We had the good fortune of connecting with Anthony Avaylen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anthony, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’m very grateful to have grown up in Orange County. I grew up with strong, supportive parents but also grew up with amazing artistic grandparents who each come from a musical and fine arts background. This exposed me to the arts at an early age, yet I never really saw it as a career for me. Sports and friends were way more important to me than art.
If you’re raised in OC, action sports brands, local or global, are everywhere. It’s kind of what you grow up with. These California lifestyle brands really caught my eye with the art they were creating. The way they made me feel and that idea of the youth and freedom they invoked was amazing and to put it simply, they created art that resonated with me. It influenced me and gave me a sense of what great design was and what connecting with art felt like. The other time I felt truly inspired and called to the arts was when I first heard Sam Hunt’s album Montevallo in high school. I bought the album and it was then that I realized I wanted to create art that connected to people the way he was able to connect to people. Exploring these two passions led me to become an arts major at LMU obsessed with country music songwriting and action sports design.
As artists we are all trying to tell a story and communicate a message, whether you’re a painter, filmmaker, songwriter, or designer. It comes down to what you want to say and how you want to say it. The creative pathway is all about communication and connection with your audience. Today, I’m a designer trying to connect and communicate by putting everything I got into my apparel-based company Avaylen. I’ve been influenced by country music and the action sports brands I grew up with, and I want my artwork to be honest, personal, and resonate with others just like those two things do to me. I’m still learning how to do that and developing those skills as an artist myself and have a lot of plans set for the future, especially for Avaylen.
Personally, pursuing a creative career can be amazing but also intimidating. For any artist, creating something requires vulnerability and being vulnerable can be tough but it allows for tremendous growth. And growth is what makes the art career so great. The highs are high and the lows are low and that’s a big reason why I chose the creative path. I can’t wait for everyone to see what’s yet to come for me as an artist and for Avaylen.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Avaylen is an apparel-based business that I created back in 2014. The business didn’t officially launch until 2019 though. Between those years, I was studying design at LMU. We’re still a bright-eyed company with only a couple years under our belt but if there was one thing that sets us apart from the other businesses, it’s design. Our creative freedom is what defines us. It allows our designs to be fun and unique and its one thing I’m super proud of. I’m super excited about the next designs we have coming out so stay tuned.
Getting to where we are today was tough. We still have a long way to go but have come a long way since. One thing that got us to this point is patience. Ideas need to incubate and luckily for us, the idea of Avaylen had almost 5 years to incubate and really develop before launching. At times, we’re a little too patient so finding that middle ground is something we’re still working on.
Lastly, one of the bigger things Avaylen has made me conscious of is to support small. Supporting small has so many benefits to the local economy and at the end of the day, you’re helping someone achieve their dreams. I wasn’t really able to see that before starting this company so I’m glad I’m more much aware of it now.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Southern California is such a great place to live, especially Orange County. If a friend was visiting me from out of town for a week, we would definitely do a Disneyland trip, golf and surf a little, grab some yogis in Tustin and for sure hit up a local dive or two. There’s also so many great hikes, beaches, and nightlife, I’d like to think I would make it a fun trip for them
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents have been awesome to me and are just big supporters of what I do; they’re also the biggest Avaylen fans. They’ve done a lot for me and continue to keep doing more. Honestly my family as a whole has just been amazing and encourage me to keep on going. Like a lot of us creators, without that good family support, things would definitely be a little harder. Another person I want to shoutout is my good friend Carlos White. He’s been a great advocate and big piece in this Avaylen puzzle but he’s also on his own similar journey with golf instead of art. Regardless if it’s art or golf, making it far takes patient, perseverance, and vulnerability. Our paths have a lot of similarities so we relate and get inspired by one another.