by Donna K. Fitch, Managing Editor

[Editor’s Note: Maya Jeffcoat is a high school student at Alabama School of Fine Arts.]

Donna: I was very taken with your artwork that we had around Easter hanging up in the foyer [at Crosscreek Baptist Church, Pelham, Alabama]. If you could talk about the process of it and just how it came to be, and what it stands for.

Read more: Interview with Maya Jeffcoat

Maya: I guess I should start with the assignment that I was given. So, we were told to use a pair of complementary colors to show a sort of relationship between two items. So, I chose purple and yellow, obviously as my complementary color pair. And then I went out to my backyard and took pictures of two of my mom’s plants, one of them was kind of like on the verge of death and the other one was thriving. So I had it. I had the living one, sort of reaching down with its vines to the one that was dying and the message of that was supposed to be like, it was giving its life to the dying one.

Donna: Had you thought about that idea before? Or did you just walk around and see the plants? I know sometimes it’s hard to explain artistic inspiration.

Maya: When we were being told the assignment in class, I immediately had an idea of doing something with plants like that, so that it was just like a matter of picking which ones I was going to use.

Donna: What was the idea behind hanging it up or sharing it with everyone at Easter. Was that significant? Did you feel that the Spirit was working through you? Or how did you—I don’t want to put words in your mouth but how did you feel about that whole aspect of it?

Maya: So, like with the message behind the painting, I sort of felt like it just went with the message of God with giving to others. And sort of, like, sacrificing yourself for others who are less… What’s the word? Um, less privileged or less capable than you are, helping out whoever you can.

Donna: You know, we have a lot of artwork now in the whole building, and that’s not always the usual thing. How do you feel about having artwork in church? Do you think it can inspire people, or make them feel differently, or do you have any thoughts on that?

Maya: I think there are different artists that really just like anything that they do even if they don’t have a certain meaning behind a piece they’re making, they just always put their emotion to it. And I think that’s the kind of art that I enjoy because I don’t even have to know the meaning behind it to feel something, even if it’s just a certain emotion. I like art like that. And I think that church is a good place for that.

Donna: Are there any other thoughts that you have about your piece of art or about art that you have coming up that you’re thinking about?

Maya: Well, my first assignment that I’ve gotten this year is supposed to be like a collage but instead of layering things on top, you are taking layers that you’re making and disrupting them to see the layers beneath. I’m excited about that and I have a lot of great ideas for that piece.

Donna: Thank you so much for talking with me.