Exploring Identity & Expression : Artist Interview With Heather Polk
1. Tell us what does ‘art’ mean to you? And, What does being an artist means to you?
Being an artist is a form of expression and freedom. I think art is deeply personal and many people are ashamed to make art and express themselves because of previous criticism or fear of being criticized. Art is about power and vulnerability coexisting and simultaneously occurring when one creates. I think art masterfully provokes conversation, tugs at our senses, and is always looking for a response from the artist and the observer.
4. What kind of art do you do/make? And, why?
I make collages and abstract paint. I used to make jewelry. I wanted to make collage immediately after going to a Romare Bearden exhibition. Collage is the perfect intersection of two things I love – art & magazines. I like abstract painting for a couple of reasons – its meditative and I love experimenting and seeing what the paint will do.
5. Tell us a little about earliest memory of making art!
I don’t recall a very early memory of making visual art. I have always been creative and enjoyed creating in multiple mediums. I have doodled in notebooks and on paper as long as I can remember. I remember my mom giving me a book of poems in elementary school and winning a creative writing contest in middle school. I used to want to write books of poetry and publish them. I’m pleased with my current creative mediums. Occasionally, I write these entries that i call “mood writings” which I usually type on my phone. One day some of the words might make a way into some multimedia pieces.
6. Tell us about the first time you called yourself an artist.
In 2019 I started calling myself an artist. I was committed to walking the walk and not just dabbling. I have been a creative dabbler and had creative hustles. I found mediums that I wanted to commit to. That’s not to say I might not ever create jewelry again or incorporate some of those learnings into future work, but i have decisively pivoted to what brings me the most joy and contentment.
7. What do you enjoy the most about being an artist?
I enjoy working with my hands and bringing an idea forward by manipulating paper and paint. I enjoy creating uplifting images with Black bodies prominently featured in my work. I enjoy the freedom to express my ideas and feelings through art.
8. What have been your biggest struggles as an artist so far?
TIME – might be my biggest struggle. I make art at night and on the weekends. Sometimes it’s hard to just shut down with ideas are flowing, but rest is essential. I’m a night owl naturally, so I really have to try and exercise discipline with going to bed at a decent hour every night.
9. What inspires you to make art?
I make art I want to see on my walls. I didn’t grow up seeing a lot of Black art. But I saw a lot of beautiful Black people in my life personally or in magazines. I have always enjoyed color and some colorful abstract art is so dreamy to me. Color communicates a lot – we are programmed to interpret color and all to often we accept other people’s programming. Painting puts that power in my hands, I get to express a narrative with color and a brush and invite someone to see things the way I do.
10. What does “Within Isolation” means to you? & How has the idea of isolation evolved for you in 2020?
I like my alone time. I’m an extrovert who also cherishes personal privacy. Isolation isn’t always bad. I wish more people protected their privacy and self-isolated. My private time is an opportunity to recharge, to meditate, to pray, to reflect, to plan and very often a time to create. Specifically, 2020 and the pandemic’s forced isolation has given me a tremendous amount of time to do a lot of self-reflection and commit to doing some things I had been procrastinating in doing or to study more in depth.
12. As a community, we all have experienced within isolation in one form or another; how have you come out as an artist and what are you looking forward to this year?
I learned to better listen to and trust my inner voice. I learned how to more quickly squash self doubt. I learned how to better speak up for myself. I learned how to move forward without all the answers, but trusting it would get worked out.
13. Your message for other artsy hearts
Follow YOUR heart!
14. Artist’s on your heart list you would like to shout out!
Too many to name, but everyone making collages, making abstract paintings and taking pictures has a special place in my heart.
15. Where can we find you on the internet & otherwise?
Instagram : www.artcuresall.com
About the Artist & her work:
Art C.U.R.E.S All is the brainchild of Heather Polk.
Heather is a sales and marketing professional with an active art practice that fills her nights and weekends. She resides in Chicago where she relocated from Atlanta almost 10 years ago. She is working toward establishing a small art studio that will deliver programming for sufferers of chronic disease so that they, and their caretakers, may utilize the empowerment of artistic creativity as a vital part of their disease management. Her art practice is centered around collage and abstract painting.My work is informed by my personal experiences, observations, and curiosities. My love of bold color, flowers, and hearts anchor a lot of my work and genuinely reflect my soul and personality. I use my creativity as a way of exploring Black Americans humanity, fragility and connectedness to the African diaspora. I have found my creative flow when I’m working and it feels effortless and meditative.
Never forget, creativity unleashed rewards every soul.