Cierra G. Rowe

When something is a part of you, you don't know what to call it because it is simply there. You only know the words and terms accepted by a majority to refer to something as. That is how you know that something is truly yours; when you don't need a word to define it. Painting is no different. I often wonder why it is called ''painting''. Maybe pain begets creation. The world does not stop for your pain, so in dark times you must gather things to make your own light. You learn to survive and pick up the pieces. Art was my glue and now it's my wood. I have always been artistic and like writing, painting has always been a natural thing. With gratitude, I feel that I didn't really have a choice in embracing it.

My style of painting was born out of trauma and further moulded through an interest in sculpting and years of emotional and exhaustive soul-searching. I am a minimalist. My approach to painting is simplicity. Growing up as an outsider, I understood from a young age that opinions are the invisible hands that often shape people. It seems that one cannot exist without being afraid of being misunderstood. You become invisible when you allow others to dictate your expression and influence who you are. For that reason I carved my own path for what and how I feel compelled to express myself. I am self-taught, having no funds or interest in attending art schools. Despite being self-taught, my paintings have often been compared to notable artists of the past. Comparisons are often inescapable. No matter your medium or love language, you are bound to be compared to someone else. From the very beginning of tasting art as a child and into womanhood I have always embraced my style and never allowed opinions to shape how or what I paint.

I grew up in a very southern area. A sleepy one stoplight town of distant houses and spacious fields, peppered with barns and enfolded by endless masses of dense and eerie trees. It is the kind of a place that is easily forgotten, bleak and intensely quiet.

I am asked why I paint or why I paint certain things. Wouldn't it be lovely to always have the right words to explain everything in such a way and to such a degree that everyone completely understands? But I'm imperfect and accept that it is ok to not have the words sometimes. Things change. I'm human and like everyone, I am complicated by life's experiences. I like painting forms that interact in a natural setting, albeit abstract but natural in the sense of nature, closeness and other elements. I have different experiences which have shaped me (like everyone) so when I paint my human beings I want to focus on important aspects and those aspects transcend physicality, language and anatomical correctness.

My paintings hold meaning because I capture what is important to me, in my own way. It is an intimate experience to take a blank canvas and fill it with soul and significance. My art is emotional and abstract. I dislike the exactness of things and because of this my paintings have an edge to them - something that makes them distinct and special.

As an artist, I have no control in how someone else interprets my paintings. I feel that most works of art have their mysteries. It is stimulating to feel as though you are a part of them - through gazing into them.