Art is a beautiful way to communicate, it carries a level of freedom of self-expression and a personal narration of the world. The Los Angeles Sentinel had an exclusive interview with Shaylen Nelson, a rising artist that is creating a new level of perspective through his creations.
He looks to challenge traditional ideas of the way the world is viewed. His art forges new thoughts and inspiration.
Known in the creative world as Shaylen, he grew up in South Los Angeles and attended North High School in Torrance. His family moved to the Inland Empire for a season and during that time, he went to Etiwanda High School where he focused on his athletic abilities.
Although Shaylen had a love for track and field, he’s been drawing as a hobby since he was five-years-old. That led him to pursue painting during his freshman year at Santa Monica College. That’s when the interest in art grew into a passion for creativity.
The young artist would increase his knowledge of art and technique at the University of California at San Diego. He solidified his dream of being an artist into a reality. The pandemic of COVID-19 affirmed that his direction was the right choice and brought new awareness of his gifts and talents in illustration.
Shaylen felt the call to have a core message through his art to display Black culture because he took notice of the lack of representation in his educational environment. He recalled that the student population was less than three percent. Shaylen shared that he was the only Black student in majority of his art classes.
Creating a new reality in art, Shaylen decided to work in galleries in Chinatown and take on commissioned pieces. He has grown into having a footprint in fashion with clothing displaying his art.
His creative energy has been showcased in major events and arenas such as Black on the Block, The Black Flea Market, and the Red Dot Mrkt. Shaylen has also focused on creative literature styles. He performs new poetic bodies of work at open mics venues across Los Angeles.
Shaylen has some of his original pieces exhibited at the Vision 98 Studios, located in Marina del Rey.
His next move is to earn his Master’s degree in the art field in New York City with the goal of making an impression at Columbia University.
Shaylen primarily works with oil paints, transferring thoughts from his head onto the canvas. His work often falls into the realism and serialism styles. A great deal of Shaylen’s paintings come from present social dilemmas and the awakening of new energy that lives inside of him.
The UC San Diego graduate reflected on his motivation, saying, “Art has become an extension of my self-expression. It’s easier for me to express my emotions and thoughts through paintings, drawings, through an artform — more than my physical voice alone.”
Expressing oneself through art comes natural for Shaylen – he connects with other people through his different mediums. Although it can be a vulnerable space, there is truth in his vision.
It’s been beneficial for him to be in a collective community of art where he cultivates inspiration to keep going. Shaylen is the oldest of five siblings – Chase Nelson, Sonja Drawn, Kharsynn Nelson, Faith Drawn and Ray Drawn.
Follow Shaylen on Instagram @Shaay.all.daay and visit his website to see his work and be a part of his journey, https://www.artbyshay.me/