Artist Spotlight: YA$$A

What is your creative process?
I usually feel most creative in the mornings. I’ll wake up with an idea or a fresh thought, especially when it’s sunny out. I open the curtains, put on some Spanish or Brazilian music, and get to the most important part of my ritual — making a mint latte. I use mashed mint leaves, espresso, sugar, and almond milk. I’m okay without it, but I know I’m not gonna have a good day if I have a mediocre cup.

Is it better than sex?
Is coffee better than sex? Yeah, because it lasts longer.

Where else in your life do you feel the most creative?
I feel creative in almost every aspect of my life. For example, in my romantic life I feel creative when I want to get a specific reaction or action from that person. Although one may say it is manipulation, I see it as problem solving. I’m also creative in my image — I have had about eight different hair styles and colors in the past four months. Last but not least, food. I am vegetarian and really want to eat a whole food, plant based diet so I have to be creative with that so I don’t eat the same thing every day.

Who are some of your visual art influences?
My visual art influences would be people like Yayoi Kusama, old Playboy editorials, and Frida Kahlo. Not their art so much, but more so them as people and their styles. Well, these are all women but I am primarily inspired by women honestly… I am also inspired by fabrics a lot. Although I might not have much opportunity to express it in my current art collections, I am a sucker for a beautiful pattern on a textile — Middle Eastern and East Asian geometric shapes and knit patterns.

What artist (visual, musical or otherwise) would you like to have your artwork in their house?
If there was anyone I would appreciate having my art in their home it would be Madonna, Erykah Badu, and probably Betsey Johnson. These women really were some type of idols to me as a young woman growing up and I respect what they are about in so many ways. Being vocal about what they are willing to accept and not accept taught me a lot. Madonna is the artist that probably represents my work the most. It’s a feminine thing, plus I have a lot of memories of my mom (a piano teacher) playing hella Madonna on the piano.

How has your mom or family in general influenced your art?
We moved from Russia when I was little to the States. Armenian was my first language, but I forgot it because I went to a Russian school and all of my friends were Russian. So English is my third language. My mom had me in art to try to ease the transitions.

Did it work?
Kind of. I got kicked out of school when I was 14 for starting shit. I was leaving bloody tampons in people’s pockets and hiding vibrators in my teachers’ shit. I was at a white private school and I was the only ghetto kid there.

Your art is all about women, often depicted sexually…
It took me a long time to feel comfortable with my body, so now that I do it’s important to convey that. When I learned how to draw women it was models — thin, tall, “pretty” girls. Now I always draw women and their eyes and bodies, especially those with accentuated hips.

Why women?
I think women should be comfortable with their sexuality since they are sexy whether they want to be or not. As a woman you can bring life into the world and that’s hella sexy. That’s on some Mother Earth stuff. ~

For more YA$$A follow her here.

Photos: Carter Wilson and Ellis Wilson; foreignkompany.com (@foreignkompany)
Words: Kenya Ku$h
Stylist: J NASTY
Clothing Provided By: Moksha Seattle

Artist Spotlight: YA$$A