ASLI’s Mental Health Awareness Fair and Event – The low-down

 

ASLI’s Mental Health Awareness Fair and Event 

The low-down

 

ASLI Info graphic

On Saturday the 30th of May ASLI had a fabulous day of engaging with our local community and our event was a great success. The whole premiss of our day was to raise awareness about our campaign MENTAL ILLNESS, HEALTH AND RECOVERY, to showcase some local artists who use their art to deal with their own mental health struggles, to give back to the community by having a FREE table-top sale and swap shop and by inviting local crafters and artisans to sell their beautiful creations along side us in solidarity. Oh and how could we forget CAKE, there was lots of cake!

The ASLI team and our ASLI volunteers pulled together so that our guests as well as ourselves, enjoyed a day of positive engagement and community.

See our Gallery of all the event photos – Click Here!!

 

We would like to thank:

The Oasis Centre – Not only was the centre and amazing venue, the staff were so accommodating and supportive. They gave us the entire venue for free, we asked if we could donate to their chosen charity and they chose a local animal sanctuary.

The Exhibiting Artists – Louise Tomkinson, Michelle Morgan, Chris WebbPhilippa Newman , Andreea Stan, Lisa Reeve and Charlotte Farhan

Our Stall Holders – Lisa TaylorJames WaterfieldPaul Brian, Philippa Newman, Debra Carter and Emily Murphy

We will be featuring all these amazing people and their talents in separate blog posts so keep an eye out!

PhototasticCollage-2015-05-29-12-14-07

We made lots of amazing connections with our local community, including mental health charities and art projects and communities! We will be building on these connection in the coming month, more details to follow…

Plus we had lots of local artists sign up to get involved as well as local residents signing up to our blog and newsletter.

All in all a very happy event! And to top it off we raised just under £200 for ASLI to continue to do what it does best, using art as a tool to create change and save lives.

Be sure to check out:

  • our Gallery of event photos taken by our two ASLI photographers Lisa Reeve,  Charlotte Farhan and Iain Turrell
  • our gallery of our exhibition on mental health and artists in Portsmouth at the event
  • our shout outs to our craft and art stall holders

Thank you xxx

ASLI INFO GRAPHIC By Charlotte Farhan

 

 

 

The Mental Illness, Health and Recovery ASLI Event in Pictures

The Mental Illness, Health and Recovery

ASLI Event and Fair

in Pictures

Gallery 1 Photography By Iain Turrell

 

 

Gallery 2 Photography By Lisa Reeve

 

 

Gallery 3 Photography By Charlotte Farhan

Artist Rocio De Alba “My one and only goal is as long as I can stand, breath, see and hold a camera I want to create photographs that people are drawn to”

Rocio De Alba
Rocio De Alba

 

Artist Rocio De Alba “My one and only goal is as long as I can stand, breath, see and hold a camera I want to create photographs that people are drawn to”

My name is Rocio De Alba (translation: dew of the dawn). I currently live and work in Queens, New York with my wonderful partner, Glen. We share four children between the two of us. It’s our own chaotic version of the Brady Bunch, lol. I was born in El Salvador. My family moved to the USA illegally in the early 80s escaping the civil unrest. Under the Regan administration, we were granted amnesty a few years later.  My father was a well-known artist in our country so I was surrounded by art a lot. But I didn’t realize I wanted to be an artist until my late twenties. I was working as an administrative assistant in Los Angeles and simply quit one day to pursue my BFA in photography. I completed my degree in 2007 after I moved to New York at the School of Visual arts.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of mental illness and the stereo type of mothers in your art?

I’ve always been intrigued by artist who document their lives. And I suppose this topic is apropos considering I am a mother of four with limited time. But I didn’t want to focus on a subject purely on the merits of accessibility. So even though I didn’t have a sophisticated concept or narrative, I documented my family and took self-portraits. It wasn’t until I studied Claude Cahun and Nan Goldin’s work that I realized I could use art as a way to overcome personal difficulties. In 2012 after a long battle with alcoholism, depression and suicidal thoughts, I was diagnosed with a severe case anxiety and panic disorders. Finding out you suffer from mental ailments feels like you’re walking around with your skin inside out. You feel fragile and exposed yet ironically ashamed. It was a dark period. One day while going through my archives, however, I began to dichotomize my self-portraits from narcissistic and vain portraits to cathartic rituals that subconsciously were saving my life. As an artist I could finally see the cohesive thread that lead me to create more intentional images with regards to context and theme; but as a patient, I found the photographic discipline itself cathardic and therapeutic. When I launched my site two years ago with these new images, several friends (and strangers) confided in me that they too shared the same struggles. It was then I knew I was on to something meaningful.

