Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Textile Artist Pamela Juarez: Reflections, mentors and what 'fills her cup'

Many thanks to textile artist, and Talent Trust recipient, Pamela Juarez for sharing her reflections, mentors and what 'fills her cup' with us!

Pamela is a textile artist and a serial immigrant with roots in Mexico, Canada and Germany. Through her work in weaving, print and fashion she aims to develop methods for understanding third culture identities and immigration trauma. Pamela
 is currently studying textiles and fashion at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and holds a BA in Anthropology from McGill University (2015). 
Her conviction in the potential for art to create safe spaces has led her to participate in community art projects with NSCAD’s Art Factory and to teach children and teens through NSCAD’s Extended Studies Program.

What has been your biggest challenge in pursuing your art?


I initially started making art as a hobby to boost up my mental health while I studied Anthropology; back then it was never meant to be a serious pursuit. Even as I started studying textiles at NSCAD, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to practice art professionally, but after my second semester I was sure of it. I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced in my art practice has been redefining the relationship I have with my own work. Suddenly out of nowhere, my art was no longer for me but for the public, a realization that brought a number of insecurities. Learning that my work is worth creating and the narratives I’m exploring are important to share was hard, and convincing myself of it even harder. This is something I continue to struggle with as my relationship with my work keeps on evolving, but I’m more willing to adapt to new circumstances.


Who are your mentors and how have they influenced your art/career?


I’m greatly influenced by the many instructors and technicians within the fashion and textile departments at NSCAD. I’m very privileged to have learned from them, as they have provided generous guidance, and it’s because of them that I have arrived to a point in which I can be comfortable and proud of my work. Their commitment to their students has not only helped me in my practice, but ultimately my career goals as well. They have shown me how important the support of a mentor to guide you in your artistic development is; I hope that some day I’ll be able to impact an artist the same way.


What aspects of your art/practices “fills your cup” the most?


One fulfilling aspect of my practice that I did not expect when I started my art career was how much I would enjoy and depend on my art community. I feel very fortunate to be part of a community that has held space for me, my work, my narratives and identities. I’m a better artist because of what I have been able to share, and what I have learned from them. I continue to do art because I’ve experienced first hand how it creates dialogues in a group of people, and how it has the power to create safer communities in which challenging of norms and the acceptance of new perspectives can be possible. The sharing and caring of my art community continues to fill my cup.


Are there any unexpected positives that have come out of the pandemic related to your art?


It personally has been really hard for me to continue my practice during the pandemic. Aside from not having access to space and equipment, I had gotten used to creating in a communal environment. One positive about the pandemic is that it took me away from the context I was in and put me in a new position that gave space to new possibilities, themes and techniques. While I will continue to consider myself a textile artists, I have had the opportunity to work in other mediums out of necessity, and I have been able to envision how I could expand the themes I’m exploring. Moreover I had become very comfortable in my art making process, which involved a lot of research, planning, sampling, and seeking the input of my peers; the pandemic allowed me to change my processes, taking a more improvisational approach and relying more on my instincts. This form of creation has always made me feel anxious, but turns out I can get to enjoy it as well.

Instagram: @your.softpal

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