We had the good fortune of connecting with Chrysta Avers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chrysta, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
As someone who bought into it for so long, I cannot stand hustle culture. Hustle culture encourages people to overwork themselves on a continual basis often merely for exposure. Hustle culture is prevalent in many fields, but especially creative fields because there are not as many opportunities for creatives. Running your own business or operating as a solo artist can be really daunting to get into, especially in the age of social media where tons of artists post work daily to keep up with the algorithm. If you are just trying to get into the field, this is a really terrifying prospect. Artists should not be expected to make a new art piece every single day just to have their work noticed online. When artists make these daily pieces they are focusing often on quantity over quality. My advice for other emerging artists is to make the art that you want to make no matter how long it takes and not to feel pressured to follow social media trends unless you want to. Artists deserve to have a healthy and stable work/life balance. My best work always happens when I feel rested and balanced in the other areas of my life. While you do have to work hard and often on improving your craft, it is okay to take a break when you need it.Your work is important, but nothing is more important than valuing your physical and mental health.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am still a very new professional artist, so I find new challenges every day! I am a queer multimedia artist who uses focuses in collage, illustration, and paint. Sometimes it is difficult to find the balance between making very meaningful work and not so serious work for fun. I often feel pressured to continuously make very heavy and serious art, but this is very draining so I try to balance it with silly illustrations and collage that I can make just for fun! The topics that I am particularly interested in exploring with my more serious work are southern queerness, religious and physical trauma, and wage disparity. However I also really love designing flash sheets, posters, creating comic panels, and doing colorful illustrations of objects and activities I love such as roller skating! It is pretty scary as a freelance beginner artist, but my advice for other starting artists is to reach out to the folks whose work you admire and become friends with other people within the art scene. You can share your art knowledge with them and they might share theirs with you. One of the best things about surrounding yourself with other creatives, is you always have a supportive group of friends who inspire you and vice versa! I am most proud of co-founding Y’ALL ATL, an organization that aims to connect established and emerging artists through the creation, promotion, and advocacy of accessible arts events within the Atlanta community. Although we are not hosting physical events at the moment due to Covid, we are showcasing art opportunities, creating community zines, and have just started a series called “Disabled History” on our Instagram. I have hosted a couple of art shows through Y’ALL ATL, but I am also interested in hosting my own art shows as well. Abbie Argo and I are in the process of putting together “Lisa Freak:Too!” an all things 1990’s and 2000’s art show which will take place at The Bakery May 15-16 with timed tickets to ensure social distancing. I am super excited for this show and to host other art events in the future that uplift marginalized and often overlooked voices.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In a perfect, post-covid world I would start the morning by taking my friend to get a coffee and treat from Hodgepodge. I love Hodgepodge for so many reasons including their zine library, their support of the arts, and how connected and committed they are to helping the community. Bonus points because we could drop off food in the Free Fridge right outside! I love museums so I would take my friend to see incredible work by local artists at The Mint Gallery and The Bakery. Of course I would also have to take them to admire the vastness of the High Museum of Art! If we were at the Mint Gallery we could grab pupusas from LA Bodega at The Window. I would also take my friend to get incredible food from Mushi Ni, Slutty Vegan, Ponko, and Planet Bombay. On a hot day we could also go to Everythang Nola Cafe in Slyvan Hills to get a stuffed snoball. I would take my friend to do karaoke with a live band at Darkhorse and to 80’s night at The Basement for a dance party. I would also take them to see a drag show by Southern Fried Queer Pride at Church or Mary’s. No trip to Atlanta is complete without a stop to the Plaza Theatre to see a live Rocky Horror Picture Show performance followed by a 2 am Waffle House stop! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My work has been influenced and encouraged by so many wonderful human beings! I recently graduated from Oglethorpe University with a B.A. in Studio Art under the direction of Alan Loehle, who is a wonderful art professor. I also have a really lovely group of creative friends who always share helpful resources and encourage me. I want to give a big shoutout to Amanda Norris and Hannah Alexander who hosted the first “real” art show I ever participated in called “Yes Ma’am.” After I participated in this show in the summer of 2017, I gained a lot more confidence as an artist and was also very inspired by them to participate in and host mutual aid art events. I could not have asked for a better first art show experience. Abbie Argo, my best friend and disability rights art activist continues to inspire and encourage me to pursue different art challenges that I might initially be nervous about. We started an art accessibility organization together along with Jake Van Valkenburg and Ryan Holtzen and continue to work together to create accessible art for Atlanta.