Diana Beare

 These are my thoughts and my feelings and my responses and my art and my energy and my pain and my joy and my fingers are typing and communicating to whoever may encounter these thoughts and feelings and responses and art and energy and pain and joy. All of these things you will find here only communicate my limited perspective of my world, I acknowledge all that I do not know or have to experience due to the undeserved privileges that are part of my perspective. I acknowledge that I am on the land of the Duwamish Tribe.
This chapter contains a few examples of photography that I have not used for any specific project. I thought these images carried emotion and showed a personal side of my practice, unseen to anyone other than myself. These untitled photos all were taken during a trip I took that was really catalyzing for my development as a person and artist, so I think it’s fitting to include these photos in this extended artist’s statement. They are botanical photos and one landscape. I find that I am grounded in nature and the land because I grew up with my grandmother as my greatest role model, who taught me to be awe-inspired by organic existence.

 


 

Within these writings, I think considering the context of my current life is an important place to start. My art and artistic process change drastically depending on what is going on in my internal life. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder at 15 and had to learn to be constantly aware of where my head is at. Currently, I am struggling quite a bit with my depression since I have been changing medications, therapists, and diagnoses. It impacts my energy levels, mood, memory, functioning in general. It can be difficult for me to speak to people, or even fathom doing any type of work, even cooking or cleaning for myself. My capacity to put energy into my art is impacted by depression quite a bit. It’s a very frustrating thing to face, but at the same time, being patient with myself allows me to have more depth in the concepts that I chose to explore. I consider myself an outgoing, fun, confident, and centered person, but my depression can take that all away from the moment to moment. Often times I really wish my work was more fun and interactive, lighthearted even. This quarter my life was far from lighthearted and fun, but I found a way to reach deeper into myself as an artist during this time, despite its difficulty. I think often times my work is a product of my mental health, not that the subject of my work is mental health, but my mental health impacts my process and the outcome of my concept.

 


 

With my context in mind, my process tends to change technically with each project I do. I often go back and forth between research-heavy art pieces and pieces that come out of a place of self-care. Within my practice, I use many different types of media which oftentimes involves me having to learn a new skill. Constant growth is something that I think is invaluable to my career as an artist and as my development as a human being. It can be challenging but learning more and more skills enables me to feel less limited and more confident. The process of sitting down and having to spend time reading, watching tutorials, and making first attempts is a foundational stage for my artwork.

Whenever I am overwhelmed, my artwork shifts from a starting place of growth to a place of self-care. Carrying around my camera with me every day can help me notice things I find intriguing generally and lead to more developed artwork in a gentle and meditative way. Being patient with myself, I think, is the most sacred thing I can do with my practice. Giving myself space to think and take care of myself enables me to be passionate and intentional with my work. I often feel like my concepts are more thoughtful and flushed out when they have come from this place.[ Although patience isn’t something physical that I do in my artistic process, it’s something that I cherish and am so grateful to myself for practicing.

 


 

I think there are three current main themes of my artwork, each with its own influencing artist. I started minoring in DXArts last year and my art has become increasingly more experimental, although I return to photography when I am feeling like taking a less challenging approach. I have moved from photo to video to code and have even learned some circuitry and mechanics. Nam June Paik is considered to be one of the trailblazers of media art and I have loved his work ever since I was first exposed to it. I think he uses simple methods to create questions around the technological world. I would love to be able to achieve such conceptual depth and simplicity in my own work and I really enjoy wrestling with concepts surrounding how technology and human interact with the digital.

 

(Photo of Nam June Paik’s TV Buddha below)

 

A theme I am exploring in my current work is the body and the body’s connection to the physical and non-physical experience. This is a theme that I started thinking about a lot after seeing an exhibition of Ana Mendieta’s work. The way she blurs the lines between her body and the land it inhabits was very powerful for how I understood my own physicality. My interest in the body extends outside of my own; in the past, I was very interested in how the body acts as a record of events, through things like scars and sun marks. It can also be representative of so much history and generational knowledge. Last year I did a study filming skin very up close to create a sense of intimacy and knowledge.

