We had the good fortune of connecting with Rianna Lara- Godfrey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rianna, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
By teaching others the art is a form of self care. Being the Director of Curriculum Development and Instruction, I am able to teach students (and other teachers) motivational techniques to instruct and inspire children through the Artsy Kidss program. When I engage with children, or even adults, I teach the \ importance of developing a self regulating skills through activities like art. I explain to parents that by helping their children establish self regulating activities early, their children can have the chance to develop the skill of containing their emotions throughout life in a healthy and constructive manner.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art career began years after i developed my love for art. Friends and family have always supported my talent but It was not until 2016 when i decided to share my talent with others. Custom paintings, body art, murals, clothes, or just simply teaching a class, Any opportunity given to me, I would take it with confidence. At 16, I began painting as a hobby after my Uncle Lalo taught me how to use my use my emotions as fuel to create. Creating things with different mediums and materials gives me such a creative rush that I just have keep trying to chase for the rest of my life.
From 2016-2018 I would go down to Little Ethiopia once a month to paint live for customers and for the monthly artwalk. As i gained confidence in my skills, i also developed relationships with other artists. I sold my first painting during that time and have been creating custom artwork since then.
I’ve also spent a couple years experimenting with body painting and was one of the only body artist for TrapxArt ( which is Showcasing all the hottest up & coming artists and entrepreneurs from Westside to The East Coast), I was usually the only body artist within the shows that i participated in throughout the year as well.
As much as I will make custom pieces, paint a model for a rapper’s performance, If you asked me what it is that I think sets me apart from other artist is that I promote the freedom to feel freely. Any piece I’ve ever created has a hidden message of empowering others to stop depriving themselves of their true feelings. Taking the time to process and then decide how you feel, can go a long in maintaining a healthy mind.
Like processing pain for example. When Nipsey died, I was truly devastated like a majority of LA was. Not only because someone so influential passed away, but because I was painting a portrait of Nipsey because he was the epitome of integrity to me. I had planned to personally give it to him once i finished it since he was known to always hang out at the marathon clothing store. Unfortunately i did not get the chance to give him the painting but instead I had a much more rewarding experience. I was asked by different shows to display my art as a tribute to Nip.
As happy as I was to showcase my piece, I was amazed at the healing impact that my art had on other people when experiencing it in person. Art stirs up very fulfilling conversations.
So when Kobe past away, I knew I had to do something that people could have to express themselves without having to have a full conversation with words about how much pain they felt for an icon. Creating limited edition sweaters was an amazing experience especially when creating the embroidered sweater of Kobe because everyone who has purchased a sweater so far, has seem to express the same appreciation for my art as I do, they cherish it.
Being a Mental Health advocate is important to me. A majority of my work is with emotionally disturbed children who were dealing with their disabilities, while in school and in the community. Because of those skills and my unique journey, I currently am the Director of curriculum Development and instruction for the Artsy Kidss program. The program in which we teach and empower people to use their voice in healing and creativity. If it was not for Artsy Kidss, I would not have found my passion for teaching children the ability to self regulate their emotions through the arts.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Brunch and mimosas at COFFEE COMPANY in the morning then
go to Manhattan beach to spend a couple hours enjoying the beach.
Ride bikes on the strand to Venice to people watch.
Afterwards we would ride back, get into the car, and head to get tacos before heading home to get ready for he night life.
Then we would hit up an art show or two in DTLA or Silverlake while also bar hopping for the rest of the night.
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?
When I think about the people that have helped me throughout my journey in discovering my passion, a few people come to mind, but the first person that I think of is my uncle Lalo. He gave me a easel, canvas, and oil painting supplies to being exploring the love for painting. After that, I fell in love and continued to paint gifts for friends and family.
Secondly, I specifically want to thank Little Ethiopia for allowing me to explore so many avenues of my creativity. I’ve made the amazing relationship and have had so many opportunities come into my life because of Little Ethiopia community. I even sold my very first painting in Little Ethiopia. From being one of the first artist to paint live once a month for the monthly art walk for 3 years, to creating murals, to teaching children art classes to displaying my art at the Ethiopian festivals, the Little Ethiopian community has provided me with many blessings throughout the years.
Lastly, I have to shoutout the Artsy Kidss program for the endless opportunities to influence the youth.