Grand Award Winner Q&A
At this years 2019 EVA reception Rosa Rumora from Kenyon College won the Grand Award Title. The title of Grand Award Winner is the highest honor our competition has. She was selected as the winner through two round of judging. The first round of judging was done by professors from our member schools. The second round of judging was done by established Ohio artists. This past week we had a quick Q&A with her to get her insights into the art world and this competition...
How did you make your decision to study at your institution?
My mother signed me up for a prospective student interview on the most dreadful February day ever.The campus honestly seemed like the coldest, greyest, most univiting place in the world. The exchange that I had with the upperclassman student interviewer, however, was the warmest, most uplifting, and exciting conversation in my entire college search process. It made me realize that the perfect college community would be made up of kind, creative, and insightful people, rather than shiny new facilities, vibrant nightlife, or constant rays of sunshine.
When did you realize that you wanted to study the visual arts?
I think I knew during my senior year of high school when I was skipping a class or two here and there to go throw pottery in the ceramics classroom. I definitely diverged from the art-path for my first few semesters at Kenyon because I was so excited and overwhelmed with the multitude of directions that I could take my education. However, I think my journey in the arts began as a toddler when my father caught me graffiting the back of the passenger car seat with a gel pen.
Has your focus or medium preference shifted since you started?
It’s difficult to say “when I started” making art. I’ve always been toying with materials and ideas--trying to make something greater than what I saw directly before me. My media of choice are constantly shifting. My artistic focus has been a journey of discovering pattern, rhythm and energy in every material I come in artistic contact with. Shifts that occur are usually in response to a particular formulaic, aesthetic, or conceptual pattern that I detect in a material’s relationship to my own life experiences in that point and time; they are very natural and intuitive. I love it all: wire, clay, graphite, paper, wood, steel, paint, flour, yeast, vegetables, dirt, sunlight, cameras, you name it.
How do you find creative inspirations?
I look to nature and to other creatives/artists/makers. I like the feeling of being utterly perplexed by the means that the earth or another human goes about producing something in nature or expressing an idea. Replicating those phenomena, or simply meditating on them, through my own methods of making is kind of a cathartic, spiritual way of understanding that pushes me to create even more.
What mediums do you like to work with?
I can’t say there is any media that I won’t use. Recently I’ve been working with wire, but in the past I’ve sculpted with paper, steel, wood, and ceramics. I enjoy illustration with graphite or ink. I also have a bit of a history with digital media, and I’ve played with some 3D printing. I also adore baking, cooking, and gardening. It’s all art to me. Nothing is really off limits; I really like learning new processes associated with different materials.
What does your creation process look like?
It usually begins with a certain abstract visual motif that I can’t seem to stop re-working. It evolves and becomes more and more refined over a long period of time a repetitive manipulation. Often it begins as a doodle or a sketch, or it could be the result of failed attempt at some other conscious effort. Either way, I feel like most of what I create begins in some sort of accidental state.
Is there any research involved before you start a large project?
I am often sifting through my own bank of visual data which usually takes the form of photographic observations. I like to record texture, pattern, color, surface, and light (both natural and manmade) that I come across in my day-to-day life. New work usually comes out of these observations and my own meditations on their mechanics.
What influences your art most?
I feel most driven by the concept of organic interconnectedness. What I make is most heavily impacted by the activity occurring between humans, the earth, and the systems and structures in motion between the two. I’m really inspired by the notion/visuals of beings composed of a seemingly infinite building-block system/web of cells.
What concentrations have you explored so far and what type of art would you like to do in the future?
My artistic exploration has been incredibly intuitive and responsive to the materials and organic elements around me. I’ve been very connected to place--specifically central Ohio. I’m excited to see how future changes in my location will motivate shifts in my work. As I get older and dial further into my identity, I am excited to see my values emerge and my artistic concepts come into focus, wherever I may be and whatever I may be doing.
Did you have a mentor or role model?
My parents. They have raised me to be artistically, emotionally, and intellectually motivated. In their own lives, they’ve demonstrated a balance between these motivations. They’ve taught me that they feed into one another seamlessly. Being whole means growing in many directions.
What advice can you give up and coming artists?
Make, make, make, and make some more. Things rarely work out on the very first try. The more you get used to failures, the more you can get over them, learn and quickly move on to creating something that excites you. Perfectionism is unattainable (and not very fun or fulfilling).
How do you think winning this award will influence your future art career?
It’s reassured me that my participation in the act of creating/art-making resonates beyond myself. It’s far more of a conversational process than I had previously understood. To relate and connect is encouragement to continue.
Congratulations again to Rosa! We are very excited to see where the future will take you and your art!