In her youth, Kyah was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder alongside a multitude of comorbid diagnoses. This came with a specific set of academic, social, and behavioral challenges throughout time, very much so integrated with uncertain predictions about her success in the trials and tribulations of life: college graduation, friendships, romantic relationships, or a vibrant professional career. While these challenges presented themselves aggressively over the years, Kyah’s biggest catharsis revealed itself to her just two years into her life. Art-making in the form of “Kyah’s swirls” swept through the imagination of the computer paper and crayons given to her first at Madonna House Women’s Shelter in Quincy, IL.
Kyah includes many themes from “Kyah’s Swirls” often used to self-soothe as a child, age 2+. This phenomenon can be seen influencing all of her current work as she plays with form, curvature, color, texture, and line as subject matter.
Kyah Probst, now 22, has grown into a successful multi-disciplinary artist, author, and college senior based in Madison, WI. She has grown in many other ways, too. Her oftentimes rapid upward mobility and personal growth while she navigates her identity (which outwardly repudiates typical conceptions of autistic adults) influences her art tremendously. Given all her seasons of change, her art is deeply entrenched in the ideas of transformation, exploration, and self reflection, and often focuses on the process of line, texture, shape, and color as soulful subject matter. And thus, Kyah is aligned with her artwork completely.
Around the age of 15, Kyah had reached the culmination of her struggles academically and socially. She frequently felt misunderstood, ostracized, and underachieving in her every day life. This was a key turning point. Kyah turned unabashedly towards art-making with open arms, and further developed her highly unique methods of processing graphic, mixed-media artwork:
While there’s no one way to describe her process, Kyah often uses a medley of traditional mediums (watercolor, acrylic, ink, oil pastel), layers several paintings on top of each other in Adobe Creative Suite, and surgically adds features from a variety of work. Eventually, these designs become meld into intricate, digitally altered works of art to be printed on a variety of media.
In 2018, she was named one of 15 Emerging Young Artists through VSA and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C where her print “Child Rearing” went on a year-long, nationally touring exhibit. Additionally, Kyah’s artwork has been featured in the Department of Education (2016) for the “Yo Soy…Je suis…I am” international exhibit and the 2020 Synergy exhibit in Milwaukee. Pieces from Kyah’s most successful collection of artwork—the “Pareidolia Collection”—can be found HERE.
Kyah’s most current project is a hand-illustrated, interactive adult coloring book called “Body Space: The Mind and Body Adult Coloring Book.” Featuring 31 designs for use over 3 months, each page includes a diverse array of nature-themed characters, one “emotive color key,” one emotional journal, and access to a four-track, guided meditation. The book is meant to be a self-soothing “visual-emotional journal,” created during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project gets to the roots of her ideas about the interplay between art-making and self-reflection, but this time invites others to utilize her work to perpetuate transformation in their own lives. Set to release in September 2021. You can read more about the Body Space technique, view the Body Space trailer, and read more about Kyah’s customer discovery and Canvas Business Model HERE.
Kyah’s secondary business adventure happens on Redbubble.com, where visitors can purchase many of Kyah’s original designs in the form of home decor, fashion, tech gear, and stationery. To find out more visit Redbubble” on kyahprobst.com.
Outside of her professional art ventures, Kyah has been shooting dSLR photography since age ten. Kyah has photographed catalogues for Kokoro—a Roman boutique in Trastevere, Italy—events such as UW-Milkwaukee’s 2019 TEDx conference, the menu for Sweetie Cup Thai Cafe in St. Louis, and countless seniors and families. Examples of her hobbyist work can be found under the “photography” tab at kyahprobst.com.
Kyah’s other bodies of work encompass an eclectic body of writing, traveling, and education. Her most recent writings include a project known as “A Homeschool Exploration“—where she has taken half a dozen interviews from homeschoolers across St. Louis and turned them into a series of descriptive essays—in order to help readers understand the true eclectic nature and practices of homeschooling in Missouri. In “The Travel Masterpost,” you can find all of Kyah’s traveling experiences consolidated into one masterpost.
Speaking and Engagement
Kyah Probst, Emerging Young Artists Program Reception. The John F. Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. 2018.
Kyah Probst, speaking with Yousef Al Otaiba (يوسف العتيبة) Current UAE Ambassador to the United States and Minister Of State. Global Ties U.S. Youth Ambassador Program Reception. Washington D.C. 2021.
Kyah Probst, Campus Correspondent Program National Training. Poynter Institute for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, FL, 2020.
Kyah is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying Community Education and Engagement. She is extremely passionate about non-profit management, nontraditional education, cooperative living and business development, community organizing, art education integration, voter advocacy, media literacy, digital change-making, and community service. She was most recently a Youth Ambassador to the USA Pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai, where she met with dignitaries and world leaders, led a variety of cultural projects, and engaged in people-to-people diplomacy with thousands of visitors to the USA Pavilion each day. You can view Kyah’s LinkedIn to read her Resume, working updates, and featured articles.
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