Ayla Whitney aka ‘Ayla the Caveman’ is an Australian born and based artist creating hyper colored art for the inner weirdo in all of us. She had her debut solo show back in 2015 and has been working on her art at a furious pace ever since – creating paintings, murals, prints, illustration and apparel. With all her work imbued with Ayla’s unique eye.
We stumbled upon her work when out wandering the streets of Redfern, Sydney recently… Popping out from a side alley was a huge hyper colored mural featuring a skull and a rainbow. It was classic, yet somehow different – a digital version is featured above. Just like Ayla.
With Ayla quickly building some major buzz, now is the time to get to know her, by reading the Art Talk interview, below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
1st of October , 1987
City, State n Country you’re from?
Thirroul, NSW, Australia
City, State n Country were you currently reside?
Alexandria, NSW, Australia
(Pictures below showing Ayla working on a mural for Sydney bar and art spot, ‘The Bearded Tit‘.)
Describe a memory from some stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together your pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, love, school, crime… ANYTHING.
* age 5 – beginnings:
Watching the fifa world cup with my dad at the crack of dawn.
* age 10 – continuations:
My year 5 teacher who always asked for “a strong boy” to help do important things.
Weird and frustrating.
(Picture below of Ayla as a kid)
* age 15 – getting serious:
Surfing in competitions and hating the seriousness and politics of it.
(Picture below of Ayla in her teens)
* age 20 – young adult:
Started nursing to help parents with surfing comps.
* age 25 – meanderings:
Walked into the Odd Future store in LA and Tyler the creator ran down from up stairs and yelled out “whats up my niggas” literally in my face.
(A recent self portrait by Ayla, below)
Well I don’t have a motto but I love two quotes that I try to live by:
“Never, Never be afraid to do what is right.” – M.L.K
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr.Seuss
Why the name “Ayla the Caveman”?
I have been waiting for someone to ask me this…
It has a few reasons but mainly because my uncle used to call me a caveman when I was younger because I used to spend a lot of time in my bedroom doing art or music or watching cartoons with my dog.
Favorite other artists and why?
I really would be here all day if I answered that.
My favorite is anyone who dares to create and express in any way, shape or form with honesty.
Worst aspect of the art hustle?
Having to censor yourself and opinions for the sake of getting exposure.
I hate being a hypocrite or having to be fake.
Best aspect of the art hustle?
Getting to meet my heros/ heroines and like minded creatives.
(Pictures below of some digital art by Ayla)
When and why did you first start making art?
I started in year 3 to prove to a boy in my class that he was wrong after he said “not everyone can draw especially girls because they only draw butterflies and they are lame” I drew a picture of a native aboriginal …so I just subconsciously continued to prove him wrong I guess. haha
Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?
Anytime Joel Moore (Mulga) says “hi, Ayla” is pretty special.
What are the best and worst parts of living and being an artist in Australia?
I don’t have anything to compare it to but I feel like Australia has a hell of a lot of restrictions that prevent people from expressing themselves which is so wrong.
I also find it rather hard to gain respect doing my sort of art here as a female. “lame butterflies”.
(Picture below of a self designed hoodie by Ayla)
What are your thoughts on the general Australian scene today?
Hmmm…At the moment I think we are going through a process that will result in one of two extremes.
I think if we don’t start putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, doing the right thing morally for humans, animals and the environment and at least trying to understand each other we could really do some fucking irreversible damage that will affect us all.
Do you consider your work to be ‘art’, ‘design’, ‘vandalism’, re-hashed crap?
Really the only thing I can say about what I consider my art to be is a product of constant worry to be somewhat original. …or I guess a creation??? I am yet to look up the actual meaning of what ART means.
In the graffiti scene there is a friction between what seems to be a desire for recognition – namely placing stickers and art all over public spaces – and a reluctance to be interviewed, set up an online presence and all of those other ‘normal’ art hustle things…
…What are your thoughts on this schism and the reasons why it exists?
Umm perhaps it is not cool to put your art on the internet or be interviewed? Super shy? Maybe they do their art for other reasons that is significant to them. I think art can be personal to some artist so they prefer to keep it low key.
I don’t actually know.
What do you think the general public’s perception of graffiti is and why?
It really depends on where you go.
