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Voice, Meaning, and Struggle
Micaela Dawn, Canadian Digital Illustration artist, uses a divine combination of bold textured color, geometric crisp lines, and mythological themes to create a fresh and powerful set of works. Gravitating towards tales of old, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, King Arthur, The Odyssey, Dawn “reimagines them from a modern perspective with a slant towards women and minorities who were typically not represented in older literature.” She also works with pen and ink, creating boldly metallic and acutely symbolic visuals, along with gorgeous landscapes and portraits.
Dawn spent her childhood immersed in “stories and adventure – I read a lot as a child, and saved up throughout my life to travel and learn as much as I could from other cultures.” Leaning always towards creativity, Micaela spent as much time as possible in museums and art galleries, and always enjoyed working creatively before the start of her adult art career. With a major in Character Design and a minor in Illustration, Dawn is well versed in the arts. As her studies focused on traditional art, Dawn experienced the stigma towards digital art as a medium but fell in love with it the minute she started using a tablet.
Because of Dawn’s education at a design school, her unique work is greatly inspired by graphic design elements – shapes, colors, and interesting textures. Using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet, Dawn typically starts “with a story” and “sketches out several ideas and elements before choosing a composition.” The forgiving, non-committal nature of working digitally gives her “a lot of options without worrying about using up too many materials”, saving her time and money. Her varied and striking works combine feminine figures, animals, mythical references and swirling, radiating color, all accompanied by fresh and defining line and shape.
“I like to use subtle shapes and textures mixed with bold colors to invoke a feeling of storybooks for adults. I also like to include lots of interesting symbolism to make those who view my art think deeper about what the piece might mean.”
There is a strong theme of voice laced within her powerful and suggestive works; “I want to give a voice to women and minorities”. The gorgeous aesthetic of these presented voices creates a storybook feeling, which is intentional. The implementation of geometric shape, watercolor effect, and the fusion of bold imagery with delicate color and light play create a strikingly memorable set of imagery that is not only beautiful but rooted in voice, meaning, and struggle.
Dawn has always tried to tackle her ‘fears” through art, branching outside of her comfort zone to present as wholly as possible. “I used to focus only on black and white or subtle colors, but now my style is often full of colors and bold shapes.” She celebrates the benefits of being an artist in modern society, where “there are so many ways to reach out to people around the world who would have never had the chance to view my art in a previous society.” Micaela Dawn’s plight to spread the word of minorities is not for a minority of viewers, but for the world.