Monet Alyssa’s sparkly illustrations are inspired by mythology, philosophy and our toxic relationship with tech
The New York-based illustrator draws references from our modern world.
- Ayla Angelos
- 2 March 2022
Just one look at Monet Alyssa’s vibrant artworks and you instantly get a feel for her inspirations – women, nature and fashion. In her digital pieces, you’ll see strong and empowered women decorated amongst detailed, sparkly embellishments of fauna, pearl drops and jewels. Everything is vibrant, positive and lavished in colour. And besides the more obvious influences, she also references the aesthetic cadences from surrealism and Afrofuturism. “I naturally lean towards an Art Nouveau type of style overall,” she tells It’s Nice That. In her newer works, all of this meshes coherently with her interests in conceptual ideas, mythology, philosophy and our relationship with tech.
Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Monet was always artistically inclined. So much so that she decided to study Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and she’s been taking on commissions ever since. After a short stint in tattooing, Monet returned once again to the medium of illustration to both establish herself as an artist and focus on her growth. This new body of work, then, is her most accomplished– and most mature – to date; she’ll only take on work that brings the best out of her and helps with her development as an illustrator. Working in her favour entirely, Monet has collaborated with the likes of Adult Swim, Albright Knox, Harper Collins Publishing, Macmillan Publishing and Sarah Simone.
While making her pieces, Monet begins with sketches and will often craft up some moodboards to organise her thoughts – a key stage for deciphering the colour palettes and subject matter. “I have a morning routine,” she explains. “It helps me focus and keep myself on task as a freelancer as I often working out of my studio at home.” Music plays a big part of this, which tends be blaring in the background as she draws. “That’s when I’m most effective and in tune with myself,” she shares. Typically, a piece takes around 70 hours to complete, which includes the conceptualisation. As a result, she has to stay efficient and will often give herself around eight to ten hours a day of drawing time.
Monet is clearly doing something right, and her latest works are an apt example of this. Mindless, for example, is a personal piece originally made for Inktober, a yearly event in October that sees artists come together to draw one ink drawing a day for the month. Prompted with the brief of “Mindless”, Monet explains that, at the time, she was in a period of reflection. “Most people around me were so over consumed by their phones and social media, to the point where they weren’t being present or aware of their surroundings – myself included sometimes.” Subsequently the piece looks at the world’s reliance on technology, more specifically the palm-sized computer we attach to our hands for most waking hours. “I’m someone who can’t engage too much online because it’s draining and inhibits me as an artist creatively, so I made this piece to show that, in this toxic relationship with our phones, we are missing out and often exuding energy on something that won’t make us happy in the long term.”
The artist’s ethos is paramount: she wants to make positive work that adds something good into the world. Whether it’s a critique on modern day habits, or empowering women to show their strength and resilience; whatever she puts her mind towards, it will always be a topic she stands by.
Monet Alyssa: Bleu (Copyright © Monet Alyssa 2022)
About the Author
Ayla is currently covering Jenny as It’s Nice That’s online editor. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.