AYA Eyewear, a conscious brand that has long supported First Nations artists and their communities, released two new styles, the Jax and Paxton featuring artwork by Ts’mysen artist Phil Gray. These styles integrate metal inlay, CNC, and digital print technology to produce striking pieces of art. The challenges of supply chain delays and COVID have not held AYA Optical back from creating their most innovative and complex production to date. After many months of prototyping and overcoming issues related to supply chain delays, COVID, and even climate-related challenges, Jax and Paxton launch online today.
Says AYA Optical creator Carla D’Angelo “My challenge is to work closely with the artist to help bring their vision and stories to life. It isn’t always easy, but the greatest satisfaction comes for me when I can see that they are thrilled with the final product of our collaboration. Jax and Paxton have really pushed the idea of art integration into eyewear beyond anything I have seen to date”
When researching Phil’s work, D’Angelo was particularly struck by a custom piece he did with TELUS Gardens in conjunction with Douglas Reynolds Gallery in Vancouver. The beauty and fluidness of the design really resonated with her and Phil and D’Angelo discussed how they could bring that look into their eyewear collaboration, combining metal inlay, print, and CNC technology.
About Phil Gray
Phil Gray is an artist from the Ts’msyen and Cree Nations. Born and raised in Vancouver, Phil was able to interact with and learn from many accomplished artists throughout his formative years. Phil’s work focuses on the traditional Ts’msyen style of carving and formline design, a hereditary right passed down through his mother. His lifelong goals have been to help raise the profile of Ts’msyen art, and to create art for traditional use to enrich connections with his people and heritage. Phil enjoys displaying his artwork via non-traditional items and locations as a creative way to share Ts’msyen art with a broader audience. His work can be found in private collections around the world, in various galleries and museums across North America, on organizational logos, and on people’s bodies in the form of tattoos. In 2014, Gray was awarded a British Columbia Creative Achievement Award in Aboriginal Art by the Government of British Columbia.
About AYA Optical
AYA Optical was founded in 2003 with a vision to feature original artwork created by renowned First Nations artists, such as Corrine Hunt, Donald Chretien, Phil Gray, and Kathy Marianito. While the relationship with those artists continues to flourish, AYA has many other new collaborations simultaneously in progress.
AYA Optical successfully blends for-profit entrepreneurship with philanthropy. The brand has always invested back into indigenous communities and has contributed over $200,000 to initiatives such as helping at-risk kids in Northern communities start their day with a healthy breakfast, scholarship programs for indigenous women, and eyewear donations to elders and communities in need.
The brand is known for its great styling, focus on details, quality craftsmanship, and philanthropic efforts. AYA Optical has built a reputation for producing exceptional eyewear crafted from high-quality acetates and metals.