Through clay and metal, Shayla Cox Milan creates work that is steeped in honesty, the beauty, in the imperfections, each piece showing the hand of the artist. Like people, no two pieces will ever be the same, each one possessing its own identity and personality. She uses several processes to reach the final result, sculpting/firing clay, carving wax, wax casting, and soldering, all take place during her journey from design to conception. Her aesthetic is informed by her interest in modern art (often functional), architectural elements, and primitive artifacts. She fuses these influences together to create a visual message that is her own.
The work represents a quiet rebellion. “Having been a visual stylist in New York City for more than seven years, I felt a need to escape the manufactured precision and perfection of the fashion industry. My work is a result of a meditative practice, an awakening, true love, and discovering self.”
Part of Milan’s self discovery is informed through continued research into her family’s DNA, her grandmother’s origins in Barbados, and even further back to Africa. She is always eager to absorb information regarding ancestral life, traditions, daily artifacts, and anything used to adorn the body and the home/community. “With the connection to the past, I am also a focused on the woman of then and now. The constant is strength and fragility, seemingly opposing forces, yet femininely complimentary and necessary. My work is a representation of these two characteristics.” The metal representing strength (masculine energy) and the clay representing fragility (feminine energy,) Milan believes both are necessary for balance in her work and in life.
Shayla Cox Milan is an American artist, born and raised in Ohio. There she studied fine and performing arts from a very young age. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, as well as the sister school, Polimoda in Florence, Italy. She collaborated with Donna Karan’s Urban Zen store to create a capsule jewelry collection, and her pieces have also been sold through Warm NY and FIVESTORY. She maintains an online shop, shaylacox.com, and in October of 2013, she held her first solo gallery show at the Shot Tower Gallery in Columbus, OH.