Tell us why you chose this submission?

Society tells us that we must be perfect at a glance and what people see on the outside should reflect the inside.  Yet I remember being on the subway or a bus with my make-up done, perfectly dressed, a big smile on my face, a diaper bag on one shoulder and two kids on the other hand; from the outside all appeared “normal” but inside I was screaming for help yet no one ever asked how I was feeling, not even friends. We’re also taught that talking about suicide and addiction is taboo, especially for women. This submission is my way of hopefully inspiring women to know that there is no shame is asking for help and there is no obstacle you currently face that is worth ending your life over. Seeking help to quit drugs or alcohol doesn’t make you week or brave; it merely signifies a desire for something different maybe even better? Although better isn’t promised either. But most importantly all the horrible shit you to your loved one that you think can’t be forgiven and there is no fresh start for you is wrong; it IS possible to change. We are all capable of change not matter your age the depths you’ve sunken down. I have learned however, that It may be too late to fix certain relationships but it’s never too late to forgive yourself and accept responsibility for your wrong doings and try to be as good a person as you can be today and right now.


 

 

“FACES OF LOVE”

In my early twenties my pious “old fashion” Hispanic parents divorced. Years later they confessed their most devoted accomplishment was “sparing us (as children) the unpleasantries associated with step-parents.” Yet almost immediately my mother began a successful relationship with a man nine years her junior, whom shared custody of two sons with his ex-wife, while my father courted many women simultaneously. Baffled, I witnessed my strict marital ethics unravel through the adults that enforced them and seamlessly integrated into what is commonly referred as a “modern family.” Suddenly my mother was a stepmother and we often met dad’s female companions with the imminent question: “will he marry her?” Using heaps of props, make-up, minimal post-production to alter my bone structure, eyes and skin color, I produce these satirical and humorous self-portraits to explore the “modern family” concept, focusing on the gamut of the contemporary mother archetype.  For the purpose of visual reference and to accurately reconstruct the physical attributes of these personas, I scrutinized hours of affiliated reality TV shows, primetime family programs and “telenovelas.”

The 21st century features great diversity in family structures. Research reveals fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, sixteen states legalized same sex and transgendered marriages, two million adopted children live in the United States alone, while interracial unions remain legal since 1967. These statistic endorse the evolution of the mother prototype, from that of the 1950s for instance, exemplified by fictitious characters like June Cleaver. Today mothers derive from biological roots, adoption, single parenthood, stepmothers, same sex unions, foster custodians or all the above. And due to new age media, feminist movements, and plastic surgery these women may look younger, live longer and remarry multiple times, as in mine case. Currently, I hold custody of my three children. The two eldest are from a broken engagement (he married a woman with two kids) and share the third child with my current husband, whom has full custody of a son from a previous relationship. As the evolution to a progressive family dynamic occurred, it seemed to revolutionize societal doctrines that enforced what mothers should look like and instead beckoned she reinvent herself unconventionally and without conceding to social biases.

“If I photograph [a] generalized human being, everybody will recognize it. The more specific you are the more general it [the subject] will be.”
-Diane Arbus

“GIRL ANACHRONISM”

Experts say by the time we reach age three hippocampus, a portion of the brain used to store memories, has adequately matured to handle our first palpable recollections. It so happens that is the age I learned about death. Inadvertently, this provoked the initial stages of a series of panic and anxiety attacks that would haunt me through adulthood. By age ten, I experienced more ruthless traumatic incidences that intensified the disorder and consumed me. I was unreasonably needy, continuously felt a pending doom, and was certain I was born in the wrong century.  At fourteen, a friend unveiled a magical potion that relieved all distress: alcohol! I self medicated for decades before finding sobriety, therapy, and a healthy lifestyle demanding I deal with the underlining cause of my psychological malady: my fear of dying.
In 2006 I began an extensive research study of Claude Cahun for an essay. Cahun was a 19th century surrealist photographer, writer, and feminist whom experimented with self-portraiture as a way to inwardly escape the oppressions of Nazi regime. Using Cahun’s concept of photography as escapism, I began this series of self-portraits to illustrate extravagant fragments of the mental and physical agony I endure at the peak of a severe and intolerable episode. Although doctors have diagnosed my prognosis as promising, I continue to incorporate abstract fantasy tableaux of neurosis and emotions of angst as they shed light on my disease and create a cathartic and therapeutic neurological relief stimulated by the photographic discipline itself.

