Things this month have been absolutely amazing and absolutely busy! I am proud to announce that I am the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 VSA Young Emerging Artist Program with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.! This year’s theme was “The Journey,” and prompted artists to submit their work that concerned their own personal journeys living with a disability. With this award, my piece is exhibited in the Smithsonian in Washington, it is also part of a nationally traveling exhibition, and I receive a cash prize of $20,000. I have been invited, along with the other 14 winners, to attend a Congressional Reception in January so I’m already starting to plan my outfit! I am extremely honored to be receiving this award and am so excited to see what this next year holds for me.
My winning papercut sculpture, Never Stopping, deals with my experiences as a heart transplant recipient, specifically the overwhelming feelings related to my physical issues as well as the desire for healing. The entire original sculpture is about 16 ft in height and is made entirely of handcut paper. I also added screenprinted cutouts of hands, legs, oranges, and bananas. These symbolize offerings and milagros, or physical representations of intentions. The idea behind it was for the viewer to become overwhelmed with the structure, in order to mimic my own feelings. For the Kennedy Center, I brought the piece down to a smaller scale, which you can see in the photo.
My transplant is a major part of my life, and I am open to any questions readers might have. I received my heart at the age of 14 months at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. That transplant team became my family, and I am always going back every now and then to visit. They still follow up with me and my procedure results even though I have switched to the cardiology team at UPMC Children’s Hospital. Right now, I still have my original heart making my transplant one of the oldest single organ transplants in the country.
This past week, I opened a show in Oakland, CA for First Fridays. It was so much fun and my first exhibit on the West Coast! I had a bit of help with some of the bigger installation, and for the first time went on scaffolding. Since I’m a short little lady, I was terrified of being so high off the ground. But I did it and everything turned out so perfect. Really, I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier install and it’s all thanks to the awesome, generous people from the gallery. There’s an espresso bar connected, so I suggest to anyone from the area to stop by! The show is at Hat Rac Gallery up from June 6- July 25.
Boys setting up the scaffolding.
Gold and black cutouts going up on the wall. Yes, they’re all handcut!
These photos are from the week before my show in Oakalnd at Hat Rac Gallery. There are always last minute things to get ready, and I was still making work up until the end. Some pieces shown didn’t make it into the show, but instead just stayed home being beautiful.
What an awful title for this post… sorry but that’s all I’ve got for you right now. It’s late here and titles aren’t going to be produced from this mind anytime soon. The point is, here’s the finished piece. Surprisingly, this took me much longer to make than I expected. Here was the process:
– Take a sheet of Rives BFK and handpaint the turmeric ink on it. With this one, I wanted to put only a slight amount of water. So I used a squirt bottle and sprayed light amounts of water in certain spots. I use the word “handpaint” because I literally put gloves on and painted it on with my fingers. There was a certain airy look I wanted and I knew I’d only get it this way. Plus, I felt a little distanced from my pieces with a brush. Don’t know what that change is about, but that’s what’s going on.
– Make the drawing. I drew the little shapes in pencil and was careful to not smear the turmeric anymore. It isn’t set on there, and there are still pretty big chunks of the spice…
– Make the cutouts… BFK is awful to cut through. I don’t know why I do this to myself. I had to take two trips to the hot springs out here to get the pain out of my arm….
– Make the drawings on a second sheet of rice paper that align with the BFK cutouts. Then cut those little guys out…
-Add the final layer of BFK on the back.
This post is a little random, I’m aware of it so that makes it ok. I guess… Anyways these are some photos of my inspirations for the day and what I have going on in my studio.
This little orange patch doesn’t leave my mind. I found it on a rock right outside my studio while I was taking a walk. First off, the color. I can’t even handle it. Second off, I love seeing how it forms. A lot of my work deals with swarms and natural growth. It’s nice to see some ideas on how to make my pieces seem more real….
Here you have turmeric dissolving in Linseed Oil. Yeah, I know it looks just like that previous photo. I need to figure out a way to capture this… Ideas are brewing.
More turmeric pigment. This one is mixed with water. I’m going back to my obsession with circles. It was only right that I made one piece with a circular shape.
These guys don’t leave my side. That’s nice because sometimes at night it gets creepy. But they pass out all day and all night in my studio. I guess they like that I keep a tropical climate in here. Plus I give them treats…
Some more cutouts. This one is a largescale installation in progress… I was inspired when I first saw Keira Knightley wearing a hat with mesh in some movie that I really hated… anyways she had a similar pattern on the mesh and I instantly knew I had to make something with it. It also is supposed to resemble rainforest plants/sea coral. Really, all of my images are jumbles of representations that are only meant to seem familiar. You know it’s some sort of organism, but not what kind exactly.
My fanny pack has become my new best friend. I take it everywhere and it’s so easy to carry. I’ve had it for a while now, but I recently studded it. Gold studs of course…. and this is my little hook of clothing goodies. The dogs know it’s time to leave whenever I walk over to this hook and grab something off it.
Bones out drying. They’re all washed but the next step is to grind them down and then wash again. Little branches. So beautiful, I don’t know what to do with them first! Do I put them in a piece? Copy the shape and the growth pattern? I don’t know!
Hey, all. March 6 – 9 is the Scope show in New York and I’ll have a few pieces in it with C. Emerson Fine Art Gallery! If any of you are in the area, go and check it out! Usually Scope shows some absolutely amazing artists that always get me motivated to keep on creating.