TRIZAS opens to the public on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at AP Art Lab.
Closing reception and artist talk will be on Thurs, Sept. 28 at AP Art Lab.
This year, Lady Base Gallery set out to host a Fotoseptiembre 2017 exhibition curated by Rebel Mariposa. Rebel has been active in the performance and visual art world in Tejas, Califas and Mexico for over 15 years, specializing in emerging artists and new works. Her curation entails this exhibition, TRIZAS featuring a series of self-portraits and prose by San Antonio-based photographer Julysa Sosa and depicts an introspective account with collected dream imagery using an iPhone. Sosa is a documentary photographer based in San Antonio, Texas whose work focuses on storytelling; drawing out obscured occurrences existing on the periphery of life. She received a BA in photojournalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has published works by National Public Radio and National Geographic. For this month, we bring you Q&A Sessions with Julysa Sosa to learn more about the inspiration behind her first solo show, TRIZAS.
What does Trizas mean? And, how does this title describe the exhibition?
Sosa: Trizas translates to fragments, describing the journey from the dream world to the conscious world. These are the initial seconds after waking and those highlights from a dream, remembering the important information to survive in the conscious world.
What should a visitor expect to see on opening night?
Sosa: I want this series to be a sensory experience - from the binaural waves humming in the background to the physical act of walking through the door's threshold. I want the viewer to feel euphoria, uncomfortable, and eeriness from these dream entries.
Tell us a little about The Truth Is Blue...the image on your show flier:
Why do you aim to dramatize selfies and self-documention? From what lens did you decide that universal access needs a platforms in your work? Or, perhaps you can expand on why universal access is important and who it is important to?
Sosa: Selfies have always been the easiest form of self expression for me. It’s a platform in which I learned to face myself because I struggled throughout adolescence to accept my indigenous features and with selfies I started looking at myself in a way that was uncomfortable, but necessary for me.
For TRIZAS, I knew I wanted to shoot everything with an iPhone because I wanted to closely mimic the concept of the selfie - casual and vain with the available tools & light. This became an opportunity to depict how far one can take a simple tool, a cellphone that is universally accessible.
Working with this medium has a potential for limitless self-expression. I carry my phone with me at all times and in moments of idleness or during a creative block, a selfie has always helped catapult me into work. My camera phone is my favorite camera because of how simple it is to use, edit, and share with the social media world. And within this series, it allowed me to be more intentional, disciplined and intimate with my selfies.
And following on the theme of accessibility, I use this body of work as a platform for marginalized communities who are often forgotten in the art realms because of their socioeconomic status. I wanted to break the expectation that fancy equipment & tools are needed to create impactful art and I also want to provide a space where the viewer can be intimate with the work. It was also the reason behind the images being displayed without frames and more importantly, without a piece of glass disconnecting the experience. The last thing I wanted was this exhibit to feel like it belonged in a museum because I want it to feel like it belongs in a home.
Would you describe one specific experience that reflects the "familia, love, or realization in the form of dreams and fragments of the subconscious memory" in your exhibition?
Sosa: Most of my dreams revolve around my family. In this particular dream, I was going through a difficult time in my life, heartbreak over a toxic situation paralyzed me into fear. I interpreted this dream as forcing me to realize I had to let go of the poison mixing in my blood and heart as my family watched, representing an extension of my connectedness to them and my ancestors.
What are the significant highlights in your life that you portray in your work?
Sosa: I’m referring to the moments in my life where I felt my path was at a crossroads. To become the version I am today took many mistakes and lessons that were unforgiving. Often times these periods, ranging from childhood to adulthood were difficult for me to face and overcome. Death, love, fear, heartbreak, a sense of deception are reflected in many of my selfies.
Dreams and selfies are such an isolated, individualistic experiences. How do you use selfies and dreams to connect with others?
Sosa: My experiences are absolutely subjective, but also, everyone dreams. Whether they are actual sleep experiences or simply daydreaming; I think everyone can relate to the experience of waking up, staring at the ceiling, and trying to recall the pieces of a dream that memory quickly erases. Pairing that concept with normalizing selfies creates a space for viewers to mirror their personal experiences in my work.
Do you see your future shows going beyond your selfies? What other people and things do you desire to photograph?
Sosa: I believe there are still many facets of myself that I have to explore and I know I will gravitate towards identity-based work for a while. I’m not sure what future art shows will reveal, but I know I will always stay in the realm of famillia, cultura, love, and magical realism.
If you had to choose between staying in the awake world or in the dream world, which would you choose?
Sosa: This is difficult. In the dream world, time is non-binary and infinite versions of myself exist and this is a concept that I struggle with when I am awake. Time is ambiguous and in dreams it’s irrelevant, but in the awake world, it’s linear and I clash with the rigidness of illusion versus reality. I believe the dream world is a record of the pieces of myself and ancestors that have lived and crossed into the afterlife. I believe it is the realm that connects me to them, those who are able to offer guidance and I believe that ultimately, it is a path to my Creator. I believe all of these things exist in one. I can honestly say at certain points in my life, I longed to stay in the dream world, but I understand now that desiring to stay in the dream world is selfish. To refuse the gift of awareness in the awake world would cripple future generations as I am now an active part of the genetic coding that will guide those after me.
Do you use art to understand your identity?
Sosa: I would say that majority of what I create is a selfish exploration of my identity. I am constantly trying to understand more. At first I was solely focused on myself, but over the years I’ve learned that I am just a moving part to my history. I learned that the generation before me and the ones before them and so on have slowly expanded and pushed for me to exist today. So to understand myself, I have learned to document and understand my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Their history is coded in my genes and I am the current carrier. I have realized that time is not binary and the messages I receive from my ancestors are for the next generation to prosper. So, I have learned to detach myself from seeking worldly validation. I have learned to listen carefully, trust instinctually, and walk courageously knowing I am not alone on this journey.
What would you say to anyone that is questioning their decisions when it comes to being an artist in the 21st century?
Sosa: This is something I struggle with daily. I don't believe there is a choice in being an artist; only a choice to giving yourself permission to create. In the real world, being a starving artist is a highly romanticized ideology which I don't agree with nor have interest in pursuing. So, I ask myself what matters in my life? - familia, love, history, and creating from what I know. You do not need the title of "artist" to be an artist. If you feel compelled, allow yourself to create and if there is passion, the monetary aspect will follow organically.
What hobbies do you have outside of making art?
Sosa: In my spare time, I read obsessively. I also value time with the ones I love and I am always in search of learning about other cultures and communities.
- The End
Thank you, Julysa Sosa for this insightful gesture and congratulations on your first solo show. Trizas is an example of magical realism meets selfies as the technology today offers the flexibility for creatives to take control of their artistic aesthetics as a method for creative identity-based strategies. As we wrap up Q&A Sessions with Julysa we also like to thank curator, Rebel Mariposa for her curatorial lead and bringing Sosa's work to the forefront for Fotoseptiembre 2017. Stay tuned because we'll have a Q&A Sessions with Rebel later this month to talk more about her experiences behind curating and creating space for communities of color.
TRIZAS is sponsored by Lady Base Gallery, an artist-run community initiative for women and lgbtq artists in San Antonio, Texas. While working to exhibit emerging to mid-career artists; Lady Base Gallery also builds partnerships with local galleries such as AP Art Lab run by Amanda Poplawsky; a space that supports “civic, social, and community engagement through art”, to provide gallery space for professional development.
Q&A Sessions edited by Sarah Castillo
Castillo is the gallerist for Lady Base Gallery and a San Antonio-based artist