 

 

 

(Ana Mendieta’s untitled piece from the silueta series below)

 

The last theme of my work I wanted to discuss is collectivity and community. I first got familiar with art collectives through The Department of Safety, where one of my favorite bands came from, and then I learned that Flint Jamison (one of my professors) was a founding member of that collective, which made me further interested in pursuing community-based art. I began to become familiar with the collective work Tucuman arde through research when I was looking into art in Argentina and Uruguay, where my family is from. These different communal art movements resonated with me in a way that I want my life to revolve around.

I formed an art collective centered on media art last year, and I intend to keep it going and expand it for however long I can. I think in the world we live in, which is dominated by large systems and corporations, connecting with my community and building relationships is the best way to make a change and feel as if I am part of something greater.

A big cultural influencer of mine in my late teens was Bjork. I felt that she was a powerful role model because she has pursued so many different creative methods and aesthetics and kind of just does whatever she wants. Most of the musicians I enjoy are similar in their sense of individuality and a strong pursuit of whatever they are interested in. It is a confidence and approach to life that I strive to follow, although I’m often pretty anxious, it’s something I am always working on. Bjork also adopts aspects of performance art, which is slowly appearing more in my work as I find more and more interest in the body. I think my collective also reflects Bjork sentiments of following her own path; my collective is made up of musicians, computer scientists, animators, and visual artists. It blows me away how many skills we have as a group, and makes me excited every time we meet. Skill building is something that is very important to my practice and Bjork’s approach to life definitely inspires me to pursue new skills. (Right now I am actually learning tattoo artistry – definitely a crossover of the body, skill-building, and interpersonal connection)

 


 

 

 

The photo above shows a piece I recently completed. I think all of what I have discussed in my journaling in this chapter is present in this work. I struggled to even come up with a concept I wanted to pursue for about seven weeks. My depression was heavy, I was stuck in my room and was mostly alone with myself every day. I had always felt at odds with my body and not comfortable existing in it. This year I wanted to confront that and be able to celebrate my physicality rather than fighting it. In a way this work was made just for me and, honestly, was a very educational experience. Taking photos of myself, I was forcing myself to not pose, to look at my body, and accept what I see as worthy of being photographed. I was realizing all of the weird standards I had built for myself that were informed by the media and society, which in truth, don’t make very much sense at all. I installed the photos into this arrangement on screens in my room and left it there for several hours, journaling off and on about what thoughts came up about the work. Themes such as multiplicity, surveillance, performance, dysphoria, and digital identity came out of my journaling, just to name a few. Since this work was more of a healing process rather than a premeditated artwork for an audience, I didn’t have intentions at the beginning of the work, but now the piece carries so much weight and meaning for me.

 

 

 

I have to work on a piece that was created in response to a prompt I was given: reference the mediums of the times, what we have been using to attend class, meaning things like zoom, mics, webcams, etc. When I was thinking about this prompt there were so many directions I could go. Since I have been thinking about connection and physicality lately and the digital nature of my reality really frustrates me. My internships and classes are online and it makes it seem like a very abstract sort of participation. It makes it seem not real honestly, like the deadlines are not as serious and the communication not as immediate or meaningful. In this work, I wanted to lean into the physical aspects of these things and study power lines, grids, and electrical systems. It’s interesting how we are all actually physically connected by these wires and electrical networks that we never consider as part of our immediate ability to speak to one another. I live directly on a power line trail and the electrical lines are right behind my house. I think by studying these systems, the lines between what is real and what seems unreal (zoom, digital life) may become more blurred. The audio I created is a recording of the buzz of the power lines fed into a zoom call between two devices, creating an auditory feedback loop. I thought it was interesting that this feedback loop composed a sort of musical piece that I found really interesting to listen to. It felt as if the electrical system was a live body, a living network like a mycelium in a forest, although not natural at all.

 

 

 

Media Attributions

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Diana Beare by Timea Tihanyi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book