I think you're going to love this one. Whilst commuting home from work one dreary day, I scrolled through instagram (as you do), having got bored with my news feed I turned to the, what once was, popular page and saw the below image.
DON'T YOU JUST LOVE IT!
Hello Aly McKnight. I think it's fair to say this is one of my favourite finds and inspired me to do the '5 minutes with..' style blog. As soon as I saw her drawings I wondered how she got into it and what inspired her to draw, and so '5 minutes with..' was birthed!
Aly answers the questions in this blog so beautifully, I really encourage you to read her answers and get to know her a little bit! You will notice during it that she does some commissioned pieces, which I took full advantage of, you can see them at the bottom of the page.
Aly McKnight // Visual Artist // Conceptual Artist // Native American: Shoshone-Bannock Tribe
What do you do? Honestly I'm all over the place but I guess you could say I’m a painter, sculptor, and installation artist, I kind of do whatever I feel like will help me de-stress that day. For now I am focusing on watercolor and acrylic painting, but I did just enroll for an oil painting class.
How did you get into drawing? My mother is an amazing artist although she never pursued any career opportunities but she always sketched my siblings and I while we were growing up. I definitely inherited my natural artistic talents from her. As far as developing them I can see a lot of what I do now in my childhood sketchbooks. I loved drawing figures, that must mainly be due to seeing what my mother focused on as well as one of my older brothers, I remember finding a bunches of drawings of Aladdin, Genie and other Disney characters that he did when I was little. My access to art supplies was endless and I'm eternally grateful for that because I now don't feel limited when I work now.
Who or what inspires you? I'm incredibly curious about people. I've always been a quite person and liked to sit back and observe who's in my environment. So I've always been drawn to drawing and painting people, these practices have provided me so many opportunities to see into people's lives a little more. It's one of the most rewarding gifts I've been given, being able to really observe someone and decode and take notice of the small quirks i.e. beauty marks, scars, a piece of jewelry, confident mannerisms, camera-shy poses, etc. People are incredibly beautiful beings.
Is this your full-time role (art/commissioned pieces)? Yes, I was working in a floral shop for three years to get me through college but I knew that ultimately I wanted to be making art. It took me a long time and a lot of struggles to get to where I am but I made it and I'm in love with art and the process of growth that it has led me to.
What is your dream job? I’m living my dream job! I love running my own business, I am dedicated to my art and I love the fact that I get to work with so many quirky and innovative people when collaborating on art work or creating commissions. I'm so thankful for the media world because I struggled for a long time trying to get my degree as an interior designer then as an art teacher because I was constantly just focused on financial security. But at sometime point I just stopped trying to create a zillion lesson plans and color swatches and just stuck to sketching. I was scared as hell. But I am so passionate about art that I just pushed myself to be better and not just comfortable. And then about a year ago I started getting small commissions and it just kept getting better and better, and now I'm my own boss doing what I love.
Where's your favourite place to be? I love coffee shops. I'm incredibly shy and kind of awkward so when I can just sit in a crowded coffee shop for hours and not really talk to anyone I get this wave of satisfaction that passes through me and that fuels my creative habits. I always crave that feeling of being alone and not alone.
What is your most treasured piece in your home? The most treasured piece in my home I would have to say are two things, they are intertwined in personal significance so I'm using them as one but the first is small portrait of my mother, auntie, and the second is of my little sister. They are figures I grew up sketching and the more I sketched them the more I would see about them and understand them. They are a few of the only realistic portraits I've done during my career, because I took so long to understand and translate their faces. So they are two of the few pieces I have a true intimate connection with. That process of development really attached me to their images.
What is your favourite piece of work to date? My favorite piece that I've posted to my Instagram is probably…a portrait of a friend, she's holding a to go coffee cup wearing highly faded/destroyed jeans and for some reason it translated from her photo to my paint just how I wanted it to.
See, I told you it was good! I hope you're all encouraged to dream big and not give up. It's not an overnight thing, keep pursuing!
As I mentioned before, I ordered some commissioned pieces from Aly, which came beautifully wrapped, and I am so in LOVE! Look..
You can find Aly in instagram here '@alymcknight' If you would like to have some work commissioned please contact firstname.lastname@example.org