HOW CAN ART CONTRIBUTE TO OUR SOCIETY? : INTERVIEW
C: What events/moments/experiences have refined your past perspective?
A: I have always viewed creating art as a mode of vital communication among people. It serves as a way to support specific groups of people and educate society in general. I experienced a very influential moment my sophomore year of college when I participated in the Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creativity (CURC) exhibition. I submitted two pieces that were very personal to me which pertained to my experience being a victim of rape and surviving in a society which does little to fight against rape culture. My work was accepted into the show--but with no real description of the true meaning behind the pieces. The wound was still fresh although it had happened years ago and I was not ready to share my experience with the public--but I still wanted to show my work. While I was walking around the exhibition viewing the other pieces that were accepted into the show, I stumbled upon another artist who had created work about her experience being raped. The artwork was very blatant, forward, and "out there for all to see". I was incredibly moved by her courage and strength to present her experience to the public. I instantly connected with her and told her my thoughts--and I hugged her. Art making is an amazing way to sort through trauma, but also a way to show others they are not alone. Art making is a way to build community, spread awareness, and provide support for those who need it most. My views have changed in regards to the fear of exposure--revealing the meaning and full intent of my work. I was fearful of sharing the meaning behind my work for a multiplicity of reasons, but I have since discovered that the CONNECTIONS that my experiences can build are what makes creating art worth while at all.
C: Do you make a connection between your personal historical events or experiences with the story you want to tell?
A: I absolutely do. The majority of my work is incredibly personal and pertains to different experiences and events that have occurred in my lifetime. Since starting college my work has become more blatantly personal, whereas in high school my intent was more hidden. My experiences are what make me most inspired and passionate to increase the volume of my artistic voice.
C: How do you utilize art to represent change?
A: Through my personal experiences, and studying the importance of social justice lessons in college--art is, in my opinion, one of the most impactful ways to promote change. In a previous blog post, I referenced a sculpture collection I created to spread awareness about the experiences of a person with anxiety and the effects of holistic versus medicated treatment approaches. Society views art as a pleasant viewing past-time. But creating artwork that has deeper meaning and promotes some kind of story or change is a clever way of forcing society to think about the way we live, how we treat one another and and how we treat ourselves.
C: How do these experiences influence your path of being an artist, and becoming an educator?
A: These experiences have strengthened my core values as an artist and a human being. I think being compassionate and empathetic towards other adults, and especially your students is vital in creating a safe classroom environment and more understanding + kind society. When I am an educator I will always encourage my students to create work that is personal and pertinent. In a previous art education course, my professor stressed the importance of projects following this idea--making work that means something to you and has some kind of purpose in the world. Beyond this, I always found making my work personal was a mode of coping, healing, and sorting through the events I experienced as a young adult. I think it is important to acknowledge art as a professional way of working as well as a way for individuals to find a sense of peace and freedom.
For my artwork this week I have included the two pieces I referenced which were exhibited in the CURC 2018 show. I am also including the collection which won an honorable mention for the art category of CURC 2019. There is an exponential amount of growth between the two entries as I gained confidence in my artistic voice and my role as an activist in society. Although I had the courage to put my physical artwork out there in 2018, I did not have the strength or confidence to promote my experience. In 2019, I participated in a CSU study for young adults experiencing anxiety and/or depression to test holistic approaches to healing. Through this experience I was inspired to create work that gave a voice to the voiceless, and a voice for myself as a person who has anxiety. My collection was awarded an honorable mention in the 2019 CSU CURC exhibition--and an individual piece from the collection, "Anxiety Trip(Tych)", was featured in the 2019 issue of Cicada Creative Magazine. I think in this world and especially as an educator it is important to be transparent, honest, and open. In the future I hope my students look at this work and feel strength and validation of their own identities, experiences, etc. in order to learn, grow, and develop their artistic voice and contribute kindness, empathy, and strength to our society.
I have since created an art instagram, December 2019, as well which included the 2018 art pieces--with their true artist statements and messages of intent. As today is National Women's Day, I commend the strength of all people who have been victims of assault and rape crimes. It is truly a horrible crime that should be paid more attention to by our legal system. I stand with you and fully validate your voice and experience.
For more details + documentation of my artworks created to accompany these blog posts, visit my instagram!