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(Image: Maya Milton)
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Artist of the Week: Maya Milton

Maya Milton is a Seattle-based artist whose art is a form of communication, self-expression and activism. Their goal is "to make art committed to creating a space that enables Black girls and women to imagine a life beyond the confining structures in which we currently live."

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Maya Milton: I've technically been creating since I was a child, but I didn't flourish until I was a high school student. I work with several mediums (acrylic, watercolor, gouache, oil paint, collage, and pen & ink), although my main medium is currently acrylic paint.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I first think of an idea which can happen at any point in time. This is why I carry an art journal with me, to write the ideas down. Then I sketch the idea on Procreate. Then I think about which mediums I want to use to bring the piece to life. After I've nailed down all of this, I paint.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
My inspiration is endless, from the intricate designs on trees and leaves to the universe. I often use butterflies to represent transformation and hope. I use the sun to represent clarity and confidence. The moon to represent divine power and enlightenment. While the earth represents strength and growth. As a whole, they represent connection. Flowers also provide an endless supply of inspiration for me. I mostly use sunflowers in my art.

Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
My specific beat consists of portrait-type artwork and artwork that includes nature. Two things that reoccur most often in my artwork are monarch butterflies and the moon.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
One specific piece that means the most to me is "The Golden Soul pt. 2" This piece consists of many dots. The woman is stipple with a marker, while the moon behind her is stippled using a small pen. I truly believe that it is one of, if not my best, piece of work thus far.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Honestly, being a disabled Black woman. I just want to bring joy to the lives of others because I know that we are all going through hard times, and we're all dealing with difficult things behind the scenes.

If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
I currently have pieces on display at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, as well as a piece at MoPop. I also have a website which is 21entities.com. My IG is also @21entities.

What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
I currently have a studio residency at The Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, as well as other projects.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
I take my coffee with cream and sugar. A bit of sweetness is good for the soul.

About 'Artist of the Week': Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at hello@seattlerefined.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.

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