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Two Artists Take Viewers on Very Different Journeys

Written By Vanessa Reyes
March 13, 2024 at 2:40 PM

Mural unveiling, Egypt Hagan with Maxence Doytier, art curator at Twenty6North Productions. Photo courtesy of Egypt Hagan.

Artists tell stories without words and some, like Egypt Hagan, bring people’s journeys to canvas while others, like Naomi Haverland, like to mix creativity with fiction.

Hagan’s penchant for color aims to tell the stories of people who have overcome struggles and who, like her, have become stronger for it.

“It could be something within the eyes or a look the person is giving,” says Hagan, “I look for certain features or images that feel strong (and) also relate to the journey of me struggling (and) that represent courage.”

Hagan, 33, moved from her native Los Angeles to Brooklyn, New York when she was 21years old. After a year of studying art and photography at California State University of Northridge, she realized the structure of classes wasn’t for her and took the leap in order to pursue her art and make connections.

Alone and with only about $600 in the bank, Hagan ended up living with friends.

“I didn’t realize that I really needed to be stable financially before I made that move, so I was struggling a lot making things happen for myself and I think that struggle allowed me to find ideas, work harder and focus on certain things that I would like to accomplish for myself,” says Hagan. “It was a struggle, but it was a beautiful journey for sure.”

On her instagram @graffitiegypt, Hagan displays her big scale murals on sides of walls using colors like turquoise, gold (which she says, emphasizes how important and noble the main subject is) and black to create the faces that inspire her.

Like her inspirations, artists Frida Kahlo and Egon Schiele, Hagan has mastered the art of unapologetically translating deeply personal portraits.


Completed AOTA mural “What May Seem Like An Eternity”. Photo courtesy of Egypt Hagan.

“I love creating people because we all have a unique story to tell and we all have different journeys, very inspiring journeys so I really like to put that in my art,” says Hagan.

While Hagan depicts people’s journey, Haverland likes to take people on a journey, an anamorphic one. Her work blurs the lines of what’s real and what’s not through a 3D effect that gives viewers an interactive experience.

“My goal usually is to create something fun that will make people smile not typically going for something with a lot of deep meaning or symbolism or anything like that,” says Haverland. “With the optical illusion I feel like I have to do something really straight forward and simple because the illusion is already asking the audience to see things from a very specific vantage point.”

3D Street painting created by Naomi Haverland in 2024 at the AOTA Festival in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Photo courtesy of Naomi Haverland.

Haverland points out that this kind of work is mainly appreciated from a specific point of view, otherwise it just looks like a highly distorted image, so she places two feet on which viewers can stand to see the 3D effect it is meant to give.

“Sometimes people will take a picture from the wrong point of view and post it, which is interesting to see because you can see all the distortion, it’s like really stretched out, but it won’t have that 3D effect,” says Haverland. “Basically, it’s reversing perspective because perspective as it recedes gets smaller.”

Haverland, 42, got into chalk art 15 years ago in her native Denver, but for the first seven years she was creating traditional 2D chalk art and exhibiting at places like the Denver Chalk Art Festival. It wasn’t until she observed other artists doing 3D and seeing how interactive it was that she decided to switch.

3D Street painting created by Naomi Haverland in 2023 in Hazen, ND. Photo courtesy of Naomi Haverland.

“I love to see the (the public’s) own creativity come out as they come up with different ways to pose with the art for photo ops,” says Haverland, now a Cape Canaveral resident.

This past January, both Hagan and Haverland exhibited at the Avenue of the Arts Festival in Fort Lauderdale, which was produced by Twenty6North Productions, a collective that provides multifaceted local and international artists opportunities to work with different brands and businesses.

3D Street painting created by Naomi Haverland in 2023 in Germany. Photo courtesy of Naomi Haverland.

“(Haverland’s) quality of work can be appreciated by all, young and old, (and Hagan’s) subject choice is always so captivating and her intent focus on portraits for story telling is timeless,” says Maxence Doytier, owner and chief public art curator for Twenty6North.

Doytier says that both artists will be returning to the AOTA Festival because it is artists like them, who create public works with unbound creativity, that serve as inspiration to our communities.

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music and more. Don’t miss a story at www.artburstmiami.com.

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