#WHOARETHEY: Kayla Myers / GoldLemons
Painter, animator, mixed media, graffiti artist, sneaker aficionado. You name it, Kayla does it. Working in large format and most recently getting to animation, Kayla's work is bold and packs a colorful punch. Taking her interest in Expressionism and focusing on Urban modification, Kayla's puts her observations of the ever changing world around her onto a canvas in a distinct way.
Where are you from,
and where do you reside currently?
Originally from Boston, moved around a bit, spent some time in D.C. Now I'm back in Boston.
What kind of work do you do?
A vast majority of my work would fall under expressionism, contemporary, and African American. As I developed into an artist, some of the greatest creators in my opinion were those of these movements. I like to create things from reality and add my own twist.
10 years ago I found my focus to be on Urbanism and urban modifications, anything street for lack of better term. I’ve always been intrigued by the architectural structures of buildings, homes, local establishments, even the smallest things like the iron storm doors and the chipped paint on the old fire hydrants. I normally work pretty large; referencing back to expressionism, I feel my brush strokes, color themes and lines are much more impactful when working at a larger scale.
When I was in high school my parents moved us from Boston to Charlotte, North Carolina; the greatest culture shock of my life other than college. My drastic environmental change sparked an interest in painting and drawing things that resonated to me and my birth place.
How did you get into the work you are doing? What motivates and inspires you to produce the work that you do?
Being Black from Boston, Massachusetts has always been interesting yet very inspiring. I grew up seeing so many changes in neighborhoods and communities as a whole. Growing up I had friends of different nationalities so I was exposed to tons of unique cultural backgrounds. I do believe these are the things that have triggered an inspiration to document the changes, and creating a narrative to share with others.
I began painting cityscapes and old architectural structures found in most urban cities. This led me into becoming obsessed with different perspectives, angles, and shapes. I’ve always been inspired by traveling alone, I’m able to pay more attention to my surroundings and explore different areas at my own will. I don’t have a car so I’m even more motivated to explore things that often get missed when driving.
What's the story behind your artist name, GoldLemons?
GoldLemons was Inspired by a few wise words referenced from Indy rapper Atmosphere “when life gives you lemons, paint that shit gold.’’ As a visual artist, ‘painter’ to be more specific, I felt I needed a name that represented my brand and myself as an artist, but most importantly a name that was captivating enough to draw some attention.
Tell me about some of your most recent projects.
My most recent Art Show was titled “Mumbo Jumbo”. I chose this name because it was captivating enough, and it pretty much sums up the word bullshit when translated. My end goal was to spread awareness to the people of Washington D.C. by documenting five years of aggressive gentrification happening specifically in lower to middle class neighborhoods. Each place documented was painted individually, I was then able to add my own twist on the character and role each place had on the neighborhood.
My most recent art has been almost strictly digital. I’ve been practicing my graphic design hand and it’s been a lot more calculated, very different than putting paint onto a brush then canvas. The last digital projects I’ve done involved new sneaker releases; for example Virgil Abloh’s off-white + the ten Nike collab. I’ve been teaching, myself animation, experimenting and creating these 15 second animations. people have surprisingly been taking a great liking to them. I’m currently being commissioned by rappers, brands, photographers etc. it’s ‘pretty cool, I can’t wait until I’ve really mastered it.
Any notable artists who have motivated you to build a platform for yourself and your work?
Elaine De Kooning. She was a bad ass abstract expressionist painter like myself. The abstract expressionist Movement had been dominated by male artists at that period in time, yet her work was beyond powerful and large in scale; such a surprise coming from a tiny woman, just like me! Being a woman amongst her male peers only motivated Elaine to strive for both precision and grace. She’s low key my hero. I also admire the work of Ekua Holmes, who works and lives in Boston too.
How would you describe your style, how have you built up a wardrobe that compliments your personality?
I’d say my style has a lot to do with my comfort level and individuality. With the influence of being immersed in Boston’s huge sneaker subculture I’m constantly looking into ways to collaborate my kicks into my wardrobe. I’m a very low key person, and l would consider myself as someone who embodies femininity through my mannerisms, bold lipstick choices and attitude. My wardrobe consists of a majority of masculine, tailored and boxy silhouettes that compliment a massive sneaker collection.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Shout out to all of the women holding it down. We run shit.