We had the good fortune of connecting with Rena Risby and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rena, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I believe balance probably is the most important thing to master in life. No matter what anyone chooses to do, or what path they take, if there is a lacking of balance things just don’t work out. When I was younger, I struggled a lot with balance and time management. I faced a lot of frustration because I would always have these big ideas of things I wanted to accomplish and I would never put in the time to build it. Spending time with friends and family is important, but I had to learn when to stop experiencing and start expressing more. I would constantly feel guilty if I was hanging out with friends or doing things that were not serving me as an artist and I’d get really down on myself. Furthermore, I have grown to understand what schedules work better for me and I am much more happy that I have found a routine and a better structure that benefits both me and my artistic practice. I have not “mastered” balance nor is that my goal, but rather I have found a way to have a fruitful social life and stay true to my craft.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As I grow older my art is consistently changing, but currently I have had a keen interest in using oil paint and working outside. I’m interested to see how my art will change as a response to my environment while bringing a hobby that was usually done indoors outside into nature. My ideal focus and practice is on observance, and trying to capture and understand light and color. My main subjects that I like to paint are landscapes, portrait studies, movie inspirations and objects from everyday life. In addition I have experimented with collage and sculptural elements and have merged the two with oil painting. Throughout my work I have explored the female body and ideas surrounding the black feminine subject, fertility, and other motifs such as love, death and religious themes. Im still learning and growing as I explore these subjects and over time I have began to narrow down to only focusing on one or two themes at a time. Trying to understand what I wanted to offer to the artistic table was challenging because I felt overwhelmed and overly inspired by so many. However, I am learning how to be more focused, open and transparent when talking about my art and personal life. A big moment for me, and something I am very proud of was getting accepted into UCLA Arts and Architecture program. Although my learning is being absorbed through zoom world due to the Covid, I am learning how to identify myself better as an artist. In the future, I plan on continuing to experiment and play around with different mediums and ideas, grow my business and possibly teach a creativity class to those who are trying to find their arctic voice.

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.
There are so many places! Some of my favorite in Los Angeles is Little Tokyo, there is amazing sushi and ramen anyone new to LA should go visit it feels different than anywhere else. I also really love the DTLA Arts District, especially at night when all the bars and restaurants are open and all the pretty lights are glowing up the streets. I also love going to museums such as the Hammer, Broad, and MOCA if your an art lover. I also found some hidden gems that are super interesting such as the Jurassic Museum of technology in Culver City and Beetle House LA in Hollywood.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank my friends and family for all their support but especially my mom who’s been there for me during my hardest times

Instagram: @Renarisby

Youtube: Rena Risby

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