Philadelphia based visual Artist Uriah Bussey on gender, race, her style and inspirations.
Being a woman of color is influential on my artistry each day I exist. I have created pieces that involved many aspects to my identity. In performance, it is a way for me to respond to the world or myself in that medium while using materials that I believe I Identify with. That may be Marley hair, or charcoal, or spite bite on zinc plates.
All in while I have always been a primary drawer first since a child. How I view myself, and how can I be more comfortable in my body as a woman has been the drive of my drawings for quite some time. This I had not realized before. That this is what was driving me to make so many self-portraits, reflecting on my body as is helps me accept me in my current state and what is yet to come. But it is also by the experience of wanting to find many narratives within one sitting of intensely looking at myself. Drawing figures in my life and self portraits as a woman is way for me to respond to my own anxieties, my loved ones, and life’s changes.
"I think naturally being a strong drawer has helped me break my life drawing skills abit to get to my own style. I was taught many drawing exercises throughout life to get familiar with life drawing such as “blind contour”. Bind contours help me get more comfortable with my subject prior to a long study. Now I am beginning to make larger environments combining many exercises in one composition and making my own language in that way. I am beginning to find new ways of communicating through my art through color, painting, photography and collage. My college experience helped me realize what stories I want to continue telling. All of my responses in art making derive from a certain medium sometimes,. Because at times it is the medium that is the answer for what my soul is calling for.
I look up to many women contemporary artists like Mickalene Thomas, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Carrie Mae Weems and Jordan Casteel. Their fantastic portraiture and figurative works of their communities, loved ones, and peers really help inspire me to reflect the same in my art. I love to see more of my community in museums and institutions. I grew up watching my mother make art of her children. I grew up feeling that all of my blackness was considered art. Telling life from our experience, our traditions, our perspective, it was one of the most liberating feelings I have had in the process of becoming a Visual Artist today."
Follow Uriah on instagram @uriahb_