Jul 02, 2012
Interview with Venice Beach Biennial artist Sky (Stacey Kai Young).
SKY at her vending booth on the boardwalk, just south of Westminster Avenue.
How long have you been selling your work on the boardwalk?
I first set up here about 12 years ago with a wonderful fellow painter, Brian Mylius. He showed me the ropes and encouraged my painting. I owe a lot to him. I’ve been setting up on and off since and I’ve been back full-time for three years.
Has the boardwalk changed in that time?
The boardwalk is always changing. Everyday it’s something different. Since the new ordinance there is a lot more art to see.
What made you take up painting?
I needed art for my walls and I couldn’t afford to buy anything. My mom bought me canvas and paint. I didn’t know what I was doing—I couldn’t even clean a paintbrush. I just started painting. My friends really encouraged me and so did my parents. I’d actually moved to L.A. to be an actress. Evidently acting was just the vehicle to get me to California, and I was meant to be here. I feel so grateful that I found my true calling.
What materials do you use?
I started with oils, but I’ve been using more acrylics lately. I’ve really learned how to work with acrylics. I used to think that my best work was done with the oils. That’s what I use at home, and that’s where I’m most relaxed and in tune, so I think sometimes they come out better. Although some of my best sellers are acrylics.
What questions do you get asked most out here?
Lots of questions: What’s my medium? What inspires me? How do you get to X, Y, or Z? How do I set up here?
What keeps you coming back to the boardwalk?
Good times. Venice and the boardwalk have been really good to me. It’s always interesting and there are a lot of things to do here. When I first moved to California, I spent more time outside in the first year than I had outside in my whole life. You can bike, skate, or play Frisbee on the beach. All my paintings are inspired by a love of nature. I work on the beach, and most of the time it’s sunny and beautiful. You get to meet so many people and the feedback is just incredible, that’s what really gave me confidence as an artist.
May 27, 2012
Venice boardwalk, Venice, CA
Interview conducted by Claire de Dobay Rifelj
Filed under: Venice Beach Biennial