Monday, September 20, 2010
Interview with Jen Wojtowicz
What issues are important to you?
Human rights for all people and saving our planet.
How is the idea of activism apparent in your art?
I represent all people in a reverential way. I am inviting the viewer to reconsider traditional Western images of the holy and sacred, which have been commodified, homogenized, and really only represent one group of (white) people. I am inviting the viewer to consider the holy and sacred nature of people who have been disregarded, discriminated against and treated very badly in the United States on the basis of their color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, mental heath issue, disability, or economic situation. I am inviting the viewer to examine what is in their hearts and minds, and to think in a different way if need be. I am inviting the viewer also to consider the wisdom and sacredness of all spiritual traditions. I also frame issues in the context of a holy person or saint, like addressing racism in a St. Martin De Porres (patron saint of African-American people and of social justice) or the destruction of nature in the painting "St. Dorothy, Patron Saint of Gardeners, Buries Land Developers to Make Room for a Field" (at right).
Do you think political and environmental issues can be effectively addressed in art?
Oh yes. Art can effectively translate an idea or an emotion into something tangible. And an image can be a powerful thing, it has a way of staying with you, of speaking to the heart of the matter.
Which artists do you admire who have an activist agenda?
Definitely my husband, Marcus Kwame Anderson, also Dwell, South African graffiti artist Faith47, Ricardo Levins Morales, Nathan Meltz, and the Just Seeds Artists Cooperative, and James Koyote Staley.
Left: "St. Margaret of Castello/God Made Us Perfect" by Jen Wojtowicz
Tell us something about your process of creating.
I'm always telling myself a story when I paint, or build a shrine. I have to get to a certain place internally, where the story or the feeling is directing my hands and my decisions about the piece.
What is the name of your etsy shop? JenWojtowicz