Ayiela Maina tells RFLX 5280 how she came to find the technicolor light at the end of the tunnel.
Tactful, confident, and exceptionally polite, 22-year-old Anime artist, Ayiela Maina made it so easy to exchange in conversation. When we met briefly during a coffee rush at Starbucks, she asked me a lot of questions about myself, which really caught me off guard. She seemed genuinely interested in my stories and how I came to be in that crowded coffee-house on a Monday afternoon. She smiled with every word and spoke with an excited conviction.
She told me about the dark she’s been through on the way to her “happy place”. But, instead of feeling heavy after hearing about her own gothic novel, I felt uplifted and encouraged to pursue my own dreams and work to achieve my own goals, in spite of my own demons.
What inspired you to become an anime artist?
“What really stuck out, to me, was how beautiful and how vibrant the details of the art was, even though back in the day, all we had was was 32-bit technology. However, what really got to me into making art, seriously, was Dragonball Z. When I was younger (maybe around 3rd grade) my whole life revolved around Dragonball Z. That was when I decided that I wanted to make comics. My first was called Dreamland.”
Do you study that particular kind of art in college?
“I did go to school for art when I was a freshman and then sophomore year, but then I kinda thought that maybe I wouldn’t be able to make a career out of my art. So, I actually ended up switching to Psychology, because I was interested in that as well. I’ve always struggled with depression, especially at a young age. and, at one point, I hit rock bottom and attempted suicide. After that, I don’t know, something changed that day when I woke up in the hospital. When it came down to it, I thought, “Man, I REALLY want to be an artist. Screw it if I make money or not, I wanna be true to myself. So I’m currently figuring out if I want to stay at UCD [University of Colorado at Denver] or transfer to another school or if I even want to still be in school at all!”