We had the good fortune of connecting with Asia Monay and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Asia, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursued a creative career because art was the thing that saved my life. Growing up, I had little to no positive coping mechanisms. I suffered deeply with mental illness which caused me to be institutionalized for a large part of my childhood. Trauma from those experiences drove me to alcoholism and drug abuse. When I could not find my way out of the darkness I began to paint. The release and pure joy I experienced from creating was unlike anything I have ever felt. Over time, my therapeutic hobby became a full on career.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My brand , artbyasiaMonay, is dedicated to the empowerment of my people. I paint women of color not just in a way that is pleasing to the eye, but that tells real stories. I paint heartaches, moments of sadness, heavy spiritual themes, and most importantly the growth and peace we can experience when we persevere.

Throughout my career I’ve experienced loss of confidence and direction many times. I’ve even considered quitting on a few occasions. But once I remembered why I started painting and the positive influence my work had on others I regained my strength!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Detroit, my hometown is full of beauty and life. It is such a unique place to experience! I would take my friend to open mic nights at The Raw Space, and Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe. Both have such a rich and rejuvenating energy. We would visit Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum for the rich cultural experience and unique art installations. The DIA, Charles H. Wright Museum, Musuem of Contemporary Art, N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art are all musts for educational and spiritual connections through art. I would also take them to visit Hines Park for the beautiful and peaceful scenery.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother, Wanda Smith, has been the strongest supporter throughout my art career. She has taught me so much about painting techniques, how to present myself as an artist, has given me the courage to pursue art full time and hasn’t missed an art show yet!

Instagram: Instagram.com/artbyasiamonay

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monayarts

Image Credits
Photos taken by Travis Smith and Judith Flowers

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