Art opens doors for Aliyah Harvey

Artist Aliyah 'Yah Yah' Harvey is spinning her art into gold. Photo courtesy Aliyah Harvey -
Artist Aliyah 'Yah Yah' Harvey is spinning her art into gold. Photo courtesy Aliyah Harvey -

The notion of the “starving artist” has never been an option for Aliyah “Yah Yah” Harvey.

The 26-year-old was born with an artistic gift that she is using to spin her art supplies into gold – well at least enough for her to be comfortable.

“It was a struggle in the beginning. When I had just started taking my abilities seriously I was doing administrative work, which wasn’t doing anything for me financially. But I stuck it out while working on my craft until I could work on it full time.

"The universe has a way of working thing out for you, because once I made that leap of faith, doors started to open for me.”

The self-taught full-time artist has been commissioned to do work for people locally, regionally and internationally – all from the comfort of her Claxton Bay home. And when the opportunity arises, she takes her supplies and skills to other venues to host sip and paint events.

She told WMN when she decided to make her bold move into the business of art in her early 20s she never expected things to take off as quickly as they have.

“I was always artistically inclined, but before this it was just a hobby to pass time when I got bored. I didn’t see the potential until I actually picked it up and started to network, use social media to market my work and make connections. Once people discovered my talent the work started coming in.”

Since then, among her most notable creations is her illustration of the Colours of Dance colouring book for the Le Rythma Dance Institute, in San Fernando; the sale of a wall mural at the Cousoumeh Festival in Siparia; and portraits of footballer Stern John and musician Keishaun Julien.

She has also shipped pieces to customers in Charlotte, Boston and Brooklyn in the US.

She said she is especially proud of the mural – a collage painting of icons such as Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley – which was requested by the festival organisers on short notice and took her one week to complete.

It was purchased by Machel Montano’s band manager.

Harvey said while she doesn’t limit herself to any one medium, she works primarily with oils, into which she sometimes tries to incorporate charcoal and acrylics. And she certainly doesn’t allow her lack of formal training in visual arts to rein in her creativity.

“I frequently visit the university of YouTube to look for techniques and hacks,” she said with a laugh.

And although she has not yet had her work on display in any art galleries, it is on her check list.

“The goal is to have solo exhibit where I can display all of my pieces, sell some and donate a few to charity. Also, I intend to post them on my website, which is currently under construction. But as far as any other plans are concerned, I’m at a point right now where I just want to do exactly what I’m doing right now.

"My passion about the journey has been consistent and I believe that passion will eventually take me to my destiny.”

Harvey told WMN art is such a huge part of her life that it has spilled over into just about everything else she does.

“Creativity just flows through me. Even when I do normal things I like to take it to a whole new level. I love to ride bikes and right now I’m learning how to do wheelies. If I go fishing, I want to cook it on the spot. If I’m in the kitchen, I like trying new recipes and doing food art. It’s just how I am.”

She encourages young people to see the potential in themselves, “especially when no one else is seeing it.”

“The universe works in such a way where what you put into it will come back to you. Even when it doesn’t seem sustainable, dare to follow your passion. I am living proof that you can make a sustainable living doing what you love to do, full time.

Follow Aliyah “Yah Yah” Harvey on Instagram @ yahyaharts

Tik Tok: yahyah_tt

Facebook: Yah Yah Art Designs

YouTube: Yah Yah Arts.


"Art opens doors for Aliyah Harvey"

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