Detail: ©Rebecca Volynsky. You Wear The Sunlight, 2010
3 essential questions
BY MAGAZINE ART EDITOR AJA BLANC
Artist Rebecca Volynsky on community, teaching and growth as an emerging artist.
Image: ©Rebecca Volynsky. Autumn Self-Portrait, 2010
Aja In what ways has your art practice helped you grow in other aspects of your life?
Rebecca Working with community art organizations is a huge part of my artistic practice, and they have had a significant impact on my life. I became serious about my work while participating as a student at New Urban Arts (a non-profit arts organization that provides free, after-school youth art programming in Providence, Rhode Island) in high school.
During my senior year, I created a site-specific installation in the window space that reflected my time spent in the studio during the previous four years. A huge wire tree stood in the corner, as plaster casted arms coming out of the branches held shards of glass that reflected the surrounding environment. There is a lot of weight to the fact that those I surrounded myself with in the studio helped me transform into a practicing artist. This led me to become interested in teaching, working with the community, and using art to encourage social change.
During my year of volunteering as an Americorps Teaching Artist at another organization in Providence, ¡CityArts! for Youth, I eventually gained a significant amount of confidence in the classroom… and myself. These aspects allowed me to build up my passion in arts community and motivation to be a fully independent creative human being.
Image: ©Rebecca Volynsky. Now I Am, 2010
Aja You describe your process as unplanned, without a premeditated composition in mind and your work shows a distinct and thoughtful personal language – how do these two aspects come together for you?
Rebecca Everything that surrounds me — those that I hold dear/would like to let go of/miss, mentors, acquaintances, the occasional coffee shop crush, positive experiences, obstacles, artist communities, nature, the urban landscape — inspires me. My work constantly reflects what goes on in my life, and often times, helps me push through challenges.
I approach making artwork without any goal of what the final piece will look like.
Everything transforms and comes together within the process. Whatever it is that might be motivating me to create work somehow seeps into the piece, eventually creating a form that communicates my ideas and emotions in addition to a space that maintains a balance of energy and nice aesthetic. It takes a lot of time, and sometimes frustrates me… however, the pieces that I feel most connected to come from this process.
Image: ©Rebecca Volynsky. Post Struggle, 2010
Image: ©Rebecca Volynsky. Yes, Perfect, Nerves,etc., 2010
Aja You’re a student again, currently in art school – how has that affected your artistic practice?
Rebecca My second stab at art school is a much more different experience than my first one. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (in Boston) is very experimental and non-traditional, which I feel suits my artistic practice. The professors are always interested to see what you are working on and encourage the development of strong connections between students in the classroom.
It is challenging in the best way possible, though I have found that I am still working on my own work in the classroom. I don’t feel disconnected from what I’m doing at home and what I’m doing in class… everything is somehow intertwined. I am able to fully elevate my artistic voice in my studio work, so I feel that art school is actually enhancing my artist practice and allowing me to branch off and experiment with new ideas.
Visit Rebecca’s portfolio at http://rvolynsky.tumblr.com/
Image: ©Rebecca Volynsky. You Wear The Sunlight, 2010
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