Yvonne Studevan on how her family history relates to her artwork:
I could just feel my heart jump out of my chest. … I didn’t like speaking in front of a group when I was a kid. … I didn’t like writing reports. And I didn’t like history. You know, having to go back and study all those people. I was like who wants to remember “1492 somebody sailed the ocean blue”—you know, all those type things. It was not until I could relate the history to me that I really started developing my passion.
It’s like, when I watched movies about the Alamo as a child, I never knew that any people who were African Americans served in the Texas Revolution until I was contacted by somebody from Texas to say that, you know your ancestor was killed by Santa Anna and inherited 2040 acres of land and we need you to verify this. And I was like verify this?! I don’t know anything about this! And so, I started reading through all the wills—because Richard Allen had a will, and all of his children had wills. And I had copies of them. So, I read through my great-great-great grandmother’s will, and she said the property in Texas is to be sold for the education of my grandchildren. That was the thing that they needed. The stories are out there, and nobody knows about them. And I’m just like, well, I can tell the story orally and I can draw the pictures and let people know. I guess that’s my new passion in life. Read More
Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz on the legacy of body and effort in her performance art:
So here I am at Skowhegan—all of a sudden—you can use your body to tell a story!? But I thought artists only drew on pad and paper? You’re not an artist if you’re not using, you know, canvas or paper. Wait a minute, you can do that? Awww shit! Here we go! And it felt like an avenue opened up… I was able to use my body to make other work.
When I was there I had a strange interaction with a woman—who ended up being, you know, I would consider her a friend—but this interaction around hand washing underwear and then hanging them in the shower. That’s something my mother taught us to do and then it ended up being like this weird class thing. And so then I started thinking. I started drawing connections— between the idea of washing your clothes by hand in the shower as a way to sort of always maintain kind of clean underwear because you don’t have much—to this connection to my mother. To her growing up without literacy. To her. To the stories that she told me about having to wash clothes in the river and having to go to the creek and gathering firewood. And cooking on stones... she grew up post-Depression Puerto Rico. Illiterate, in the hills, no money, poor. …All of a sudden, I was like ok-there’s a reason. The hand washing is bigger than just keeping a clean pair of panties. There’s a legacy. There’s a legacy of body and effort. … In some strange way, I’m trying to connect to this history, to this legacy. Read More
Karen Tauches on our relationship to our environment:
We’re no longer land-based people. We are spiritual. Like, we are virtual-based, now. We’re not making our culture based on where we live and the specific environment. We have a fantasy of what the nice environments are and all we have to do is project that on to where we live. We make images—that’s where windows come in, we have screens—and it doesn’t really matter what the environment’s really like. And that’s why development in the future would be so great for us. Because go to the moon— there’s absolutely no environment there. You build a white box, and you have projectors, and you just project whatever landscape you would like to live in. And you can see, we’re already kind of doing that inside our homes. Read More
Zipporah Camille Thompson on collecting source imagery:
I’m not to the place yet where I’m actually going to take my own photographs of landscapes—that’s something that I want to start doing. But what I do, is I start to kind of collect these found images—be it Google images or other sources on the internet—of different landscapes, different surfaces of the moon and then those become sources…points by which I can then abstract. …
So some of these (idea boards) then get a title and then they’re reference points for shows. Some of them do not have titles, and they just exist as boards...idea boards. And the beauty of it not being online…when you make them physical, it’s like this small, kind of curated, specifically for this thing‑ that I can then reference every day without having to find my laptop. …
One image then might inform, like one texture with another texture. And because I use so many different textures and layers, I think that that’s especially important— for me to see the connections. Read More
Amelia Briggs on Connecting with Viewers without Using Narrative:
These are simply very formal paintings. I have finally gotten to a point where I've just been able to own that in interviews or in conversations about my work. I used to try to like hide that or I would make up things that weren't necessarily true (laughs) because I would feel defensive about it. But I was finally just like, I need to be honest about that. Like these to me in a lot of ways are very formal; I'm not thinking about heavy issues necessarily when I'm making these. However, I will say then when you brought up narrative... I do think about that in my work. What am I trying to achieve with these paintings?
I really like to think of these objects that I'm making as something similar to like, you know, when you're shopping in a vintage store or something and you come across an old toy, or like baby blanket or something—maybe stained, it's like a beautiful object, it's just like kind of worn, it has all this history behind it—and this weird feeling of this connection to it, because maybe you recognize something about it from your own childhood. Or the color. Or it sparks this kind of nostalgia. But you don't know what that history is, and there's nothing clearly spelled out there. You know, there's not like a story with it...
