Kayla Mahaffey imagines the self-discovery of adolescence through vibrant and energetic acrylic paintings – Colossal

Kayla Mahaffey imagines the self discovery of adolescence through vibrant and | RetinaComics


#acrylic paint #Chicago #childhood #Kayla Mahaffey #painting

“Pure Intentions,” acrylic and aerosol on linen, 24 x 24 inches. All images © Kayla Mahaffey, shared with permission

Childhood naivety and nostalgia have always been ingrained Kayla Mahaffeythe imaginative paintings of , but today the Chicago artist considers what happens in the later stage of adolescence. “My previous work was all about more innocent times and how those outside influences (good or bad) interacted with us and how we sometimes remain in a state of bliss and oblivion,” he tells Colossal. « As I get older and the children of my work grow, I want to move into a mindfulness direction and ask the question, ‘When was the turning point in our lives when we started noticing the bad things, and how did that affect us? ?’”

This act of self-discovery and growing awareness of the wider world are shaping Mahaffey’s new works. Continuing his use of vivid color and energetic movement, the artist has toned down the cartoon details that once created a daydream-like turmoil for his young subjects, and is instead gravitating toward heavier, more threatening, including the tension between life and death. Dead birds and sinister snakes appear, while a figure grabs sharp scissors and another weeps big, heavy tears.

A young girl swings on a rope and wood swing with a plaster on her knee

“And Away We Go”, acrylic and aerosol on linen

Mahaffey has an extensive archive of sketches to translate into acrylics and aerosols, many of which reflect the nuanced stories of his native Chicago. “My work reflects how the city directly influences our young people and how they react when they are cared for and even when they are not,” she says, sharing that the paintings “are just the tales and experiences, filtered through my mind and put on paper”.

Work quickly and ideas emerge freely. Once a composition is established, she works tirelessly until the painting is completed. “Sometimes I try to slow down my process, but that only hinders my thought process and mentally dulls me while I paint, so I only do what works for me. My mind works a little more spontaneously and I’d like to think that my pieces flourish because of this,” shares the artist.

Mahaffey will release a limited edition sculpture with Thinkspace this week, which you can find out more about Instagram.

A young girl with puffy pigtails holds a garden shears and smiles

A woman with spiraling gray locks stares at the viewer surrounded by lush foliage

« Glare, » acrylic and aerosol on stacked panels, 48 ​​x 48 x 4 inches

A round picture depicting a young girl with her eyes closed and two big tears.  She is surrounded by flowers and a butterfly

“Chicago’s Hope”

A young girl with cloud-like hair and a globe with a dead bird hovering above her aged hand

Two figures, both determined-looking, surrounded by foliage

« Retribution », acrylic and aerosol on stacked panels, 32 x 32 x 3 inches

#acrylic paint #Chicago #childhood #Kayla Mahaffey #painting

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