“Photography saved my life. Every time I go through something scary…I survive by taking pictures.” –Nan Goldin


 

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I secretly think that (like my father) I’m a painter at heart, but lack the patience. My point is I could have painted my concept, made a collage, written a song or poem. I mean let’s be honest, I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Mental illness has been a theme in art for decades Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” quickly comes to mind. Photography is simply my art tool of choice. There’s a definite immediacy about photography, but none of my images are spontaneous. There’s an intense amount of meticulous calculations that has occurred before the shutter is pressed that, believe it or not, is still “awing” to me.

What is your process when creating?

I tend to sketch a new vision on paper or write the idea for it on my smart phone first. It may sit there for moths or I may execute it within a week or two, provided I bought or have the materials needed.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

Well I’ve already mentioned my father, Claude Cahun and Nan Goldin. Jessica Woodman is another influence, but not just because her images have a volume that screams in my ears, but also because of their beauty.  The rich vibrant color pallets of Cig Harvey’s work are also inspiring to me. Or the soft, warm, and mysterious spaces of Utah Barth. Lately I’ve been seriously obsessed with Cristina De Middle’s work, who happens to be a friend that motivates me and believes in my work. But mostly I’m inspired by my amazing network of talented female friends and colleagues who bust their assess in this highly competitive field yet won’t take “no” for an answer.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?.

When you’re an immigrant, in any country I suppose, you don’t have to concern yourself with labels because others are doing it for you: government officials, bullies, employers and other women. SO I’m very caution is placing labels on myself. That being said however, I believe in the equal treatment and rights of all peoples. Especially those who cannot or don’t know how to defend or speak-up for themselves, or are denied that basic right. So under those beliefs, yes I would consider myself a feminist.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I am extremely impressed with your dedication to give a voice to the muted and the forum to showcase issues that others hide from by using art as your weapon.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously?

Do you have any experiences of this? Although we have made great achievements from the days of a young Gloria Steinem let’s say, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Personally I’ve either had to “dumb-down, dress-up, talk-down in order to not just be taken serious by men, but also (and this one hurts the most) to not seem a threat to other women.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?
Around the world? My goodness no! All you have to do is turn on the BBC and within ten minutes you can personally witness the exponential inequality worldwide. It’s really terrifying what some women must make acceptable in order to simply stay alive. You get a sense of hopelessness followed by a strong sense of power to know that you live in a country where you can still speak out and try to make changes.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?  

I  have a tremendous passion to help children that are in and out of foster care. My step-son, who believes is my biological son, was kept from his father (my husband, Glen) for many years due to his mother’s resentment over Glen and their volatile relationship. And even though Glen was fighting for custody, she was an active addict and my son was being tossed from one foster care to another, even though we were fighting to gain custody. I find they ethics of child protective services repulsive. One day I’d like to begin a photographic project about children in the system. I know exactly how I’ll go about it, I  just need the funds and the permission from the state, which is the hardest thing to clear.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

To me “Art Saves Lives” is simply a literal term that is exemplified in my life. Many times during a panic attack, state of deep depression or a moment of anxiety, I can simply pick up my camera begin photographing and it’s almost as if I am transported into a mental state of mind that soothing and authentic to my inner self. Art Saves Life is a lifestyle for me.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

When I was an undergrad student I never thought of art as a way to make a change in the world. I was a narcissistic, self absorb twenty something kid with one goal in mind: to become a rich and famous artist. It’s funny to think back now because nothing could be further from the truth. To choose a career as an artist means you are willing to let go of all those fantasies and work from the heart to create work you are proud of and hope that it somehow connects to an audience and maybe even touches someone. Ideally I’d like to live off my art one day and I still believe this will happen for me but I more than anything, I want my art to speak to someone and touch them deeply. But I’ll admit I didn’t begin with this objective in mind, and sometimes I still don’t. But it is certainly something I’ve been told my art is doing. And to me that is motivational and inspiring.

What are your goals as with your art?

