Lelainia Lloyd is a fabulous mixed media artist, vibrant creative thinker and a fellow British Columbian. I truly loved seeing her grab onto the adventure of self-portraiture wholeheartedly and she was such a vibrant and supportive member of the last Wading In Class. I really loved what she has to share about her self-portrait experience and I'm excited to share it with you.
Could you share a bit about yourself ?
I’m a mixed media artist & writer, (and also a wife and a mum to a grown son) living on the west coast of Canada just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. I’ve been involved with mixed media for 10 years, but I’ve been creative my entire life. I come from a long line of people who made their living by their hands in various forms and I’m hardwired the same way-it’s in my DNA. My day begins and ends every single day, in my studio. For me, being an artist is not what I do, it’s who I am. Having a way to express my creativity is as essential to my well-being as breathing.
When I’m not busy plugging away on a current project in my studio, I’m usually off with my husband and our beloved 3 year old black Lab, Indiana Jones (Indy)enjoying the great outdoors which is so much a part of every day life in British Columbia. Having moved here from Manitoba 25 years ago this summer, I can tell you that even after all this time, I never get tired of the natural beauty of this province. Spending time in the wilds, in the mountains, in the forests and parks or by the ocean feeds my spirit. While I will always consider myself to be a dyed-in-the-wool prairie girl, there’s no place else in the world I’d rather live than right here.
How was your experience of taking a self-portraiture course?
I had no idea what to expect but I was deeply surprised and delighted with my experience. I thought Wading In was well thought out and presented in a way that was accessable to everyone in a way that felt very supportive and safe. I couldn't wait each day to go to the virtual classroom and see what the assignment was and to see the work my fellow students had put forth. I shot more photos of myself in the first week that I've had taken of me my entire life!
The good news was that even though I don't fancy myself a photographer-I just have a cheap, crappy (on it's way to dying) point and shoot camera, it didn't matter. The idea was to take tons of photos, quickly and then have a look at what was there. Amazingly every single time, there was good stuff for me to work with. I never thought I would enjoy being my own subject, but I did!
One thing that came out of this class is that now, when someone asks me for a headshot for publication, I no longer have to cringe or dread sending them one. I have plenty of really cool self portraits that I would be proud to share and that I feel accurately reflect who I really am.
For me, the biggest thing that came of this class is this: I have an incurable, life-altering neurological disease called Multiple Sclerosis. As a result of damage from the disease, I lost all feeling in my hands 3 years ago. As an artist, it was utterly devistating. Over time, I've managed to adapt, but my hands don't work like they used to and will only get worse. Because I took Wading In, I discovered that I seem to have a bit of a knack with the camera. I had no idea! Wading In gave me hope that even if at some point I can no longer do mixed media (which is my first love), I WILL be able to express myself creatively through the lense. It's inspired me to continue to explore this medium and I am excited about the possibilities.
What was your favourite self-portrait you took?
The love the one I took of my dog Indy and I because I think it perfectly captured the connectedness of our spirits. My best friend told me that it's her favourite photo because our eyes look exactly the same.
My sweet husband brought Indy into my life just after I was diagnosed with MS. As you can imagine, it was an incredibly difficult time in my life and he thought this gorgeous puppy would help me cope. I think of Indy as my heart walking around on four furry legs. I adore him. As someone put it so beautifully today, "A dog is not just a dog. It's the most trusted friend you'll ever have."
Where can we find you online?
To read more Muse Interviews, head on over to this post!