I know Sydney is a lot more accepting of it than a lot of other places I have been hence why I moved here. I think a lot of people who are against it suffer from a severe case of old fashioned mind set.
(Pictures below of some murals by Ayla)
Describe the method of making and materials used for you work? (dot point all o.k.)
* your street art and graff?
Draw up a design. Spray Paint it out and then I use posca pens and acrylics.
* your paintings?
* your pen and ink work?
I just draw free hand until its right.
* your prints?
Draw design, Take a photo of it, Send to photo shop, out line fix, trace and then save, drive to office works, wait in a long ass line and get it printed.
* your digital art?
Same as above
(Pictures below of some paintings by Ayla)
How, in your opinion, has the rise of platforms such as Instagram impacted the life of an artist, and the scene in general?
I love Instagram. Because it was how I started getting my work noticed. Of course it’s a little lazy but I think it is so perfect for networking and getting your stuff out to absolutely anyone who might not have the exposure to it where they are.
People also get the chance to sort of connect a persona and artists style to the work which is important to me because it is how I communicate my likes, dislikes, thoughts, etc. For people like me who can’t stay focused enough to read blogs or whatever it’s virtually a public photo album.
What was it like partaking in the ‘Cheez TV’ group show put together by our mate Jack Irvine in July this year?
I love jack. He is one of my favorites.
Amazing opportunity to work with purely cartoons and honored every time he asked me to participate in something he does.
When I walked in to the gallery it was like Disneyland for my brain and eyes.
(Picture below of the Cheez TV group show flyer)
Odds n Ends
What role did toys play in your childhood?
I wanted guns and things like that but my mum wouldn’t let me so we compromised on G.I.joes and kens and played barbies with my sisters a lot.
I can remember getting excited over creating their homes and jobs and stories so I guess in a way it was probably a pathway to my interest into creativity.
Who was your 1st crush and why?
Haha Mrs Ferrorio because she was a full time babe whom played basketball.
Does sex change everything?
Um…. I think it is probably different for everyone.
Please describe your latest dream in detail…
I have this reoccurring dream where I am due for an exam at school or an assignment is due or something and I have done nothing, studied nothing in fact haven’t even bothered to turn up for any classes all year except for ART and PE. I am freaking out and thinking of how I can just go home and study it all and kidding myself. Haha
I think it is from regret from never going to school because the surf was a better option.
(Pictures below of some pen and ink work by Ayla)
Have you ever tried psychedelics of any sort? And what was the experience like?
HahaNa I have never been interested in drugs or drinking.
I am a tripper enough without them.
Please describe what you think the Australian Psyche/Zeitgeist is today?
I am going to sound really negative but I see it as almost lost, unconcerned, uneducated (not in the academic sense) and lacking respect.
Which 1990’s era cartoon, would you most like to see in a tribute sex toy, and why?
** Please sketch a prototype as well. **
(Picture below of the ‘Ren and Stimpy‘ tribute condom – by Ayla)
Who would win in a fight and why: an tatted up Australian bogan on his way home from the pub Vs. A rowdy girl gang?
** Please draw the battle in all it’s violent beauty! **
(Picture below of the battle in all its glory!)
At the moment it is Jimmi Hendrix and the experience and Hockey Dad.
Favorite TV show(s)?
Bo jack horseman, Rick and Morty and Haters back off.
Favorite sport(s) + teams?
Surfing: Mikey Wright, Ozzie Wrong and Dane Reynolds
Snowboarding, Skating: Dylan Rieder, BuckeyLasek, Alan Young, Barcelona FC and Sydney swans
(Pictures below of some piles of Ayla’s art)
I love documentaries and this will sound typical but I loved “Exit through the gift shop” as well as “Super size me” and “Zeitgeist: the movie”. Point break, the Lorax and the Grinch.
Favorite books and comics?
The alchemist, Into the Wild and I love all the old comics in general. Especially batman!!!
Any collaborations in the works?
No but I am trying to put together ideas for a solo or group show to raise money for animal shelters.
Very much early stages yet.
Any major projects you want to hype?
I just did a deck at The Plot Festival with Decks for Change last week that will be auctioned off via the plots Instagram on the 28th of this month with all proceeds going to Make Life Skate Life foundation.
It was epic and I got to meet Pigeon Boy and a lot of other amazing creatives.
(Pictures below of some skateboards and surfboards painted by Ayla)