My one and only goal is as long as I can stand, breath, see and hold a camera I want to create photographs that people are drawn to for their aesthetics, but might return to see them one more time for its merit. I want to see my images exposed to a large audience and one day have gallery representation. I also see myself teaching photography as a therapeutic release in rehabs or foster care facilities

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

Right now I am working intensely on editing a large series about my seven-year-old step-on and converting it into a multimedia book. I would like to complete the series “Faces of Love”, which you ( at Art Saves Lives) selected to showcase along with my series “Girl Anachronism.” I was also chosen to participate in the Annual New York Times FREE Portfolio Review (chosen from over 3500 entries!!) and am preparing a meticulous portfolio for this occasion. By the end of the year, I have plans to begin a new project regarding my father’s death from alcoholism two years ago. I have the images in my head but I need to finalize my four current projects before starting this one.

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

More than anything I want to thank you for selecting and believing in my work. It’s truly an honor to be one of your featured artists. I also want to thank my loving family for pushing me to not give up when times get tough and for their unconditional love.

If you would like to know more about ROCIO DE ALBA please follow the link:

Website

 

Durinda Montoya-Cearley has written an empowering children’s book which tells little girls they can be anything they wish to be.

Durinda Montoya-Cearley has written an empowering children’s book which tells little girls they can be anything they wish to be.

 

Durinda Montoya-Cearley
Durinda Montoya-Cearley

 

Durinda Montoya-Cearley, 54, Fresno, CA, U.S. talks to ASLI about her children’s book which has a powerful message; that girls can grow up to be anything they wish to be. Addressing the issue of stereotyping girls at a young age and how important it is to educate boys and girls that gender is not limiting nor exclusive. .

Throughout my childhood, like gypsies, my family moved frequently.  After high school, I joined the Air Force. Four years later, I then served in the DIA, which allowed me to travel & live overseas. Finally, I moved and settled down in San Luis Obispo, where I pursued a career in law enforcement and acquired a 2 year degree in Special Education and a B.S. degree in Anthropology/Sociology and Writing. I now call Fresno home and actively pursue numerous forms of artistic expression, from poetry to visual art and music.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of breaking free of female stereotypes in your art?

I was looking for a children’s book for a little girl that communicated that girls can be whatever they want to be when they grow up.  Being unsuccessful in finding such a book, I decided to create a picture book that expressed to little girls that they “can be anything they want to be, just wait and see.”

Tell us why you chose this submission?

“What In This Big World Can You Be?” breaks female stereotypes by letting little girls know that they can choose a career that would not be considered a typical career for a female.

 

What in this Big World Can You Be? By Durinda Montoya-Cearley
What in this Big World Can You Be?
By Durinda Montoya-Cearley

 

 

In days of yore, long before, a princess you would surely be, but times have changed and for you there are many more opportunities and much to see. For your dreams can take you and your adventurous bear  here, there and everywhere!
In days of yore, long before, a princess you would surely be, but times have changed and for you there are many more opportunities and much to see.
For your dreams can take you and your adventurous bear here, there and everywhere!

 

As a veterinarian, you could help giraffes, monkeys and elephants who may feel a little blue,  because animals need doctors too!
As a veterinarian, you could help giraffes, monkeys and elephants who may feel a little blue,
because animals need doctors too!

 

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I choose a picture book format to express a positive message in hopes it would be an easy and short book for parents to share before bedtime.  I hope the rhythmic rhyming storytelling style and simple artwork will attract young readers and help them to remember the message.

What is your process when creating?

For writing, the creative process comes in bits and pieces.  I always keep a pad and pen with me, because I never know when the fire of inspiration will spark the creation of the next verse or picture idea.  Then, I look at all my notes and organize them, then re-organize them until the story flows.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I am and was influenced by numerous experiences in life and by strong female role-models in history and those involved in current events.  Such women as Condoleezza Rice, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Katharine Hepburn, Ellen DeGeneres, Queen Elizabeth I.  Inspiration to create a painting, a musical composition, poetry, and writing comes from an active imagination that has remained with me since childhood.  For me, I must create, as it is who I am.  I have to have and thrive on artistic expression.  My current job and past positions do not define who I am, my art does.  I work a 9 to 5 job in order to create art.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

For me, feminism means being strong and confident and to venture off what is considered by society to be the normal path (for a woman).  And, balancing that independence and strength with a gentler side that does like doors opened for me, despite the fact I can open the doors myself.  Knowing I have a voice, I have an opinion, and knowing that voice and opinion is important and is not something to be ignored or silenced.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

There are so many countries even in today’s world where women struggle to have a voice, and where that voice is silenced by inherent beliefs or cultural influences, which are imposed by male governed societies.  These women are denied a voice.  Also, there are too many animals harmed and destroyed throughout the world.  These animals have no voice.

