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The Rise of Shay The Surrealist

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

THC Spotlights is shining a light on creative technologists who are helping to solve problems in their community and doing it with maximum impact. This week we're shining a light on Shay the Surrealist, a digital artist and graphic designer who is making sure all her dreams come true!

For our first THC Spaces, we had the pleasure of sitting down with gregarious, up-beat and super talented digital artist and graphic designer Shaylin Wallace. Shay the Surrealist, her artist moniker, sat down with us to share her journey to becoming one of the best surrealists of our time.


At 23 years young, Shay is gracing the digital landscape by way of Wilmington, DE and has managed to build an impressive portfolio over a 10 year period with clients such as Adobe, AMC, Warner Bros and Netflix. She owes this in part to her unique approach to creating. It is a responsibility, one she honors and nurtures with her whole being. It's an approach that has brought and will continue to bring her much success.


Shay’s work caught our eye in April when she participated in the Netflix’s This is a Robbery NFT Auction. Netflix’s This Is a Robbery investigates possible suspects in America’s biggest Art Heist. In 1990, two men stole 13 works of art valued at $500M from a museum in Boston. They were never caught and the masterpieces were never recovered. The filmmakers commissioned 13 artists to reimagine the stolen artwork in a digital medium.


Shay was among the 13 artists selected, ultimately being challenged to recreate a stolen Rembrandt piece entitled “A Lady and Gentlemen in Black.” Shay's adaption was titled “A Twig and Bough in Black” and it sold for 1 ETH ($2,143.09 at the time) on Makersplace, a popular NFT marketplace for digital artists and creatives.


Specializing in creating surrealistic compositions by photo manipulation, Shay strives to elevate the ordinary and mundane. She loves to use objects such as trees, clouds, birds, flowers and smoke to symbolize growth, freedom and different emotions in her pieces. In our hour long conversation, Shay spoke to us about her personal growth and journey for creative freedom, boiling it down to responsibility and work ethic. She referenced how as an artist she consistently juggles the MANY tasks of entrepreneurship by being disciplined in habits that facilitate her growth as a full-time artist.


Habits like following through on building a personal brand and dedicating time to becoming her own PR team. Shay has grown her following on social media over a slow and steady period of time by posting her work every day. She attributes her success to keeping it simple, following through, and having full belief in herself. Shay also stressed the importance of investing in yourself and always pushing the boundaries of your artistry as fundamental.

"You have to constantly pour into your own cup and do the work to achieve success, it does not happen overnight. Success is actually a choice. You have to cut the self sabotage chatter and continue to hone in on your craft."

There are many conversations around the topic of imposter syndrome in the art world and not believing at times that you are good enough or worthy. Shay made it clear that she too experiences moments of self doubt. Her trick to overcoming imposter syndrome? Shay's a fan of a personal pep talk and shared that she talks herself out of critical and defeatist thought loops. A clear focus on her goals helps to shift things into perspective. Her advice: 'Cut the monkey chatter, set goals and get after executing them. And don't be afraid to cuss

yourself out if you get to ragging on yourself too hard!'


Shay definitely had us laughing the entire session! It was fun getting a chance to chop it up with Shay to share a little about her journey as a digital artist, the responsibility and discipline it takes to maintain sustainability as a full time artist.


Her most recent projects included creating the artwork for rapper Cordae's first drop on the OneOf marketplace and partnering with luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz in an ad campaign. We look forward to watching her continue to ascend as in artist in the web 3 ecosystem and beyond.


Written by Brittany Wallace

Edited by Naomi Arroyo




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