Born and raised in Sweden, of Swedish and Gambian descent.
Based in Los Angeles, CA
We are so excited to interview magnificent Rugiyatou Ylva Jallow about her art story, perspectives on the creativeness, nature of the inspiration, and some advice for those who are just starting
A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you into art?
R: I have painted since I was a child and could pick up a pen/paintbrush. My mother and my grandmother are both artists as well so I was always encouraged to create at an early age.
I’ve always loved to draw and paint, it has always been my hobby and number one passion. However, it wasn’t until the end of 2014 when I was about to graduate college in computer animation that I realized I could actually have a future as a painter. Because a friend of mine encouraged me to display my art to the public and so I did. I got an amazing response and that’s what encouraged me to actually pursue it. Prior to that, I had always imagined it to be too difficult to make it within art so I was too afraid to go in that direction, even though painting is what has always given me the greatest joy.
But I’m here now, a full-time painter.
A: What inspires you the most?
R: I mainly get inspired by black history. Because my dad is Gambian (West African), he always made sure that me and his other children knew about our roots, our language, and everything that comes with that. I was raised by him in a West African culture and that is what initially and has continued to inspire me. I am very passionate about equality, especially race and gender equality because it applies to me and my closest.
However, I do get extremely inspired by artists as well, from the Renaissance era to contemporary art. Art thrills me in so many ways that it’s impossible not to get inspired by it.
A: Do you have any specific rituals while working(creating)?
R: I usually make sure I have a cup of tea, or coffee if I’m tired, and then I put on a podcast or audiobook to listen to while I paint. I enjoy storytelling and the latest podcast I’ve enjoyed is called “art curios”
A: What would you recommend to someone who's new to art (rather artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?
R: To an artist I would say to not worry about what you assume people would like and just paint what you feel like, explore and unleash the inner you. And believe in yourself, that’s your biggest asset.
To an admirer of art, I would say research, explore all types of art. Make an effort to view art in person. And don’t overanalyze, just allow yourself to get enthralled in the work.
A: Your top 3 favorite adjectives related to art?
R: Surreal, evocative, disruptive
A: The best angle to look at art is from..?
R: Straight ahead and relatively close to being able to see any details
A: The Perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ..?
R: Life without art is no life.
A: Must-read books to talk about art (or do we even need them)?
R: Art is everything, and books about art are definitely necessary. To be able to learn and explore the reasons, the purpose of a piece. The history behind it and the artist themselves. But I don’t believe you need to read about art to be able to talk about it. Even expressing a feeling you get from viewing a piece is enough to talk about art.
I don’t personally have any “must-read” books. For me, it’s a matter of what style and era that interests you and you can find hundreds of books within that.
A: If you could change one thing in the art world - what would it be?
R: I would love for more black people and women to be included. Fortunately, I’m seeing more black artists rising, however, there’s still a huge lack of women artists. And as a woman myself, I see the difference in being a male painter as opposed to a female.
A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art)
R: "Breathing dreams like air"
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