 

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

I feel women do have to struggle to break from social norms and stereotypes, and in some countries, this struggle is tremendous.   I have been fortunate, although I have entered careers that years ago were considered predominantly careers for men, my abilities and knowledge were not questioned and if they were, I was unaware.  But, I know I am an exception.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

No, I do not think women and men are equal in a number of societies around the world. My degree in Anthropology/Sociology and Writing taught that there are a number of countries where women struggle for not only equal rights, but fundamental rights as a human being.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc …..?

Issues I am passionate about are environmental issues, as these issues affect everyone worldwide. I am also passionate about children who live in impoverished communities, as their struggle to break free of that environment is great, and children who live in abusive family situations.  I graduated high school at the age of 16 and signed up for the Air Force immediately.  I did this to escape from the instability of a home environment of living with my mother, who was neglectful and abusive or living with my father, where I struggled to fit into a Hispanic community I knew nothing of and avoid the gang influences.  Additionally, I am concerned about saving wildlife and affects devastating ecosystems have on indigenous species.  I believe there exists a false impression that it does not matter to humans if ecosystems and the creatures that those systems sustain are destroyed.  We, earth, cannot lose more species than what we already have.  Even within this last decade, animals have gone the way of the Dodo bird, including the Baiji Dolphin, an intelligent mammal.  It makes you wonder, what did that last dolphin think while it swam alone in the Yangtze River looking for a mate.  Did it die a natural death or from loneliness.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

Art has always been part of me.  As a young child my imagination and art allowed me to escape the abusive and harsh world around me.  I spent most of my childhood and teen years secluded in my room, a safe haven, where I would draw or write about imagined places and secret worlds.  It saved me from the reality that existed beyond the bedroom door.

Art Saves Lives also means artist can convey important messages to those who may be unaware of certain situations or give encouragement to others to act to change a negative situation they know exists, but have ignored.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

I hope my art, whether it is a song or poem I wrote, a picture I painted or a picture book I wrote for little girls can have some positive change or touch someone; to whatever small degree.  Some songs/poems I have written have deep, personal messages about life struggles and overcoming those, maybe someone will look at a painting I created and feel the depth of emotion expressed on the canvas, or a little girl somewhere reads a short picture book entitled “What In This Big World Can You Be” and be inspired to pursue her dream of becoming a marine biologist.

What are your goals as with your art?

Regarding creating on canvas, my goal is to one day have a small studio, where not only my work can be displayed but that of other artist who also create to express emotions that  communicate to others.  One series of paintings I am working on centres on Breaking Free; Breaking Free can have many meanings – for one person it can mean breaking free from society norms, for someone else it can be breaking free from his or her past, it can be whatever someone wants the meaning to be.   Concerning writing, I hope to continue to create songs and poetry that conveys a message.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I would like to start working on writing and the artwork for another children’s book that expresses everyone is different and that’s okay.  I also have a concept to write a picture book about feelings and everything, every creature feels, no animal wants to be hurt or experience pain.

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

I hope, my creations, whether read (such as a picture book), seen (something created on canvas) or heard (a song or poem), can bring about some positive change, which is what ASLI is all about.  Thank you.

If you would like to know more about Durinda Montoya-Cearley please follow these links:

Website

Facebook Page 

Facebook Profile 

 

 

Composer Sophie Paulette Jupillat “I felt strong and happy when I made art, art truly saved my life and was my only hope”.

Composer Sophie Paulette Jupillat “I felt strong and happy when I made art, art truly saved my life and was my only hope”.

 

Sophie Paulette Jupillat
Sophie Paulette Jupillat

 

Sophie Paulette Jupillat, 21, Orlando, FL, U.S. Also known as Phoenix or PhoenixMusique. A French Venezuelan: born in Venezuela but adopted by French parents who moved to the US when Sophie was two. Sophie creates music which speaks to the core of you, it evokes memories and emotions which are hidden deep within oneself. We at ASLI fell in love with Sophie’s music and knew that this artist needed to be heard.

