Smwallday – A Talented Graphic Designer
“Revival” by @Smwallday
My name is Shaylin Wallace (her Instagram is @Smwallday), I’m 20 years old, and I’m from Wilmington, Delaware. I’m a freelance digital artist and photographer. I’m also a full-time student at Salisbury University majoring in Graphic Design (BFA). I guess you could say I’m both a full-time artist and a hobbyist since I love creating artwork for others and for myself as well.
I started creating and editing photos back in 2015 as a personal escape from reality, using an app called PicsArt. I started off by experimenting with different tools and filters, but then once I became more comfortable, I started to discover what I loved to create, which was surreal compositions. I didn’t get Adobe Photoshop until a few years after I started manipulating photos, but once I did, my concepts and ideas became more complex since I had an even wider range of tools at my disposal.
Firstly, thanks for your self introducing, it’s great to know a little more about you before asking you any questions. I also want to thank you for agreeing to an interview, Shaylin. It’s great that you were so willing to share more about yourself and what you do. Here’s your first question:
Which artists do you use as references and why?
The artist who influenced me the most was the great Salvador Dali. One day in my art class back in high school, we were discussing different types of art. We started learning about surrealism and as soon as I saw Dali’s artwork, I fell in love. What I loved about Dali’s artwork was how realistic yet unrealistic each of his pieces look, and how they trick the brain into thinking that what they portray could actually exist in real life. He really inspired me to create things that aren’t realistic, but could possibly be in an alternate universe so to speak.
How would you define your artistic style? Where do you draw inspiration from for your edits?
I would define my artistic style as surreal, but with a touch of minimalism (at times).
Something I play with when creating in Photoshop is trying to put images together that don’t normally belong together. My objective is usually to create something that has never been done before, and to make it look as real and surreal as possible. Many everyday things influence my ideas, such as movies like Dr. Strange or something as simple as a stroll around the block in my neighborhood. Most of the time though, my ideas come to me literally as I’m looking on websites such as Unsplash.com or Adobe Stock for photos to edit.
My thought process is more of an “in the moment” type of thing rather than my making sketches and writing down ideas. If I see a photo and an idea pops into my head, I save the photo to my computer and attempt to create the edit that popped in my head. I try not to stress about an edit if it’s not coming out the way I wanted it to. The best thing for me to do is stop working on it and to just back later with a clear mind.
What would you consider to be your favourite Instagram moment?
My favorite Instagram moment has to be when I posted my Revival piece and over 50 different pages reposted it and it got over 4,000 likes. I was so surprised, because I was not expecting that kind of reaction from the Instagram community.
Also, I felt so overwhelmed in the best way possible as that edit took me about 2 weeks to create because it wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to. But once I finished, I loved it and it warmed my heart that other people loved it as much as I did.
Describe a typical day in your life. What do you normally do?
I’m a sophomore in college and I recently started my spring semester.
With this schedule, I wake up around 10:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays and get ready to go my first class which starts at 12pm. Once my first class is finished, I have literally 10 minutes until my second one begins. After my second class ends at 4:15pm, I’m free to do anything, but I usually do homework and study.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have my first class again at 12pm, so I wake up at 10:30, but my last class doesn’t end until 4:45pm. After that I usually study and do homework – the usual.
I don’t have classes on Fridays, which is great, so I use that time to catch up on work, wash clothes, clean, and of course, edit photos. When it’s late at night on the weekdays, from around 11pm-3am, I’m usually up either watching Netflix or editing in Photoshop.
The reason why I relax and edit so late is because that’s usually the only time I’m free to create. Plus, I’m a night owl and tend to be wide awake at 3 am. My best ideas come to me around this time of night. The thing I don’t like about my routine is how little time I have to create, since, if I’m being honest, I’d rather be editing in Photoshop than studying for an exam.
The thing I do like about my schedule is that I can sleep in if I wanted to, but my brain usually wakes up at 10:30 am no matter if I go to bed at 11 pm or 3 am the night before. I wish I could use the majority of my time focusing on my artwork rather than school work, but I am still in the process of balancing the two out since they’re both very important to me.
If you had only one advice to give to a beginner what would it be?
If I had only one piece of advice to give to any artist who wants to get started on Instagram, it would be to create for the right reasons and to not lose sight of your passion.
Many times, artists on Instagram or any social media platform get caught up with number of followers and likes which causes them to create things just so they can get their numbers up. Don’t do that.
Make art that you love and enjoy, and the right people will follow and support your work. Don’t let a number determine how you think or create. Use Instagram as a tool to get your work out there and never forgot why you started creating in the first place.
Don’t lose sight of your passion.
What are some websites you enjoy or find helpful for your creative endeavours?
My favorite website has to be Unsplash.com where photographers and creatives upload their photos, and people are able to download their photos for free and edit them. I’ve been using this website for photos since they created the website and there are so many amazing photographs that get uploaded, which makes it hard sometimes to pick which pictures I want to edit.
AdobeStock.com has some amazing images as well, but I love their stock photos of items and objects specifically.
Thanks again for your time, Shagun. Do you have a final message to inspire and motivate the Learn-Photoshop community? Impress us!