Artist Xyleina Abano Expresses How Her Art Boosted Her Confidence

Xyleina Abano

Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.

Hi, I’m Xyleina! Pronounced as Sa-lay-na. I’m a self-taught mixed media visual artist. My aesthetic is dark and quirky. I have a love for bringing pop icons to the dark side. I execute this by using different mediums from acrylic paint and colored pencils to oil pastels and more to achieve a piece. I always wear black, I love horror movies, I hate small talk, I’m always grateful for the small things and I love dark humor.

What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?

All artists are somewhat the same yet different in their own way. If that makes sense. Artists inspire other artists so you’ll see that inspiration through the artist’s work. I’m known to combine colors that might contradict each other and harmonize it while incorporating the drip and splatter technique, inspired by Jackson Pollock, but also having a subject as the focal point in the piece. Add some vibrant colors, zombify it, perhaps add a quote, and bam! That’s my style. A colorful, dark, and quirky, graffiti-esque piece.

Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment? 

I’ve been doing art, with the encouragement of my mother, since I was a child. I wrote stories and created books by stapling a bunch of paper together, and I’d illustrate what was depicted in my stories. It went on like that for years until I was in my teens when it somehow fell off. It wasn’t until the 2020 pandemic where I had an itch to create again. I made some pieces and posted it on social media and didn’t anticipate the positive attention it got. It was overwhelming and for the first time, I was proud of my work as I struggled in the past with self-hatred of my own art.

This is when I knew that I should continue on and when I had my very first sale, that was the ‘crème de la crème’ but when I had my second sale, that’s when the nail hit the coffin. That’s how I knew that this was much bigger than I realized. THAT was the pinnacle moment.

The first person I told or should I say, ‘showed’ was my husband. We’ve been together for 8 years and surprisingly, it was the first time he had ever seen me draw. Actually, it was the first time ANYONE had seen me draw as an adult. My husband was absolutely blown away, he had no idea I could produce these creations and he’s been a big fan ever since. In fact, there were some pieces I’ve sold which made him quite sad because he wanted to keep them for himself. Since that moment I’ve gained recognition. My life is so much brighter! My mental health has improved. I’ve gained more confidence in myself and my art, I now have a following of repeat art collectors, and a great number of my pieces have gone viral.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge by far is the self loathing of my own art. It’s what made me stop creating years ago as I was very discouraged when I noticed how different and novice my art was compared to others. I don’t think my style gets as much admiration although I have to remind myself that my art won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and It won’t be perfect and I have to be comfortable and confident knowing that. Art to me, is self therapy. Drawing and painting those emotions onto something, is releasing an explosion of energy, it’s like dopamine. I create for myself and I like it, it makes me feel alive and apparently others like it too so why stop now?

If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level…who would those 3 people be?

Ooh, this is difficult. Tim Burton, as I’ve always been a fan of his vision, stories and characters. The messages he expresses through his work, embracing the weirdos and the underdogs. He’s a great influence to my work and I admire his individualistic perspective.

Second would be Guillermo Del Toro. I share his love of monsters and the imagery he brings to them. I respect how he is able to bring them to life and humanize them as a mirror to society. He shows us that we can identify with them and that sometimes the real monsters we need to watch out for are the humankind.

Third would be Ed Harrington as his illustrations always rise to the occasion of uncontrollable laughter. Harrington takes our favorite pop culture characters and reveals their secret life. Brilliant!!

List the direct links/URL to your social media profiles so people can follow you:

Bill Choudhry
Bill Choudhry
Bill Choudhry is an experienced cold outreach and outbound sales professional. His approach is non-salesy, consultative, and authentic. He enjoys long walks at the park, frisbee football, and baking magical brownies for his marketing friends.


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