Growing up I was surrounded with books, art and music of all genres, which led to my unquenchable passion for writing and music.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of female stereotypes in your art?

As I was privileged in certain respects when growing up, particularly in the area of education, my childhood and teenage years were horrible and rife with emotional abuse. This opened my eyes at an early age to both the unfairness and the beauty of life. My appreciation for all things beautiful about the human race and the pursuit to make it better through art is a direct product of my environment.

I composed Simmering Soul as a response piece to a man’s comment about women’s emotions and ability to compose. He stated that women are too emotional to be able to compose great pieces on the level that Mozart or Liszt could. In addition, this piece was also a subtle lash out to my family, who thought I was ‘abnormally quiet’ for a girl. Stereotypes like these need to be brought down, and women need to find a place in the arts where they can be respected as much as their men counterparts. A woman should be as quiet as she wants, be able to create art how and when she wants, whether in the face of adversity, or in the embracing arms of nature. Womankind is a simmering spirit!

Simmering Soul begins with strings and piano quietly, mirroring how subdued I felt in my household. As the piece progresses, the strings and piano get louder, gaining a crescendo as the clarinet joins the fray. In the middle of the piece comes the peaceful vivid resolution: a swell of strings and clarinet with the piano in the background. Near the end of the piece a jazzy flair comes into play, and the accordion and horns make their appearance. It becomes a celebration of life, an emancipation of spirit: like I achieved through the completion of this piece, and the pursuit of my art; like the ardent journey women have made, and still have to make to achieve complete freedom.

 

 

Tell us why you chose this submission?

I saw this submission opportunity on Facebook and immediately decided to apply. Many contests for Women’s History Month pop up every year, but the earnestness with which Art Saves Lives promoted the submission invitation and its goal called to me on a personal level. I knew I had something special I could give.

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

There is no specific reason; whether I’m writing or composing music, whatever the heart of the art is, I choose what is best for it. For Simmering Soul and most of my music compositions, I tend to favour orchestral instruments; they give a polyphonic deep voice that I feel best conveys the emotion of the piece.

What is your process when creating?

It is very disorganized most of the time; often times, my music and writing pursue me! Sometimes, a tune floats into my head one day fully formed, with orchestral instruments and all, and I later go to my keyboard and transcribe what I can. Other times, I just mess around on the keyboard and find a melody that I like, then spend months polishing it up. For my writing, usually an idea springs into my head, or a dialogue between characters, or a line of description, and I write an outline of what I think the story or poem will be. It can take from one day to months and months to finish, depending on the work.

 

 

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I am influenced musically by big bands (like Benny Goodman and Gershwin) and the great composers (like Mancini and John Williams). I am also influenced by classical music and soft rock from the 70’s. I was classically trained as a pianist and have combined that with my love of jazz to create myself a genre. For my writing, I am influenced by classical French literature (like Hugo, Gautier, or Balzac), English literature, Gothic literature of all kinds, science fiction and mystery. Whether in music or art, and whatever the genre, I love writing about anything of the human condition, the reason for living, the beauty of nature..

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

To me, feminism means equal rights for men and women in all aspects of social, political, cultural, scientific, and economic life. The fact that in the 21st century, women are still lesser than men, if not in the work place (such as having a lesser salary), then socially (such as in all the stereotypes degrading women—the list is endless), is an outrage. I am a feminist, yes, in the sense that I feel we women shouldn’t be treated as property, and are just as capable as men of doing things. However, I am not of the ‘Nazi feminist’ trend that is sadly emerging in our society today due to misunderstandings and unwillingness to face facts on the part of both men and women.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

One hears a lot about various organizations trying to raise awareness during Women’s History Month. Usually, though, these types of organizations look for something very specific, often shunning the many varied issues that Women’s History Month raises by its nature. Some are limited to one form of art. ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL drew my attention because its mission is universal, both to contributors and to the public.  It welcomed all types of art that women can do, instead of selecting just one. The content ASLI called for was about issues that are deeply resonant in our world today: education, violence, stereotypes, equal rights, all very real and very insidious problems that need to be addressed.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

Sadly, yes, I do feel we have to project an image in order to be taken seriously, specifically at work and at school. Sometimes, I feel we are discouraged from taking certain paths because ‘men will always do it better.’ For example, for a time, I was a computer science major, and the number of silently or overtly derisive attitudes this evinced was astonishing. The mentality is: women cannot do science. I had a similar experience with music. I’ve been composing since I was 13. I made a male close family friend listen to a few of my compositions one day, and he said they were nice, but it was obvious a woman wrote them. He said it was obvious because women’s inherent approach to music is “daintier and lighter than a man’s. There aren’t female equivalents of Rachmaninoffs, powerful composers,” he said. It made my blood boil.

