As I walked through 5 Points toward Brew, I could see people mingling outside, ready to experience Breach. When I got closer I could feel the buzz coming from inside and as I neared the door I could see that it was a packed house.
I worked my way to the back of the exhibit as attendees talked about the exhibit and Jacksonville’s art scene. All six pieces were on display on the back wall and there stood artist Maiya Elaine. She was in front of an oil and canvas piece titled “The Curse of an Eternal Sunshine” which was textured and featured a girl, bound, holding her face, emerging from clouds. An inscribed poem was all around the girl in the center.
Maiya seemed to glow as she stood in front of her work, posing for pictures and greeting those who came in. As the show came to a close I was able to step outside with her to discuss her art, her vision, and her first solo show.
I sat with the Jacksonville native outside the gallery, as the viewers shuffled out into the street. We gathered some chairs and as people spilled around us we talked about how this show came to be.
It started with how this was her first solo event. She has showcased her work in other galleries as part of group shows before but had often received feedback that she stood out as an individual and she got questions about when she would have her own show.
She works mostly with oil paintings, but does like to explore other mediums, as she displayed in this show in her two of her pieces, “Not All That Is Dark Equates to Evil” and “Not All That Is Light Equates to Good”. They are displayed next to one another, with 2 girls facing back to back. The works are tied together with butterflies and a snake that is intertwined around the 2 of them crossing between both pieces.
One of the girls is staring off into the distance holding a skull wearing a black dress and the other is wearing a white dress, staring at the observer holding a cup.
The oil painting is actually done on mirrors as opposed to a canvas. She explained, “You’re looking on to something that is going on in your life or in your dreams, and you’re seeing it, but you don’t really seem attached to it, but you are 100% a part of it.”
Much of her work is influenced by analyzing the human condition and she wants people to see themselves in her work. She believes it is the best way for people to connect.
This show was a culmination of years of art and experience. She has been drawing since she was 5, when she made a declaration that she wanted to be an artist, and taking classes since she was 9. It was only after she got to college and took a class under Professor Mary Joan Hansen that she fell in love with oil painting.
After years of experience honing her skills, she’s able to see what she’s doing and where she wants it to be, as well as bring those two points together. Every piece has its own individual story, and she wants to improve with each one.
When asked what her favorite piece was from the showing, she said “Growth and Healing”. It is an image of a girl with flowers and bees behind her, and then she has blue flowers in the center. It’s a great piece that really speaks to the theme of the show, which is, “about stepping forward and growing, and realizing that if you want abundance in your life, if you want to change your situation, if you want to be better, you have to heal, you have to grow, you have to let that happen, even if it is a painful thing”.
As an artist, there are many moving pieces that go into an event like this. Maiya told me that she was nervous but it was pivotal having her agent, Zaiche Johnson by her side to guide her through the process.
She expressed how the both of them are able to divide and conquer, in terms of his expertise in negotiating and marketing and allowing her to grow and become more of an artist.
After the show, Maiya said that it was amazing and very genuine, and that she didn’t expect as many people to show up. As she responded, Zaiche stepped in to say, “I was”. He knew it would be a dense crowd and he was right. Her work, Breach, was on display through the 4th of November at Brew in Five Points in Riverside. This exhibit of “A journey of change through inner emotion,” I’m sure left its mark on all who enjoyed it.