Distance Learning Activity 9/30- Artist Exploration

Elle Pérez

Who are the subjects in Elle’s photos? How do they choose their subjects? 

1. The subjects in Elle’s photos are many different types of people. She has photographed entertainment wrestlers, her friends, and people who she has a close relationship with regarding their queer identity. She also likes her photos to be of things that you cannot truly see what they are, it is all up to your imagination. The subjects are chosen by who she feels can capture the raw emotion of what she wants the photo to turn out to be. She enjoys taking photos of people who she can connect with, because the feelings within that picture are much deeper.

What does Elle point out as important in a portrait? How does this deviate from typical ideas around what a portrait is? 

2.  Elle points out that it is important for a portrait to look effortless, but are still set up in some way. These are different from the typical ideas of portraits because those are often meant to look more staged and less natural.

How does Elle connect their identity as a queer artist with the way they make work? 

3. Elle’s photos come from very strong relationships with individuals, some being a part of the queer community. Elle’s photography is used to depict things that you cannot picture yourself, which she says has a lot to do with identity as the images can contain evidence of a past experience and things that not everyone has gone through. Elle also describes how form in photography is related to queerness because it is undefinable, has no boundaries, and has endless possibilities.


Minerva Cuevas

How does Cuevas expand the definition of drawing in her work?

1. Cuevas expands the definition of drawing in her work because she brings in politics and her beliefs. Cuevas says that her work is her research and with that means that through her drawings she is communicating more than other artists. She believes that artists are another form of activists.

In what ways does she shift typical ideas around political activism and social change? 

2. Cuevas believes that the term political activist is actually a problem in today’s world. Many individuals have many opinions regarding political ideas and always have the need to react to everything that goes on. She says that the world’s problems are caused by everyone, so the reaction must involve everyone as well in order to create change.

How does her work open up ideas for you about your own civic engagement? Do you find yourself agreeing with her or wanting to challenge her ideas? 

3. Her work reminds me about the importance of speaking your voice. She is very inspiring and makes me want to create change in my own community. I agree with her about her ideas of coming together to make change and I feel that using art as activism is a very unique way to get messages across to people.


Andrea Zittel

Andrea Zittel creates sculptures that show aspects of everyday life. Some include sculptures of beds, kitchens, wardrobes, clothing, and many more. She is able to create a connection between life and art. Zittel’s work resonates with me because it is relatable. I cannot go through my day without doing one of the things that Zittel creates. I think her work is not only creative and fun to look at, but relevant as well. Zittel challenges norms by creating sculptures that are so simple. When I think of sculptures I often think of complex structures or people, but Zittel takes what she knows and creates it.


Reflection Questions

  1. My ideas about what drawing can be have changed because I realize how wide the possibilities are. It can truly be whatever you imagine and I think that is so cool because there really is no right or wrong, it is all up to you. That idea takes away a lot of the pressure and just lets me enjoy this class.
  2. The most challenging part of this class has been letting myself stop worrying about judgement and just letting myself draw. It is hard not to overthink when drawing and I want to be able to just let myself go.
  3. The aspect of this class that has been most relevant to me are our sketchbook drawings. I love being able to draw whatever I want and be creative. I love that I get to have that time for myself and just get to relax and reflect. It takes away from the stresses of everyday life.
  4. The aspect of this class that has been least relevant in my life is learning about other artists. Though it is interesting to learn about them and is important for us to learn from them, I prefer to do my own work and not let my mind be influenced by others.
  5. I want to improve my drawings by adding depth and more realism. I also want to be able to let myself go and not be so tense when drawing.