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

Hi Elayna, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
One of my favorite quotes is “ Your Setback is a Setup for your Comeback.” I feel like everyone, not just creatives, could benefit from this quote. In this crazy life journey, more things seem to be going wrong than right, so being able to adjust quickly is a necessity. I can’t continue to be down on myself if I didn’t accomplish something, because I know that’s not getting me closer to my goals. Instead of shutting down, I need to refocus, see the lesson to be learned and grow from the experience to be better. Of course easier said than done but it helps!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was always getting caught doodling in church bulletins, I guess my parents thought I was writing down notes for a while. They were my first investors, I went to a lot of summer art programs, countless trips to Michaels, and a lot of arts and crafts for Christmas. I’m very thankful for the safe space they provided for my creativity to flourish. My art style is a hybrid of Pop and Contemporary art. I love incorporating black and lgbt+culture into my work. Through my art, I want to share my perspective of my culture; whether that’s combining icons with iconic cartoons or celebrating how beautifully different we all are. At the moment, my business model is running from commissions and communicating through emails and social media. By the end of January 2021 I will have my website ready for purchases. At first, I was very hesitant to make my art a business. I was afraid that the business aspect would take away the fun of creating. However with crazy support of my family and friends, along with the the reassurance from social media, I started selling pieces late last year (2019). There is still a ways to go with getting my own printing supplies and more equipment to make it a fully operating art business and I’m excited to get it started!

I see modeling as another other form of art; one that excitingly pushes me out of my comfort zone. Ultimately in my modeling career, I will be a part of beauty campaigns, catalog ads, and for creative purposes editorial/ high fashion shots. I want to project the overall message that we’re all beautifully different and that there’s no perfect way to be beautiful. You don’t have to dull someone else’s shine to feel bright. So far, the collaborating process has been my favorite part when I’m modeling. I like being around the high energy of people working and using their gifts together. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to bring others’ visions to life. This year I will continue to network and build on my portfolio!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My friends are all from out of town so I would be very touristy a couple of times, take them to Tempe Town Lake, walk around Mill and old town. I’d take them to Sedona and go to Sliderock. On Wednesday, we’d go to Hulas, they have bomb drinks and food specials. Most of the time we’d be spending it with each other just chilling reconnecting and enjoying being all together again. For something sweet, I’d take them to MilkRun they have bomb boba; I usually get their Thai Tea Float. My girls love brunch! We’d go to Hash kitchen off Indian school and 44th. They have bomb food and cute drinks, like their “Mega Mimosa.” If I’m being honest I can be kind of a nana (and we’re in a Panorama) so after brunch probably wouldn’t lead to Sunday funday. We’d go back to my place and I’m usually baking some cupcakes or cookies for us later.    

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank my Family, Best Friends and my girlfriend for being an incredible support system. They’re the biggest blessings I have in this world and I’m so grateful for each of their love and support.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elaynajazelle/?hl=en

Image Credits
Elayna Thompson Art work Ciara Ashley @sugiciara Kayla Jackson @kjpx_ Jared Dubose @jareddubose

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