My name is Ayna Paisley and I’m a self-taught, London-based artist. I divide my time creating commissioned works, teaching and sharing my art practice through my social media channels. My body of work consists of peculiar contemporary pieces created with gouache, acrylic, encaustic medium, and oil paint, juxtaposed with paper collages and vintage imagery. I’ve exhibited my work in London, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.
Early Life in Africa and Russia
I was born in Russia in 1989 to my artistic parents Magomed Magomedov and Elmira Magomedova. I left Moscow when I was just two years old and spent the majority of the first decade of my life with my grandparents in Nefta, Tunisia, North Africa. I lived in Tunisia until I was 7 years old and it is there that I discovered my natural inclination to making art.
A traditional intricately brick-decorated structure along a cobbled and narrow street inside the medina in Nefta, Tunisia.
I moved back to Moscow in 1997 after spending years in a totally different country. I still remember how I had some difficulty fitting in that I would often prefer to be alone in my own company. Later, I was transferred to an art-centric primary school where I heartily made friends and finally felt home.
I’ve been drawing and painting as early as I can remember until I was 15. I stopped painting after failing my final exams in my art school. My confidence took a bad hit prompting me to eventually drop out and pursue a different career. Going against the usual early life stories of other artists, my parents urged me to take up an arts-related degree, however, because I hadn’t yet developed my confidence to pursue art at that time, I took up Journalism instead.
I got back into painting as a form of therapy just five years ago in 2016 when I left my job as an editor in Glamour Russia Magazine. I was reminded of how good it feels to create art and couldn’t stop anymore. Consequently, I decided to finally pursue a career as an artist. This career began blooming online through social media when I started sharing my art practice and journey with others.
As engagement with my content increased, slowly but steadily, my audience grew as well. This opened up various opportunities for me. I received requests for commissions, invitations to exhibit, and the chance to teach art presented itself to me.
The Shift to London
In early 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to move from Moscow to London. It was very difficult to relocate in the middle of a global crisis and start a new chapter of my life in another big city, far away from the comforts of the familiarities of Moscow. However, London, by far, has been a great decision. After a year, I began feeling the subtle positive shifts in my career. I started reaching a broader audience coming from different countries, and was invited to exhibit in several big art galleries around the city.
Teaching art is another thing that I truly enjoy. Through different online platforms like YouTube and Skillshare, I was able to continue instructing my students from all over the world. On top of my classes and art creation activities, I also run a subscription-based blog where I share my experiences and art practice in a more detailed yet laid-back format.
Art Experiments, Every Day
Growing up in Moscow with parents who are both creatives, I can say that I had an artful childhood. Since both of them are professional artists, I started my art journey with a very traditional approach to art. However, I enjoyed playing, mixing, and layering different mediums that I ultimately decided to set aside traditional techniques for a more spontaneous approach.
Hence, I experimented with fresh ideas and explored the possibilities of mixed media. I developed my art practice by continuously working with a varied range of mediums from watercolor, gouache, acrylics, oil, pastels, pencils, crayons, and even paper. Eventually, I got to a point where I began forming a distinguishable visual style. My process almost always starts with a watercolor or gouache study which I later expand using other mediums to form a finished artwork.
I am proud to mention that I am an ambassador and friend of ZenART Supplies. For water media paintings, I recommend the Turner Collection, a 14-pc brush set designed for all skill levels.
Finally, remember to just be the real you. Share your art practice, entertain questions and be kind. I wouldn’t be where I am without the supportive community that inspired and backed me up amidst rough and uncertain times. For a full read about my art and life, you can check out my feature at ZenART’s blog and you can always drop by to say hello through my social media channels. Happy World Watercolor Month and happy painting!Recommended1 recommendationPublished in