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Meet Trailblazer Leyla Havok

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leyla Havok.

Leyla, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ever since I was a tot, I always knew I was different. Weird and misunderstood. I never really liked school and was kinda always failing. I remember always drawing in the corner of my homework little doodles. They always gave me this escape from the normal. My childhood was very rocky and art was my escape. I could get whatever I needed to say, scream or punch in one stroke of a pencil. My first art sale was in high school, I had convinced my Art Teacher Mr. Fields to start up a small art booth outside during lunch to raise money for the art department. The feeling of someone loving and purchasing my work and other artists work made me feel like I mattered. That I found my purpose. So, I took it and ran with it and no matter what, I knew that this is what I wanted to do and nothing will ever stand in my way. Currently, I travel to many different states showcasing my work to all different age groups in hopes to inspire other weird and misunderstood kids and adults and showing them you can do this. My dream is to open a gallery in Arizona for kids who want to be artist themselves to not struggle as much the way I did. The world needs more Color and Art and this is my way of giving it back.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In the world of art, there is always a struggle. My family wasn’t the best. I always had felt indifferent because I’m half black and half Mexican. There is a huge issue in the Latino community that no one really talks about. When you are full Mexican, you are more accepted, but if you are black, not so much. Not only did I have to fight society against discrimination, but I also had to deal with it in my own family. Growing up, my goal was to show that I was good enough, that I was more than what anyone thought of me. I am grateful that I had to go through these challenges in my life because I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I’m always constantly thinking about what makes me happy wither its past, present or the future. The key is to always see yourself in a positive light because everything good will manifest around you. What you think is what you become. My advice is to do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.

Tell us about your artwork. What do you do, what do you specialize in?
A lot of my work is very colorful, popular and sometimes bold. My prints and some canvases are from popular Movies, Tv shows, Music and Comics. I really love drawing nostalgic shows or movies that I loved watching with my brother Donta when we were little. It’s awesome to hear other people when purchasing my artwork that they also had the same experiences with their siblings. Like a sorta connection happens with my artwork and a supporter that’s really awesome to see. I like to paint with a lot of acrylics paint and to sharpen the lines, I use Prisma Marker Jet Black. I believe I’m known for my nostalgic colorful paintings. I believe my artwork creates a feeling that you used to have back in the day when you’re watching your favorite movie like The Nightmare Before Christmas or playing with your 6-year-old brother in Super Mario. I want you to remember a good time in your life. My business I AM HAVOK was created to show kids and adults to not be afraid if you are different. Havok was originally from one of my idols, lead singer of AFI Davey Havok. When I was in junior high, I never felt that I figured out myself, but when a friend introduced me to the album “Sing the Sorrow,” I immediately connected to the lyrics (especially to the song “The Great Disappointment”) and that day, I was a huge AFI Fan. Davey also grew up with people doubting him and his work but it never stopped him. Havok means “Widespread Destruction” and to me, that’s what I wanted to do but in Art Form. My dream is to open up a gallery for kids and young adults who want to become artists. To not struggle as hard the way I had to. What sets me apart from other artists is I want more for other artists, the new and old, I want more for people like me to express themselves and to not ever doubt themselves no matter what. I want to do more for people like me and that’s half of why I’m creating.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
My Mother.

When I was little, my mother would take me and my brother to Michael’s Art and Craft store to buy paint, gems, brushes, and little boxes. She would tell us to paint whatever we wanted and dress them up however we liked. I loved how we all were painting and having fun. Meant the world to me and she still has my dark blue treasure box with gems all around it till this day.

She was the first one to give me my first paintbrush.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Nick Wescott

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