Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Avigail Hayoun and I live in Be’er Sheva, Israel. Originally from Dallas, Texas, my family and I made aliyah to Israel last year to be closer to my husband’s parents. It has always been a desire of mine to live in Israel. I travelled here several times as a young(er) adult and felt completely connected to the land and the people. I stayed longer on one of my trips to go to ulpan and start learning Hebrew and that learning experience drew me even closer to Judaism, Israel, and the Jewish people. I was not born Jewish but completed an orthodox conversion in my early twenties. My maternal grandmother instilled a deep love and respect for Judaism in me from a very young age, teaching me about the Jewish holidays and traditions. I believe this spark she shared with me came from her Jewish father who married a Christian woman. I have carried that spark throughout my life and pursued Judaism body and soul. The journey has just begun, but that journey has inspired a deep desire to be constantly learning about Judaism. The unlimited knowledge that awaits me in every book, shiur, or dvar Torah is what keeps the spark of inspiration glowing inside me. That spark inspired me to create art and beginning sharing it with the world. Each one of us has a story to tell and my art is the best way for me to tell mine.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I have always been a creator. I love to write short stories and poetry. Sketching and water colors are a hobby of mine that I have more recently been pursuing and sharing with people. I don’t consider myself an artist as much as I consider myself a “dabbler”, I go where my creativity takes me, and my creativity doesn’t keep me under one label. I have a great respect for “real” artists who have a skill they use to create beautiful pieces that inspire. My art may not be for everyone, but it is one hundred percent a product of my creative mind.
What is your specialty?
Recently I have focused on pencil sketching and water colors, but the physical design of my art is just one part of the project. A lot of thought and research goes into my designs, I love to write, so each design has its own meaning and explanation which I write about on my website.
How and where do you work?
I create mostly when I am at home. I am usually inspired to create when I’m alone and let my thoughts wander, I’m too easily distracted in group settings. My designs usually come to me as a sentence or are inspired by something I have read, which I turn into a simple pencil sketch. I usually take the pencil sketch and redraw a more detailed, larger version which I will either add color to with water colors or on my computer using a paint program.
What is the most indispensable item in your studio?
It is difficult to start a design in color or start one digitally, so good paper and quality pencils are the beginning of all my designs and are truly indispensable.
Where do you take your inspiration? Are you pursuing any themes?
I’m currently sharing my Mazalot (Hebrew Zodiac) collection on my website. I did extensive research on the topic and was so inspired by my findings. If you haven’t read about the Mazalot or the Jewish thinking behind it, I encourage you to read a few of my posts about it. My art is not strictly Judaica themed; I do have other collections of animals and nature that I will be sharing in the future.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on two projects: one is inspired by the concept in the Sefer Yetsirah of HaShem creating the world from the Aleph Bet. The other project is called “More Women” inspired by my own experience as a woman who desires to do many things, but sometimes finds myself limited by social constructs or common threats to women. This project focuses on more women doing more things in the world to make our presence and our safety a standard around the world.
What iare your favourite items in your current collection?
I am an Ariye Leo mazal by birth and a Betula Virgo spiritually after my conversion, coincidentally those are two of my favourite designs in my Mazalot collection.
How do you know when a piece is finished?
A piece is finished when it is whole or appears complete. Once a design is fully sketched and coloured, I never go back and make changes or edits to the design or colours. I believe that my art is pure result of my creativity rather than my reason and that as it “came out” is how it was meant to be.
Do you do bespoke work?
I would love to in the future! I am open to suggestions and ideas; I love the idea of collaborating!
What was the first artwork you ever sold?
Years ago, I created an acrylic canvas of the Birkat HaCohenim and a supportive friend purchased it with encouragement to keep creating.
Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?
The Mazalot has been a very enjoyable collection to create, it pushed me to learn something new, research the subject to learn the truth, and then let that experience influence a collection of designs. The process was very enjoyable!
What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?
Sharing my art publicly is how I encourage myself to keep creating. If I keep my art to myself, the joy of creating isn’t as strong. I wanted to share my art with people so they could have a piece of it in their home, but I didn’t want to contribute to an already overly saturated printed-art products industry so I offer my art on organic cotton t-shirts for all ages as well as bamboo paper prints, both products ship plastic free via low-emission worldwide shipping. I never wanted my art to cause more waste or damage to this beautiful world of ours, so a sustainable store was the only option for me from day one.
Where can we find your work?
My website is www.poppyhayoundesigns.com, my etsy shop is called Poppy Hayoun Designs (https://www.etsy.com/il-en/shop/PoppyHayounDesigns) and my Instagram account is @poppyhayoundesigns.