During interviews, on the other hand, I’ve felt that I’ve had to play up my femininity in order to be taken seriously. The demands placed on women to be a certain way is much more intense than for men. Just taking a look at ads today, the woman has to be curvy but skinny, sexy, all done up, and smart, but not too much because after all, she is to be desired by men, but not be competition. She has to cook, be a mother and be the ‘ideal wife.’ Even women reinforce stereotypes among themselves! My own mother told me to be independent, and yet she insisted I be a good cook, a housekeeper, and always dressed up to the nines no matter where I was.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

Definitely not, as you can see from what I’ve stated above, and in Third World countries the situation is even worse.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

I am passionate about equality, for everybody. I am passionate about equal income, about women’s rights, about the education and care of children, particularly adopted ones. I have volunteered at children’s summer camps, art camps, and would do it again. I also would volunteer for anything concerning the arts and/or languages.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

ART SAVES LIVES means exactly what it says. Art has the potential to touch the human psyche in a deep and life-influencing way; it can inspire one to do so much. Art definitely saved my life during my teenage years of emotional abuse. When my own adoptive parents were telling me I would be a failure, and that my art was nothing special, that I could never do anything with it, plunging ahead and creating was my coping method. Being able to write creatively and play music was my own secret garden in my family world of chaos and destruction. If I felt worthless back then, at least I felt like my own person. I felt strong and happy when I made art. Art truly saved my life and was my only hope.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

My music and writing can be used to inspire awareness of the beauty of the world around us, to appeal to the better human in all of us. I like to think that as I always put so much of myself in all my work, people around the world who can experience my art will find themselves mentally communicating and communing with my art. I also think that by the very act of creating art, I can inspire fellow women to do the same, regardless of their background: Whether one was born in luxury, or whether one was born in a Venezuelan barrio (as is my case), one can achieve great heights.

 

 

What are your goals as with your art?

My goal is to keep perfecting my art and touching people’s lives. It is my hope one day to be a published novelist and poet, as well as a film composer.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I have so many I can’t list them all. But a couple of my ongoing musical projects are varying instrumental jazz pieces, a techno piece, and a Russian waltz (part of my three part Waltz of the Romanov’s series). Writing-wise, I am working on a play, several science fiction stories, a Gothic novella, a short story, and poetry.

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

No, just that I am very honoured to be a part of this project and would love to contribute more in the future!

If you would like to know more about Sophie Paulette Jupillat follow these links:

SoundCloud

Facebook

Linked In

 

ASLI Exhibition at The Art House – Event Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

THE EVENT – IN PICTURES

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLOTTE FARHAN

 

The Art House - Southampton - THE VENUE
The Art House – Southampton – THE VENUE

 

 

Mural and story board of the project - created by Lisa Reeve and Charlotte Farhan
Mural and story board of the project – created by Lisa Reeve and Charlotte Farhan

 

 

 

Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition – Art By Charlotte Farhan

 

 

 

The creative zone - Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
The creative zone – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

 

The Art House - Southampton - http://thearthousesouthampton.org/
The Art House – Southampton – http://thearthousesouthampton.org/

 

Photography

By Anna Bispham

The ASLI Photo Booth

 

Mohammed - Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Mohammed – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Lesley and John -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Lesley and John – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Bex -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Bex – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Matthew and Ann -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Matthew and Ann – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

 

Becky -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Becky – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Lisa -  Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Lisa – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

Charlotte - Art Saves Lives International - Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition
Charlotte – Art Saves Lives International – Launch Night for the Bursledon House Project and Exhibition

 

 

Thank you for looking please follow this link 

to view the exhibition by the children of Bursledon House

 

PLEASE DONATE 

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED

YOUR SUPPORT IS IMPORTANT

THANK YOU FROM EVERYONE AT ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL
THANK YOU FROM EVERYONE AT ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL