A Little About Me

Photo credit: Olvia Kram

Photo credit: Olvia Kram

Photo credit: Max Platt

Photo credit: Max Platt

Photo credit: Charlie Kerhin

Photo credit: Charlie Kerhin

personal statement

I’m interested in connections, both between people and between people and the rest of creation. Above all else, I value art that reminds us of our duties to each other and to the world, redefining who is included in our idea of “us.” Can Muslims and Christians both be part of our community? Can E. Coli and brassicas be part of our community? I have several ongoing projects that explore those themes in different ways.

Paper Dolls

My paper doll series deals primarily with representation and beauty norms. Articulated paper dolls are made of several pieces that are pinned together, which allows for both movement of the doll and for selection of which pieces go together. I’m developing a paper doll coloring book that allows people to color doll parts however they want, whether to resemble themselves or fantasy alien bodies or something in between. I especially want to challenge the idea that humans with fat, queer, and black bodies are less beautiful or valuable. There are also many, many kinds of fat, queer, and black people. Being able to mix and match doll parts opens up more possibilities for honest representation.

This fall I'm producing a paper doll coloring book about witchy gardeners. These dolls are full of dandelion tattoos, ladybug patterned shirts, jewelry made from seeds, and other accessories that symbolize connection with the natural world.

Mandalas

I work with a mandala-inspired form that prominently features concentric circles to represent how life on Earth is connected by big cycles. I often treat each ring of the circle as a slice from a separate universe: shadows and light, for example, might not carry over from one part of the drawing to the next. Through juxtaposition, I suggest a narrative between ideas and creatures we hold separate in our minds. I play with both patterns, both visual and functional.  

My hope is to inspire the viewer to seek connections between ostensibly unrelated systems --because in reality everything is connected, and that connection is what keeps the cycle of life going-- and reinvigorate childlike wonder. Each piece is a form of prayer: I think about the creatures I'm drawing and how they enable me to exist, and I pray that the fragile connections between all things hold. I think about my own eventual death and meditate on what systems and creatures my body will feed, and I pray to remember and find peace in that fact. This is what comes to mind when I think of "life after death."

Materials and Processes

Primarily, I work with pencils and marker on paper. I also sometimes use watercolor, acrylic, and pastels, often in conjunction with pencil and marker. All of my work features distinctive ink line art with delicate detail and vibrant colors, flirting with photorealism but remaining stylized.

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other places to find my work

  • Vix Emporium (West Philly)
  • The Wooden Shoe Anarchist Bookstore (South Central Pilly)

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You can also reach me by email at yonayurwitart@gmail.com .

Thanks for visiting!