I like to think of these as sparking some kind of recognition in the viewer.
Kelly Kristin Jones on her current series of “counter-memorials”:
I became really determined to find a way to make really beautiful, pastoral even, sorts of portraits—meditations of both persons and place, persons in place. . . . I think ultimately, it’s this interest in kind of flipping the script on urban landscape.
And this newer work takes into account a kind of cultural landscape, and memory and history. . . . For this show, all of the works—all of these “counter-memorials” is kind of what I call them—are at the site of Civil War historical markers that are all over the city. . . . The historical markers in Atlanta, in Georgia, absolutely talk about the Union soldiers, and there are some accountings of histories of federal troops, but Primarily it’s all from this Southern, Confederate perspective. And that’s what I find so interesting. Read More
Flora Rosefsky on teaching:
I think education is key. And I love teaching. It’s coming up with the right lesson. Once you come up with the right art lesson, the teacher should not be interfering with that student. In fact, I usually work on my own piece.
I don’t look at their work until the end. The worse thing a teacher can do is put their hand on that person’s hand and say "Oh no no no no, put it that way..." Hummm. And they’re all different... Or "Oh no, this is the way you have to draw the circle." Oh, really? Or "No, the face has to be a certain color." Really?
No. Read More
Veronica Kessenich on writing:
It’s a little magical to me. I am very shy; I don’t share it at all. Very few people have read my writing. So, I don’t know. I think it’s just you know like, you have to be very courageous I think as an artist, and generous as an artist to say “This is my internal musings and this is what I think about the world. And here, people! Consume!" … And you hope that your audience is generous with you, and accepting, and challenging… Read More
Chakura Kineard on her inspirations:
I remember I was in elementary, like in my little kindergarten class, maybe first grade—and we decided to have a carnival. Like ‘Okay, we’re going to have a special presentation! What is it? It’s a carnival!’ And then the kids got to take little cardboard boxes and decorate them with paint and glitter and did a little dance like they were in a parade. … I think those type of memories definitely fuel my art. Read More
Tori Tinsley on her background in art therapy:
It was really helpful to know from a personal standpoint, how best to care for my mom. Because I was working with people with severe psychiatric challenges, and then my mom all of the sudden had something where she was losing her mind… and so it helped me figure out a care plan and how to best interact with her so she wasn’t as scared. And finding, you know, the right fit for her as she needed to transition to different living facilities and that kind of stuff. So I’m very thankful to have that history, and that experience.
Candice Greathouse on her photography:
I turned the lens on myself and started documenting my like, lived experiences. And thinking about family archives and sentimentality and nostalgia and domesticity— and how those are so intertwined with like the female experience either as a positive or problematic depending on who’s saying it and how they’re describing it... Read More
Betsy Greer on handmade crafts as activist tools:
First you kind of wonder, like, what is it? Someone made this? You can talk about the act of making and then segue into more difficult things if you want, and then if it's getting bad you can tiptoe right back out and then talk about the craft. So it's a gentler way of talking about hard issues. Read More
Felicia Garcia On The Black Women's Happiness Project:
I wanted it to get people to really think about the subject, and really kind of think like whether or not you fall under this demographic that I’m targeting— it’s like, am I really going after what makes me happy? Am I really doing what I’m supposed to be doing? It doesn’t have to be chasing this one-off dream, it can just be like, you know, do you have day-to-day self care? A lot of people don’t even think about that, and as women we’re expected to give so much in our lives… where are we gonna pull from if we’re not replenishing that resource? Read More
Melissa Lee on the existentialism behind her paintings:
I starting reading that (Nietzsche) in grad school because I was having to read some philosophy for an aesthetics class... I think what I like about existentialism is that you sort of own your own destiny in it, and at least how I read it, it doesn't seem to depend on other people and other things. ... Religion has always been so fascinating to me and how people can really dive into that. They seem to make it a reason for everything. And, so existentialism to me is just an anti-religion of some sort... Read More
Tatiana Veneruso on how she became a curator:
The end of 2011 was the Occupy movement. And at the time I was working for this like corporate advertising agency and hating it so much... so I was definitely feeling the sentiment of that movement, and I thought, well how can I help? ... And so I thought, oh, I'll do an art show...but I'd never curated a show before, so I didn't know really how to go about that. Read More