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"Learning to fall into the fear": an interview with Lybra Ray

This month's featured art comes from Lybra Ray. Her use of mixed media and bold approach to color immediately caught our eye. Here she talks about her approach and her artistic process:

What drew you to Split Lip?

What initially drew me to Split Lip was the logo design. It's colorful but has it's own slick design. I was looking for places accepting submissions and I saw the logo and intuitively felt like you guys get it. What drew me in further was how you guys describe yourselves, "An online literary journal with an Edge." I love anything edgy and slightly rebellious because that's how my true nature is. I have photos of me as a kid at a Leary family reunion and all the photos are me running away from everything on my own little adventure. I like things that know what they are but leave room to grow and absorb, things that are naturally rebellious but have their own strategic self-imposed order, because that's how I am, so I recognize that in others and in others brands and it pulls me in.

How does this month's featured image, "Keep It Wild," speak to that?

"Keep It Wild" speaks to this edgy, rebellious nature exactly. It's a woman butt-ass naked except for a scarf, hanging out in the wilderness with her dog, staring at the beauty of mother nature. It speaks to nature being called 'the wild' and the wildness that nudity is now perceived as, as though she is untamed to societies desperate attempts to control her wild soul. There's nothing more naturally wild than a woman in her element, one with the natural world.

Can you talk about your process a bit?

My process is mostly intuitive. I scan magazines for images that resonate with my soul and pull them out right away. Sometimes I have an immediate concept, sometimes I hold onto the image until I know what to do with it, or until I discover just the right elements to accompany it to tell the story I want to tell. Other times I have a concept in mind and I just wait for the right pieces to come my way to make it happen, like I found this perfect image of a baby and I wanted to cut the eyes out and put the universe in them, so I hung onto the image for months until I found another poster of the universe and it fit perfectly.

How do you approach mixed media work?

Sometimes I paint the paper, cardboard or canvas first, sometimes I collage first and paint around it. It depends on the desired effect. When I first started out I had a heavier paint style. It was very vibrant and completely covered in paint first, to the point where I could sometimes use the paint as the adhesive. More recently, within the last year I started using water with the acrylic and I love the effect I get. I think how I use the paint reflects where I am at that point in my life.

What drives your choices?

My intuition :)

How does the female body function in your art?

A friend of mine told me a couple years ago that she recognized that a lot of my pieces have women in them. It made me self-conscious, but I always choose people that are interesting to me, whether their fashion is rebellious and crazy, or their bodies are showing movement or making interesting shapes. The women are just a reflection of me and how I'm feeling at any given moment. The colors I choose are just emphasizing that emotion.

What is the relationship between text and art?

For me, I can't separate the two. I started off drawing as a kid, it's my first art. Then my dad gave me a journal when I was 9. He bought me my first camera when I was 14 or 15, then bought me my first acoustic guitar when I was 16. Words and art can not be separated for me because of this. I grew up with a lot of creativity in my household and was gifted with many outlets for my own creativity throughout my life to express myself through words and art. I think of it as just the left and right brain coming together in unity.

How does adding text change what's on the canvas?

My mama says that the words in my art are what give it real meaning. For example, "Unleash Your Power" would be a useless image to me without the words to really push home the point. It's about owning your own strength, owning your own power and releasing it onto the world. One should never be afraid of what they are capable of. Fear is a double-edged sword that serves no one and binds everyone at some point. Learning to fall into the fear is actually where I've found true freedom exists.

***

All art appears courtesy of Lybra Ray.


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