A photo of the artist wearing a respirator, face shield, and chemical resistant coveralls


I am a mixed media artist telling personal stories through material representation rather than words. I originally wanted to be a writer, but struggled with verbal narrative. I found my voice once I began substituting the physical for the verbal, switching to visual forms of artistic expression.

Memories and experiences, bolstered by items from a material archive I’ve been accumulating since childhood, are the genesis of my work. I sketch out abstract, minimalist representations of this nebulous substance, using them as blueprints for creating objects embodying the original memory. Most of my artwork involves multiple components or collections of units all produced in a comparable manner. It’s as much about process as it is about content, the act of repetitively creating numerous similar items tied to my narrative functioning as a sense memory exercise. This triggers emotional recall, allowing me to vividly relive the feelings, emotions, and sensations tied to experiences as I create manifestations of them, keeping them alive, present, clear, and close for as long as the process continues.


Gaylia Wagner is a mixed media artist living and working in Washington, DC. She holds a BFA in Product Design with a minor in Art History from Parsons School of Design, and a BA in English Literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program awarded Gaylia grants for 2019 through 2022, and in 2020 she was a CAH-NEA Cares Act grantee. She is currently creating pieces for her first solo, scheduled to open at the end of September 2022.