Artist Statement

Babawabada.jpg

For me, a portal is a personal symbol representing a third space... neither here nor there. My identity as a mixed, bisexual, binational artist/teacher has given me liminal insight into multiple worlds but not belonging to either. It is through my art that I seek to explore how portals are connectors. I see portal opening as an exercise in personal and community ritual. Creative acts of alchemical power that require mutuality, collaboration, and most importantly, embodied conscious attention in the presence of self and others. Often these portal are made with groups of people, adding another element of spontaneity to the creation. Each portal is as unique as the moment it was made as well as each person who was involved in creating it. I aim to answer the question... what life lessons can we learn as individuals and as a society from the metaphor of a portal? How can we embrace liminality as a tool of resistance in a binary world? How is imagination a form of resistance? How can we decolonize art-making from the limiting modernist traditions found in our American school system?  

 

My artistic approach mirrors how I approach the art of my life. Making so many mistakes. Going with the flow. I open portals in a flow state. Listening, receiving answers, trying it out along the way. You can always work with what has happened. You just have to get creative. I never know what they are going to look like ahead of time until the very point that they say they are done. What might feel like a failure in the moment of making the painting completely disappears over time as the portal gains power and appreciation as a whole entity. All mistakes become perfectly imperfect in retrospect. Materially, I am resourceful. I reimagine, combine, and make the most of what I have available to me. I use a combination of spray paint, tempera and acrylic paint, india ink, yarn, sharpie, and other recycled/found materials. In addition, the surfaces I paint on are either repurposed or salvaged from alleyways, thrift stores, or businesses.  

"Babadawabada Portal" (2020) Mixed media on recycled board, Jess Rogawski