Meet Kyria Smith, a member of the creative duo Wolf + Bear and a mixed-media artist living in Northern Michigan. 7 years ago, Kyria and her husband wanted to start living a simpler lifestyle and decided to build a small home on her parent's homestead. This move significantly impacted Kyria: "Having the freedom to start our own business, to pursue creativity, and this setting has allowed me the freedom to create, process my anxiety, to have that safe space."
Living off the land and having more control of their days has greatly helped Kyria artistically. "If I look back on the past 5-10 years, I've absolutely grown as an artist, and that's 100% due to having the freedom to create every day. That's what helps you grow as a creative. Staying at it, doing it every day that you're able to." Kyria also emphasizes that learning new techniques and practicing those as much as possible is also a key to growth.
Growing up, Kyria always loved art, but it wasn't until college, while she was at her nursing school orientation, that she had the epiphany that art is what she wanted to do. Kyria changed her major to Studio Art and Art History and got a regular job after college. Kyria continued to create, and she was working part-time by the time she was ready to start building her own business. Kyria was able to support herself until the business was doing well enough to transition to being an artist full-time.
Kyria finds countless inspirations for her artwork, "One of the ways that I express my interest in something is by creating something connected to it." Kyria finds that being around the cycles of the seasons and landscape in Northern Michigan is quite inspiring. Additionally, Kyria loves pop culture, nature, books, and so much more. Kyria finds that she has 'seasons' where she gets obsessed with something, and those moments are expressed through her artwork. Currently, Kyria's artwork focuses a lot on her cat and houseplants.
Emotion rather than a specific thing usually drives Kyria to start creating, "I'll get these little sparks of inspiration, and if I don't follow them right away, I'll lose them. So I feel this drive to get to the studio and start creating. It's interesting because it's not a particular thing that inspires me. It's a feeling that inspires me, a drive. It's like a force outside of me, so I kind of have to do it." Whether she is taking a walk, showering, or just before bed, this feeling strikes anywhere for Kyria.
Much of Kyria's art is created with gouache, and she defines her style and technique by saying, "with gouache, I tend to use blocks of color and gradients for shading, and then I add detail with intricate line work over the top of that, and it creates a really 'pop-y' style." One of Kyria's favorite Arteza products is our gouache paint, especially the Blossomy Pastel Set, as it complements the style of artwork she creates.
Kyria hopes that her artistic journey can be an encouragement for all artists, "All of that inspired me to take this path in life, and what I hope to do through that is to be able to offer that to others who struggle with anxiety. I actually had someone reach out in the last few months just to let me know how much my videos have given them a place of safety and peace, which is something I've also experienced from other creators. It's kind of amazing that as a person with anxiety, my art can give that to other people."
We hope this artist profile on Kyria Smith has been the encouragement you need to start creating your own masterpieces, and driven you to start your own small business if that's your dream!