We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla Silber and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
On March 12th of this year, I was slated to have my first big solo show featuring 8 of my augmented reality pieces. It was the culmination of two years of meticulous work and I was beyond excited for my community to experience in person what I’d poured so much of my heart and soul into. Over the course of that day, I watched with dread as all the events I had scheduled for the next two months went down like dominoes. I made the heartbreaking decision to pull the plug on my show, but remained hopeful that I’d have a redo in a couple months when the virus was under control. But 9 months into this pandemic, after so much upheaval and crisis after crisis, I found myself feeling lost, disconnected, stagnant and cynical. My art relies on love, human connection, transformation, and optimism as its foundation, and with no end in sight to the lockdowns and the inability to attend the events from which I draw both inspiration and source material, I found myself asking versions of “what’s the point?” Why bother making work that no one will see, and how can I access those foundational, elevated emotions that seem so foreign to me now? Giving up sometimes seemed like the path of least resistance. But then I had to ask myself why I started making this body of work to begin with. I had no shows lined up, no end goal, no agenda. Just curiosity and a desire to bring beauty into the world. If it didn’t matter then if anyone saw it, why should it matter now? If the act of creating this art had the power to elevate my mood and inspire me then, couldn’t it do the same thing for me now? This world needs beauty now more than ever. There is no contribution too small and every act of creation counts towards the rebuilding of new and better systems – even if no external measure of success can quantify it. If what you are creating generates joy and love and elevates your spirit, never give up – your contribution just might be the tipping point.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My mixed media pieces are constructed from thousands of photographs I have taken all over the world – of humans and all manner of animate and inanimate objects ranging from man-made to organic. I painstakingly compose, cut, paste and paint the elements to create large scale collages on wood. I then create short animated loops which reveal an even richer narrative full of wonder, surprise and hidden meaning visible only by viewing the paintings through an augmented reality app called Artivive. The intensely complex process of creating this body of work has led me to explore big themes that have transformed me on a fundamental level. Self-worth. Sexuality. Divinity. Nature. Spirit. Consciousness. Compassion. Empathy. Love. While nothing about creating this work has been easy, every step has been illuminating, transformative and magical. I had to break through my deeply ingrained belief that art that centered the female as hero was unworthy of exploration. I had to push through my paralyzing fear of being unoriginal to find my unique voice and style. I had to develop the confidence to direct photoshoots that could translate my mystical visions into physical reality. I had to teach myself how to animate, a process akin to learning a new language. Storytelling in this way, I discovered meaning buried in the work that I wasn’t even aware of, accessible only through this new vocabulary and medium. The imagery I was creating had things to show me about myself. Spiritual lessons to teach me. In effect, I was creating my own teacher, and it was deeply empowering to know that my art was the key to unlocking this internal wisdom.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well right now, they’d likely be held hostage in my apartment. But in more normal times, a comedy show at the Laugh Factory. Salsa dancing outside on the promenade in Santa Monica. A bike ride along the beach path. Hiking in the SM mountains or Topanga. Shopping on Melrose. A stroll down Abbot Kinney. A drive down the PCH. LACMA.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” is a must read for any creative – it was the push I needed to start creating after years of complacency and feeling “not good enough.” Another instrumental read was “Becoming Supernatural” by Joe Dispenza. Following his advice and techniques, I was able to manifest incredible opportunities for myself. Last but not least, I have so much gratitude for my amazing family and network of supportive friends who encouraged me every step of the way, even posing for photoshoots and becoming part of the work!
Other: Visit my website at kaylafineart.com from your laptop. Download the Artivive app and view the paintings through your phone to experience the augmented reality. (Paintings that have this feature are indicated with the Artivive app icon)