Artist Spotlight: Danielle Da Costa

I was introduced to Danielle Da Costa and her amazing family almost ten years ago and I knew back then that she was someone special. Her infectious energy and spirit are contagious! Plus, anyone that loves beads and makes jewelry is usually someone I love! So who is Danielle DaCosta?

New Mexico based jewelry designer Danielle “Anya” Da Costa launched her company Anya Urban in 2009. Her vision was to create an eclectic blend of jewelry that infused her island roots of Jamaica, along with her southwestern surroundings where she lives. Anya is inspired by nature and beauty, and as a result her works mostly include stone, wood, and glass to handcraft exotic one-of-a-kind jewelry that are truly conversational. The pieces are modern, versatile and bold with brilliant color and texture combinations that exemplify her work.

Her pieces have been showcased in photo shoots throughout the United States, numerous magazines, online blogs and in Made Woman Magazine. The 29-year old is often seeing hiking throughout New Mexico as she collects inspiration for future collections. Anya is also an avid photographer, traveler and lover of the outdoors. Her website encompasses all things creative that have captured her heart and interest throughout the years. You can find her full collections on her website at www.AnyaUrban.com.

Have you always been creative?

Yes, as far back as I can remember I have been a creative being. In elementary school I loved drawing and painting with brilliant colors. As I entered middle school, I added different textures such as cotton, wood bark and stones to create art for my class projects. It was not until my father gifted me an “old school” Canon camera on my 11th Birthday and that gift sparked my interest into a new territory and world of the arts. One year later my mother and I engaged in a bonding activity in the form of a jewelry making class. I came away from that class with a high level of exhilaration, as I had found yet another platform in which to expand on my creativity. I felt that there was just not enough hours in the day to capture and create my inner feelings and inspirations through my expressions in art form. My journey into new territories grew and before I knew it my love for the arts turned into a full-time endeavor which subsequently evolved into my company – Anya Urban.

What are your favorite mediums to work in?

I have an obsession with photography, but I really dabble in a few art mediums. I thoroughly enjoy acrylics on canvas, resin on wood, and I just love the utilization of stones, wood and glass beads with an eclectic look for my jewelry designs. 

Are you self-taught?

Yes, I am self-taught. 

Where do you find inspiration? 

I find inspiration in places, people, nature…you name it. Spending most of my life in California and New Mexico and travelling across the USA, the Caribbean and Asia I have to say the beaches, the foods, the aromas, the vibrant colors, the sunrise and the sunsets are a huge inspiration in all of my art. When I am feeling like I want to create a painting or just get my hands dirty, I often look through my personal photos which have captured so many aspects of life. I find that people from other cultures to be resilient, encouraging and powerful and I draw from that energy when creating my pieces. 

How hard was it to get started and were there hurdles you had to overcome?

I did not find it hard starting out in terms of my motivational and inspirational level. However, challenges were experienced mostly at craft shows and markets when I displayed my work. Because I was so young my work was not taken seriously. It was through years of people walking by my booths saying “Oh, that’s amazing” or “Very interesting use of colors or textures” or “Who is the artist?”. My self-confidence started to wane until one day I said, Hello… I AM THE ARTIST and I am worthy and so are my pieces. I started to display my work with a high level of confidence and it was from that point onwards that I was sought out for events such as Santa Fe Fashion Show where models such as Jada…from ANTM would be captured in my jewelry. Upscale wineries in the region also reached out for my work to be a part of their arena. My idea and ethos to push Anya Urban over the years was I simply wanted to create art not only because I love it but because I wanted to share it. Like sharing my love. Today at 29 years of age I focus on a collective of everything I can do.

Has anything changed for you as an artist as the pandemic began?

My motivation to consistently create definitely took a toll during the pandemic. I was cooped up in my house and not spending enough time outside in nature which stymied my creative juices. I had to take some time to just be present in the moment and be mindful of how my feelings during this time could also be expressed in art form. Embracing my “new normal” I now enjoy staying home and I am blessed that I have 2 studio spaces in which to create. Right now, I am taking it one day at a time. 

Have you had to change marketing and selling strategies due to the pandemic?

Yes, my marketing is now mostly internet based. However, through the years I have built a reasonably solid client base therefore I also embark of mailing (those little cards) as a reminder for the upcoming events and holidays.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Four things, a) always believe in yourself, b) own your art c) each experience is life lesson, d) never give up.

What has been your biggest achievement? 

The growth of my art and jewelry collections over a 10 years span.

You can find my art (Jewelry and Painted pieces) at Presbyterian and UNM Hospital Gift Shops, my website www.AnyaUrban.com and soon to be on Etsy November 2020. 

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