?”

But I’m 22 and this is my selfish phase of life and I’m not really willing to let that go because I know of so many people who have and it just kind of builds this inner frustration and resentment and when you kind of let go of your dreams. And I don’t think that’s why kids really become, they came to put some fire under your butt to really go hard if that’s really what you wanna do.

I feel like I’ve had to lean into my community more and I just need to ask for help. 

I think you’re doing it beautifully. 
Thank you. I’m glad he gets to go to all these things. He seems like the coolest person ever. So many people are like, “oh, hey Z,” and I’m just like “Who’re you? How do you know my son?” That’s cool. I’m excited for him and for his story. It’s like, “I used to go to my mom’s and dad’s shows and she had to breast feed me and then go back up on stage.” I love how that impacts him.

My last question for you is: What does beauty mean to you?
This is a good question, cause like, two days ago I decided to feel beautiful again because I’ve been feeling like caterpillar goo,  or butterfly goo, caterpillar goo in my chrysalis, forming and that real nasty ugly stage. For a while I was like cool, I’m ugly, this is where I’m at, that’s cool with me, but then I was just like “I don’t like that narrative,” because then I would notice I wasn’t taking pictures of myself or I was just kind of hiding.

Even if I got dressed up I was like “Aw, don’t look at me,” and I was like, I don’t like that, I don’t like how that feels, so what if I just change my narrative that like I can be beautiful in my ugly process and my ugly stage.

So I think that beauty is kind of like a decision, a feeling of perspective, ‘cause everything is beautiful, I think, it’s just how you look at it or how you choose to look at it.

Kind of just loving it for the magic it brings too, because everything is existing and has its own story and life and just feeling, “you’re beautiful for just being here. You  made it to exist and that’s so magical and beautiful.”