Artist Profile: Olivia Nguyen (aka FiyaBomb)
Updated: Apr 2
CA: What made you first start drawing?
ON: I have always been an artist. I started when I was really young, I would say around two. I got into it and I would be sent off to art camps by my parents. When I was in school, I was really into the art classes. I got really good at it and kept practicing every single day. When I got to high school, I really got better. I received a scholarship to go to college because I did a piece on John Legend which is in a museum currently.
I feel like art in college is more discouraging because of how my professors and people in general expressed their feelings about art. They don’t feel art is striving and question how would I get a job after college. I was never really clear in what I was going to do when I was in school, I just wanted to be an artist. When I went to school, it was a time in my life where it felt like a wanderlust. You don’t really know what you are doing especially when it comes to creative people.
CA: What was your journey to becoming Fiyabomb? ON: After I graduated, I used to work at a nail salon. I think I have worked at three nail salons in total when I think about it. At the last nail salon I worked at, I was doing art every single day and I wanted people to know me for doing art. A follower tagged me for a contest Big Sean was doing for creative individuals. I decided to try it and I drew Big Sean every single day. I figured the only way to capture his attention was to do something very big. I decided to do a 6’ x 6’ canvas because rappers are pretty vain about themselves. The day I did the portrait of Big Sean, I posted it up and tagged him. I broadcasted it to be a big event live from my living room and told my followers to tag him. My friend, who went to college with me, knows Big Sean personally. She knows his publicist and sent the picture to him who eventually shows Big Sean. Big Sean went on my instagram and liked my picture. This was my goal from the beginning which was to get Big Sean to see my work and like it. I have worked with other well known clients because of that moment (people like Rick Ross and Swiss Beatz). So many endless nights and I put in a lot of money to get to this point.
CA: When it comes to art, what sparks a piece for you? ON: I do everything off of emotions. My feelings play a lot into how I come towards a piece. The only reason why I did celebrities was because my boyfriend and I were at a standstill in our relationship at the time. To keep me distracted, I would draw faces and kept drawing celebrities. When I feel anything in the moment, I portray it in my artwork. I used to do artwork which was literal and at some point I started to do artwork which makes people think. They feel from the piece and learn something from it.
CA: What helps you get in the mindset to draw something? ON: Every time I do artwork, I always listen to music. Music, I love music. I like deep music and I think artistic people are like that. We are deep people.
I don’t like to copy people’s work. Sometimes people come to me asking if I can imitate a certain person’s work. I think that is an insult to that artist and insult to myself. I don’t like looking at other people’s pictures I use my creativity to come up with my pictures. I will think of something on the spot or at least five minutes before I start it. When I did my Swizz Beatz piece, it has vinyls and CDs on it. This man is a Disc Jockey and a producer who is really into music. What is music? What does it strive off? It is instruments and I went to grab supplies to create this piece. I broke a Guitar Hero guitar and used other materials which cost some money but this was to create a great piece.
CA: Do you have any inspiration from art (heroes)? ON: I love Andy Warhol because I love vibrancy and color. Color can switch your mood instantly like making someone go from being sad to being happy. Another one is Basquiat, who worked alongside Warhol. I love controversial and disturbing stuff. Artwork is supposed to move you. I love a lot of old people who died like Van Gogh or Bob Ross. When I was 6, I would watch Bob every day on TV. I have always stated I wanted to be an artist since I was young. It has never changed even now. I love different types of art and I appreciate what they have taught me with their experiences and works.
CA: What do you feel in front of a blank canvas? ON: If I go into a room and you handed me a blank canvas, I look at it like I am going into a candy store. I feel like I am about to get to work and it is about to go down. I get really happy.
CA: What do you do to improve on your craft? Techniques? ON: I make sure I never do the same thing. I am a very open person and I am never set in my ways. I’ll draw for one week. The next week, I’ll do sculpture. Next week, I’ll draw on shirts. Next week, I’ll draw on canvas. Next week, I’ll draw on walls. I don’t ever want to be predictable. I want people to describe me as a master of art. She does everything and there is nothing she can’t do. I follow a lot of artists who can draw and after a while you get bored. I know how to draw with my mouth. I want people to know anything is possible. If you can do whatever you put your mind too. You just have to be really dedicated to it. Consistency is everything.
When I study my craft in art, I study my marketing. I love reading and I read a lot about power, self improvement, and marketing. I utilize my instagram to the best of my ability. I want people to say I do everything in art. She puts it on her food, her clothes, etc as opposed to be one way.
CA: What is the perfect piece of art to you if it exists? ON: There is no perfect piece of art to me. If it does exist in my mind, I have not yet made it. I am very confident to say art is not perfect. It is whatever you make of it. It is not coloring in between the lines, grade A school stuff like that. It is supposed to make you feel something and make you jump. Art that shocks you is the best.
CA: How do you describe your style? ON: Well Rounded
CA: Do you prefer pens, pencils, or a brush? ON: I love micron pens. They are really fine point pens and they are really expensive ($17 a pen). Since I started painted, I have fallen in love with that. I don’t really like pencil unless it is colored.
CA: Do you have a favorite piece? ON: My favorite pieces are my Swizz Beats, Drake, and Ellen Degeneres.
CA: What do you feel is the best quality in terms of art that you have right now? ON: I am not set in my ways with my art but I always want to be honest with my art. I want to make sure I am always telling the truth with it. Money is not the motivation for me. I am more for the exposure. I would rather be famous than successful. If I’m not making money but everyone knows me, I would be fine with that. I want to inspire people that you can come from nothing to make sure everyone knows what you want to do.
CA: What is fun and rewarding for you in regards to drawing? ON: I love when people love it. Somebody can come up to me and ask me: “Are you FiyaBomb? I want to let you know you inspire me and I go to your instagram every day for good vibes and positive feedback.” That is the best thing ever when you make someone smile from your work. Somebody could pay me 20,000 for a piece of mine, that would be cool. You could never replace someone’s appreciation for your work.
CA: Where do you want to take your career in art? ON: I want to be my own boss.
CA: How do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for? ON: I want it to be remembered it for it’s divine, fine creativity. To remember she was a woman and she did it. She made it her life and she was very positive. I want them to say the art was universal, realistic and out of the ordinary. I am not set in one way and my art is so different. It is endless.
CA: What is the best advice you can give someone with a strong desire to do art like yourself? ON: Don’t lie to yourself. Follow what you believe is right, your dreams, and your heart. You will use every inch and every dime to invest in what you do if you are that serious about it. Never work off of someone words but more than actions. A lot of people I hang out with say the phrase “I want” often. I am the kind of person who gets it done. Anybody that is into to art should be doing the same time. When I don’t do art, I felt withdrawal over not doing it. I felt like I wasn’t being productive. It doesn’t feel good. I feel sick. That is how you have to operate.