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Meet Adriana Jay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adriana Jay.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story actually starts with a blue Crayola marker and a long mint-colored hallway in my family’s first home in West Kendall. Insert a curious 2-year-old (read: me) with an affinity for color and tada! That’s how my first mural was made. It was love at first squiggle.

This pattern went on to repeat itself—on my older sister’s homework, the refrigerator, several of my toys—until multiple Clorox wipes and reprimands later my mom had a brilliant idea. She didn’t want to squash my obvious love for creativity but she also didn’t want my budding artistic career to turn our home into a full-scale Jackson Pollock painting.

Instead, my mom did something I’ll never forget. She led me to her closet, gave me a set of markers and told me I could draw anything I wanted within those walls. That’s how I turned a small walk-in closet into my own personal studio before I was in kindergarten.

It became my go-to space for the expression of all kinds. I explored fear (by literally drawing monsters in the closet). I journaled (if your name had a heart around it we were on great terms). This closet was the garden where I planted the seeds that would wake up in full force for a second time almost 25 years later.

Fast-forward through years of closely studying my Abuelita’s wrinkled hands as she taught me how to shade with crayon. Zip past high school art classes and long nights of painting to Incubus on my CD player. Scurry through 10 painful years where my paintbrushes gathered dust because I became too disconnected from my creative side and was admittedly, too afraid, to try again.

Freeze-frame on one day in 2014 while adventuring through Sedona. I saw a blue jay gliding in the wind, red rock canyons contrasting beautifully against its feathers. There was something about that moment that melted into a painting in my memory. Maybe it was the combination of seeing and experiencing nature’s beauty so vividly; perhaps it was being present in a moment of absolute freedom. Whatever it was summoned something special: my deep desire to create, born on a breeze. That’s how I got my wings as Artist Adriana Jay.

That electric moment would help me fuse the many loves of my life – travel, painting, my femininity – into what I do now. I proudly declare: I’m an Ecuadorian artist dedicated to painting women of all backgrounds traveling the world. I create to celebrate diversity, courage and the spirit of adventure seekers.

Has it been a smooth road?
Stepping into myself as an artist wasn’t easy. In many ways, it was like being that little girl in my mother’s closet all over again: warmed by the recognition of a cozy and familiar place but afraid of the dark corners.

I had to confront my anxiety, which is something I’ve struggled with all my life and part of the reason why my mom encouraged me to express myself in the first place. When I started painting again in 2014, it took me a year to even introduce myself as an artist. When asked what I do, I was reticent: “I sort of paint sometimes.” I often downplayed my work by saying things like “I have a little mural” or that I was participating in a “small showcase.”

Truthfully, I still struggle with this occasionally but having a solid support system has really been pivotal. The experience of blossoming into an artist has also forced me to fight other demons along the way, and it’s shown me how strong I really am.

Anxiety can sometimes manifest as a deep desire to control with a tendency for perfectionism; painting has taught me to find joy and beauty in the fluid, the unexpected, the mistakes. It’s my therapy.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My art tells stories about the experiences and expectations of women—particularly women of color—as they explore the world. On my canvases, you’ll find confessions of wanderlust, records of discovery, and hopes of adventures waiting to happen as these solo female travelers journey through gorgeous destinations—real, aspirational, or metaphorical.

My subjects are always real women who I’ve met or who have inspired me in real life. As a result, my work is imbued with a deep admiration for these ladies who break through narrow and limiting beliefs surrounding gender roles, class and privilege to remind us that the world is their playground.

I firmly believe that travel is for everyone—the mixed-race, the children of immigrants, the non-English speakers, the plus-sized, the LGBTQ, the 99%—and I choose to paint women because I’m exploring my own femininity alongside my globetrotting sisters.

Tell us about your favorite and least favorites things about our city.
I love how we celebrate different cultures, give artists an ever-growing platform, treat each other like one big family (especially during hurricanes or when we find fellow Miamians abroad), and offer the world our endless supply of cafecitos and croquetas.

What would make Miami a true paradise is reverence for green spaces: urban planning that supports and protects our precious natural resources while promoting safety for pedestrians and cyclists. When I’m not painting, I’m recharging in nature or exploring the 305’s neighborhood gems on my bike. Our city is special, and I wish we were doing more to keep it green and accessible to all.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.adrianajay.com
  • Email: ArtistAdrianaJay@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @ArtistAdrianaJay

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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