Ukiah Corner Gallery Young Artist Wall with works by Afton Edwards – The Ukiah Daily Journal
“Autodidact” describes in a few words the new young artist of the Corner Gallery. Sixteen-year-old Afton Edwards caught the drawing bug early in her life, at the age of 5…but she has virtually no formal art training. She is the lucky product of being home schooled in a family full of artistic inspiration.
Afton describes his first exposure to art: “At the age of 5, I found a love for art. That’s when my family met a family of artists, who quickly became close friends with us. I remember standing at the end of a small game table and watching their two daughters draw. I was blown away that someone could create art so well. At that point I decided that I wanted to learn how to draw and would spend most of my time creating characters and stories.
Afton continues: “Of course, you’re not really going to teach a 5 year old to draw, but I was constantly watching. Every time we visited this family, I spent hours sitting in their art studios, watching them paint, draw, and craft. They told me about their approach and gave me valuable advice that I still take into account today.
According to Afton, homeschooling has given her countless opportunities and time to practice drawing on a daily basis. She also discovered the graphic novel section of the public library when she was 8 years old, when her family moved from Minnesota to California. She didn’t just read the books… she was inspired by them. Afton describes how this self-study developed over the years: “I bought books on how to draw and used them as references for my art. Youtube and Pinterest have also become great resources for learning and inspiration. Last year, my sister and I took an acrylic and oil painting course at Mendocino College; this was my introduction to acrylic painting and still remains the first and only art class I took.”
This young artist now happily draws inspiration from multiple sources. She says “first and most important will always be the family who initially supported me to start creating art all those years ago.” She continues, “But now I follow a number of artists on Instagram and I’m currently driven to do something every day to keep creating and learning new ways of making art. I am also inspired by the world and the people around me.
When asked to elaborate on the new ways of making art she has been exposed to, Afton explains, “Over the past few years I have found a love for mixed media. I love different textures and art styles and want to learn it all! I love to paint and I also do a lot of watercolour, gouache and acrylic. Colored pencils and paint pens have also become go-to art supplies for me. One day I would like to learn oil and be more interested in digital art and calligraphy.
Afton has more concrete plans for his future than most teenagers. In her words, “I am currently creating custom commissioned pieces through my Instagram page, @aftie.arts, as well as creating art for myself. My hopes for the future are to open an online gallery to share and sell art. I would also like to become an illustrator for children’s books and graphic novels, and continue to work with local art galleries.
This solo exhibition at the Corner Gallery is Afton’s very first gallery experience, and his enthusiasm is tangible. She treated it as an opportunity to jump headfirst into the professional art world, enthusiastically commenting, “I’ve decided to create all new artwork to exhibit.” She admitted a few weeks before the show: “At the moment they haven’t been fully finished so I currently don’t have a favourite. I’ll have to wait and see on that. The answer finally came on the day of the hanging… “Geese are my favorite thing I’ve ever done.”
The first Friday opening for all new Corner Gallery art exhibitions will be February 4 from 5-8 p.m. All COVID protocols will be observed, with masks and social distancing required. The gallery is located at 201 S. State St. in Ukiah.