The artwork of Raquel Sturges, an artist from San Francisco, California, is composed of delicate line work and stylized textures. Sturges, a self-taught artist, has managed to create with the stroke of a pen, artwork that dances and vibrates with life. She spoke with ArtSeen about her artwork and her artistic inspirations.
Can you tell us a little about your artwork, artistic background and artistic processes?
I do all my work in ink. At times I have pieces that have charcoal or pastels inserted in the drawing but I love my India Ink, markers, and various types of pens. I draw on heavy stock paper and canvas paper. I have a few "paintings" floating out there but I used paint pens...I LOVE those!
I have no formal background in art; I started drawing last year in July to help me with my long battle with depression caused by PTSD from traumatic childhood abuse.
I have no artistic process. I draw from emotions and my daily life. I don't ever plan out my drawings and often I don't pre-sketch. I find that I lose some momentum when I sit and plan and grid. I just uncap and go. One thing that most do not know is that I always start with a swirl and see where it takes me. True story!
What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?
My inspiration comes from the simple fact that art brings me wellness, peace of mind, and an uncluttered head that was once filled with voices of the past and visions of childhood abuse.
I create so I can put my story on paper without the use of words or explanations. My patterns, lines, and swirls are my stories.
What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?
In my early work I focused on getting a lot of sadness and pain out of my head and onto the paper. As time passed and I learned to deal and accept my past, I started to draw from my daily happy thoughts and just life in general. I don't really stick with a theme. I have done a couple of series but in general my drawings and whimsical images just happen.
Are there any artists that inspire you? If so who would they be and why?
My absolute favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh; the lines, swirls, and flow of his work just speak to my quirkiness.
As I embarked on my journey through art I have met and connected with some fabulous people; my art friends. They are amazing because they do not bend to please anybody but themselves, they have conviction in their work, and you can feel the passion in what they create. I started a group on FB that is strictly for artists; a community of sort that provides info on upcoming shows or publications, etc. It's a small group but what talents: Stephen Ford, Gerry Madness, Kevin J. Bates, Jesse N. Molina, Fernando Barron, Jeannie Scott Hesse, Noel Zepeda and every single one from my group “UNITED COLORS OF ARTISTS.” Under the generous guidance of artist and magazine owner Johnny Esq Otilano, our group was able to publish a limited edition magazine available to the public with part of the proceeds going to charity. It's a great collection of works from members of my group!
What do you think the role of the artist is?
Wow, I find this question to be a difficult one to answer. I want to answer this just from my own thoughts on what MY role is as an artist.
I want to inspire and to motivate others. If I could simply touch one person with my work then I would feel that I have done my job. I want people to know that just because you suffered most of your life from traumatic events it does not mean that it defines who you are as a person or who you are today. It is far easier to fall into the trap of alcohol or drug addiction to simply "forget." It is harder to face it and move forward but it can be done. You can undo your way of thinking and self blame for things that happened in your past. I am proof that it can be done.
What projects or gallery shows would you consider career highlights or personally important to you as an artist?
A highlight for me would be to do a public installation of my work, something huge like maybe for FB headquarters or Google. But let me say this; I treat every show, gallery, event, or ArtWalks equally. I prepare and give it my 200%! I consider every magazine that I have been published in a highlight and I get excited every time I do a show and I get to connect with my audience.
And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?
Here is my advice for others; they won't come to you or seek you out. You, as the artist, must put your work out there, talk to anybody who will listen, answer their questions. Don't get discouraged so easily. Create, share, connect!
Oh, and always smile. They love it when I smile!
For more information about Sturges and her artwork, you can visit her website and Facebook page for more details.
All images provided by Raqel Sturges.