Tag: reflection

Things Happened + More Things Are Happening

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Hello! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you might know that the last few months have been hectic, exciting, and stressful. Very stressful. I think primarily two things kept me sane: the support of my loved ones and the fact that I really enjoy what I’m doing right now. The stressful part stemmed from having too much to do in too little time. At times I felt like I was spreading myself very thin and I was frustrated by my inability to dedicate an appropriate amount of time and focus to any one of my priorities, which all seemed relatively equal.

The spring semester officially ended last week, and even though I still have a lot to do, I feel like I can breathe again. The unfortunate (or maybe not so unfortunate) part is that my body noticed me relaxing and decided that now I was able to deal with some health-related obstacles. It sucks, but thank you, body, for not doing this to me when I was already struggling to stay afloat two months ago.

The past semester was incredibly challenging and, as most things go, ultimately rewarding. I was lucky enough to work with Janet Niewald, Corrine Fitzpatrick, and Sally Alatalo, three talented and generous women, who served as my mentor and advisors and helped me grow in different ways. In spite of distance, I have remained connected to many of my classmates through Skype, e-mail, and Facebook and I can’t wait to be reunited for our last summer together next month (!!!).

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I mailed in my thesis last week, complete with a visual timeline, and I will share that here soon for anyone who would like to read it. My book is taking me longer to finish than I planned, but only because I love it so much and I want it to be perfect. Well also because I’ve been working on a million other things too. I’ve been sharing snippets of it on my Instagram and Facebook so make sure to follow me! You can find all the links to my social media accounts at the top of this page.

This summer, I’m traveling to Chicago again for my last residency (somehow it’s already that time). This last residency will consist of a big thesis exhibition in the Sullivan Galleries, thesis presentations, colloquiums, an art history class, a professional practices class, a class on how to do a thesis presentation, 3 visiting artist lectures per week, screenings, studio visits, and a one-night open studio event. Oh, and graduation of course!!

I dare say that most of my work for the thesis show is done, but anything can happen so I’m doing my best to prepare as much as I can before leaving. I will definitely share images once the work is installed, but basically it is made up of five panels of watercolor on Yupo paper that measure roughly 9′ x 9′ altogether. Over the next month, I’ll finish the paintings and prepare them for shipment to Chicago, where installation will begin as early as June 21st.

When I come home I’ll go back to work at the museum, get some teeth pulled (really), and finish preparing for my wedding. Clearly the excitement will not be over for a while! Thanks for reading and thank you to everyone who has been there for me during this crazy time, especially my fiancé and my family. XOXO

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22 Years

It’s that time again. The official day that I sit and reflect on my life as a person with diabetes. I say ‘official’ because this is something I think about daily (no special anniversary needed). It has now been 22 years since I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 3. To avoid sounding redundant, I’ll skip the details about the struggle of attempting to manage some kind of control over my body. Instead, I’ll share some exciting things that I’m doing right now and have been doing that relate to art and diabetes.

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  1. Children’s Book. Writing a children’s book has been a dream of mine since I was a kid myself. I’ve always loved reading and drawing and writing and thought “why not create a book of my own?” It’s taken a while to get to this point (I have many unfinished stories), but it’s real this time and I’m determined to publish it within the next year. The reason I’m mentioning the book in this post is because the book I’m writing/illustrating is meant for kids who are growing up with diabetes. I don’t want to share too much information yet, but I’ve been working on this since September and still have a lot of work left. I’m SO excited to share it soon. You can see peeks if you follow me on Instagram @anamoralesart.
  2. Thesis Work. For my MFA I have to complete a written thesis as well as create work for a thesis exhibition this summer in Chicago. Both are influenced by my experiences living with diabetes and the work that I’ve made about diabetes over the past six years. My goal is to document both processes over the next several months and share them here and on other social media platforms. I’m making plans for the steps I will take post-graduation, and that includes sharing my work broadly and figuring out how I can bring it into non-art spaces as well.
  3. Diabetes Study. This doesn’t directly relate to my art practice, except that it’s kind of like research. I’m currently participating in a 16 week study conducted by The Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Science at The University of Virginia. The purpose of the study is to test an Internet-based program for use with women with Type 1 diabetes who plan on one day becoming pregnant. The goal of the program is to help these women learn how to regulate their blood glucose levels for pregnancy. It is almost like taking a refresher course on how to manage my numbers, plus I’m learning lots of new information and making a greater effort to notice symptoms of high and low blood sugar.
  4. Education. While I don’t have much time to do anything else, I’ve still been thinking about what the next step is for me. In addition to being an artist, I am also an educator and I think there is great value in using visual art to spread information that encourages empathy. I am interested in any opportunity to bridge the gaps between people who are suffering in isolation and between doctors and patients. I want to talk to students, doctors, patients, parents, and partners about the power of art in the realm of medicine. Last month, my work was part of a display by Art in CME at the 41st Annual ACEhp Conference (Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions) and I hope to participate in more things like this in the future.

Stay tuned for updates and more documentation of my progress. Thanks for reading! xoxo

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Speed, Multiples, Density, Layering

I’m currently preparing for a new semester of classes, which includes preparing to write my thesis…which is crazy. At this point last year, I had no idea what my thesis would look like or if I would be prepared for it when the time came. When I compare all the work I’ve made in just the past few months, let alone the past few years, it seems as if I don’t know what I’m doing. And sometimes I truly don’t. At times I couldn’t decide which medium to use, whose advice to listen to, or what to make. What I’ve learned recently is actually something that I already knew. I had to work through all that uncertainty to get where I am now. I had to try out different mediums and follow up on advice I was given and make a bunch of stuff that I wasn’t satisfied with.  And now I feel a lot more certain of the work I’m making.

Anyway, the images below are documentation of one of those paths I ventured down. I experimented with layering, manipulating, and mechanical reproduction via photocopier. The process was incredibly satisfying and I’m very happy I spent last summer creating these pieces. One day I might return to them…we’ll see.

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The next few images were taken as I prepared for our summer open studios. You can see the number of pieces on the wall dwindling as I removed the less successful ones.

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I played around a lot with the density feature on the photocopier. And I say ‘played’ because it was surprisingly a lot of fun to just stand at the copier like a scientist adjusting different parts of the process and layering random materials on my drawings.

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Until next time! xoxo

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Looking Back @ 2014

The past year was full of so many new and exciting and terrifying things. There were lots of tears (joy and sadness), lots of ups and downs, lots of questioning, but I have to say I think I came out stronger on the other end. I’m so excited for what the next year will bring, but I want to take a moment to remember some of the good things of 2014.

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  • I spent time with my loved ones and did some traveling.

  • I got accepted into and started grad school in Chicago, which allowed me to meet and work with some amazing artists and people (Gregg Bordowitz, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Matthew Buckingham, Laurie Palmer, Joseph Carr, Michal Lynn Shumate, Lynn Tillman, Josiah McElheny, and the whole class of 2016).

  • I saw, in person, paintings that I had grown up only seeing pictures of at the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • I presented my thoughts on the work of Kira Lynn Harris to KLH herself along with my cohort and the LRMFA faculty.

  • I had a one-on-one studio critique with Joseph Grigely.

  • I had group critiques with Glenn Ligon and Wu Tsang.

  • I submitted a bunch of job applications, got a few interviews, and finally got a great job at an art museum where I met some more wonderful people.

  • I cheered on my brother at various shows including a concert where he opened for Robert Cray and another where he played alongside recent Grammy winners Snarky Puppy.

  • I taught lots and lots of little ones and grew as an educator.

  • I participated in a couple art shows and made lots of new work.

  • I donated work to diabetes-related causes.

  • I attended helpful workshops and participated in online classes.

  • I received valuable feedback and advice from my mentor Janet Niewald.

  • I worked with an international musician on a series of T-shirts.

  • I met and talked to the artist and creator of Medical Avatar, Virgil Wong.

  • I made a special painting for a friend. 

  • I celebrated five years with my boyfriend!

My goal for 2015 is mostly to keep working really hard. Managing my time this past semester was quite challenging because I had so much going on, but I’ve already seen the hard work pay off so I know it’s worth it. I have lots of secret projects in mind for the near future (they’re only secret because that’s how I like it at first), and some of those projects involve the structure and content of this site. Another ongoing goal of mine is to keep this place updated and interesting. I love sharing my work and process with whoever happens to stumble across my name or website and I appreciate all of you who have spent a little time here with me. So in closing, thank you and Happy New Year!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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I tend to take things for granted when I have a lot going on, and by “a lot going on” I don’t necessarily mean being really busy (although many days I am). Every year when the holidays start to approach, I start thinking a lot and I get a bit overwhelmed by my thoughts. I have two theories to explain why this happens to me. The first is that I look at the end of the year as a time to reflect on the past year. I think about where I was, emotionally and physically, this time the year before. What changes did I hope for back then and  what became of those hopes? Were any of them turned into realities, and if not, why not? I think about what next year is going to bring and whether I’m excited for the future or scared. My second theory is that this cold weather makes me feel lazy and well, cold. I really want to just nap, watch Netflix, listen to music, and drink hot drinks.

On Thanksgiving Day though, it’s nice to take a moment to remind myself how fortunate I am. I have everything I need to survive, and as a diabetic, that’s saying a lot. Aside from having those essentials, I have lots of things that allow me to live comfortably and happily. Not everyone can say the same. So today, be thankful for the things you have, instead of focusing on the things you don’t. Have a wonderful thanksgiving :]

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A Moment of Artistic Reflection

“The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist. The need to produce a great work of art makes it hard to produce any art at all.” -Julia Cameron

Last semester, my Intro to Painting professor asked me during my portfolio review what I want to be known for as an artist. Caught off-guard, my answer was pretty vague and clearly not very thought-out. I said I just want my art to make people happy by using bright colors and inspiring subjects and text. After that review, I realized I should probably start thinking about how I truly want to answer that question that my professor asked me, even if no one ever asks me it again. I did think about it, but I couldn’t really come up with something stable. I like too many things I don’t want to feel tied down to a certain style just so that people will recognize me for it. This was a lot more complicated than I thought.

A few weeks ago I saw a flyer announcing that the student-run art gallery on campus was holding interviews for shows next semester. I really wanted a spot so I decided to sign up for an interview. The application said to bring a digital copy of the work we would use. Well, there was a problem. Even though a lot of my work shares a fairly common theme, the styles are all over the place so I couldn’t really create a show with them. I wrote down some ideas for a series and decided on a seemingly simple one. My work would depict the human form, with a partial emphasis on hands, and I would focus on the physical structures, but also the emotions that the human form can express. I even drew a layout of the pieces I would create over the summer. Then I contacted the assistant director of the gallery and asked her if I could just discuss my ideas with her since I didn’t have any work done yet. She said that was fine. I did provide two of my other pieces though, so she could get an idea of what the work would look like. The interview was short, but seemed to go well and I was feeling confident. However, the next week I got an email saying that I was put on a waitlist—meaning if any artist decided not to do their show, I could potentially have their spot. But in order to take their spot, I’d have to have all of my work prepared—meaning I’d still have to do all those pieces this summer (about 15). This decision was so unexpected that I couldn’t help but feel really upset and ashamed for being so confident before. I temporarily lost all motivation to complete any of the work this summer. But I continued to think about it, naturally, and once I got over being upset, I realized why I probably didn’t get chosen for a spot, and it ties in with what I was talking about at the beginning of this post. When I was planning out what my series would look like, I had all kinds of images in my head, so many ideas on how to represent the human form in an interesting way. Unfortunately these ideas and images didn’t translate as well verbally. I have a feeling that my idea may have sounded pretty unoriginal and vague, and well, it kind of was. After all, many artists use the human form as the inspiration or subject matter of their work. So I decided that I will still complete all the pieces over the summer and even if I don’t get a spot next semester, I’ll apply again for next spring, this time with photos of the actual pieces and a clearer explanation of them.

I feel like I’m a really emotional person and when I paint, I want to use these tools to get out everything that I’m feeling that I can never seem to say to people, even the people who are closest to me. Even if people don’t get what I’ve painted, I just want them to feel something strong and to remember what they’ve seen after they’ve left. As I mentioned before, I told my professor that I wanted my art to make people happy, but I don’t always feel happy, so I can’t expect my art to always make people feel happy either. There are some pieces of art that I’ve seen that make me want to cry, I don’t even know how to explain why, but they do. But that’s how I want people to feel about some of my work. And they don’t always have to be tears of sadness. I want my paintings to evoke some kind of memory and emotion within the viewers. I want them to understand how passionate I am about what I do.

In conclusion, you can expect some updates about this series throughout the summer and hopefully you’ll be able to see some progression towards some of the things I’m hoping to achieve!

“He who desires nothing, hopes for nothing, and is afraid of nothing, cannot be an artist.” -Anton Chekhov

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