Christine Stoddard: “Collision is Sometimes the Most Effective Way to Communicate”

Artist name: Christine Stoddard

Featured Work 1: Representations of the Feminine in Tissue Paper 

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Christine Stoddard produces an incredibly diverse and intriguing body of work. Through all manner of media, from sculptural to sound to film to digital collage to comics to literature, she explores on every front, creating engaging, layered, esoteric, narrative and at times, provocative works. Her breadth of talent is amazing and I’m excited to see where she journeys next.

Featured Works Slideshow:

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5 Questions for the Artist:

1. What is art to you?

Art is the creative and emotional translation of our experiences and perceptions into a visual, written, or aural realization that incites conversation. Encountering art stirs our hearts and minds. I aim to make art and be changed by art because I believe in the power of personal and social conversation.

2. What did you make in the past, and why?

I’ve always been a multi-practitioner, in part because I like to experiment, but also because I usually start with my narrative or message first. Then I decide which medium will best communicate what I have in mind. I have made everything from ‘zines to paintings to digital poetry projects to documentaries, and more. I have adapted, as necessary, to my other commitments and budget. Sometimes I have to put a project off because of funding or other deadlines, but, when that’s the case, I’ll make a note to revisit and possibly pursue that project in the future. No artist exists without limitations and pressures unrelated to their art.

3. What are you making now, and why?

For the past two years, I’ve mainly concentrated on fiction, poetry, comics, and collages. I write wherever I am in part because that’s often how I best express myself immediately, but also because it’s inexpensive and requires nobody else’s input and virtually no funding. I make comics because it’s also something I can do in solitude, but also because I like finding the humor in serious things. Humor enables us to talk about complicated issues without aggression. I make collages—really more like mixed media paintings using acrylic, tissue paper, and found objects—because I enjoy mixing textures and images. Collision is sometimes the most effective way to communicate. Plus, it’s an inexpensive art form. I use almost exclusively recycled canvases and other materials. Right now I’m trying to move toward animating my collages into auteur films, which is something I first dabbled with while studying at VCUarts.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

It’s simple: I really just want to keep creating and bringing my work to new audiences. In many ways, it’s often more challenging for women to continue with their art than it is for men. We don’t receive the same amount of support or acceptance for our art. We sell our work less often and for less money, and we earn fewer grants and cash prizes, too. Regardless of industry and career, it’s even more difficult for women who are trying to be both mothers and professionals. I’m especially concerned about how I will continue making art once I become a mother. I know I will make art no matter what, but it’s the question of what I will have to sacrifice that concerns me. I hope that I can be an artist and a mother in the sanest way possible.

5. What else would you like to say?

I want to thank my parents for supporting my choice to transfer to VCUarts from a private liberal arts college where I had a full scholarship. I know it was not an easy decision for them to accept at first because, like most parents, they wanted me to live a comfortable, predictable life. If I had decided to become a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, for instance, my trajectory would have been much clearer. But I would not have been happy. Even if the life I have made as an artist is not always easy, it is the only one I can imagine for myself. Like everyone, I have certain gifts and I’m lucky in that I’ve figured out what they are and how to use them. I’m also lucky to have such a compassionate husband who sees me through the ups and downs. For every high, there are many lows.

Artist Supplied Background:

Christine Stoddard is a Salvadoran-Scottish-American artist and writer originally from Virginia. Her visual work has appeared in the Condé Nast Building in Times Square, the New York Transit Museum, the Poe Museum, the Ground Zero Hurricane Katrina Museum, and other venues. Her writings, comics, photos, and collages have been published in Marie Claire, The Huffington Post, Bustle, Native Peoples Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Ravishly, and elsewhere. As a performer, she has made live collages and read her poetry and stories at the New York City Poetry Festival, the Annapolis Fringe Festival, STooPs Bed-Stuy, and other events. In 2014, Folio Magazine named her one of the top 20 media visionaries in their 20s for founding Quail Bell Magazine. Christine also is the author of Hispanic and Latino Heritage in Virginia (The History Press) and the co-author of the book Images of America: Richmond Cemeteries (Arcadia Publishing). She has co-edited two Quail Bell anthologies, The Nest and Airborne, and contributed to other books, as well.

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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers
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