American collage artist Ughism is restless, determined and slightly displaced. Having recently flown to and taken part in The Art Of Metanoia's Atlanta exhibition, a forum allowing young POC to express themselves freely and with no bounds in an array of artistic disciplines, Ughism has returned wanting more. More from her hometown. More for her art. More for herself.
She describes her trip to Atlanta as a form of reverse culture shock. The outpouring of positivity and unity experienced there was something she feels is missing from Iowa, the place that (for now) she calls home. "I'm determined to live my dream full fledged which to me, means that's all I do. I really like being able to go places and meet people. I'd love to live somewhere they cared about art more", Ughism lamented. Atlanta only enforced these desires, "There was something really beautiful about giving these people of colour a platform - from the art on the walls to the clothes being worn by people, it was amazing. The curator didn't realize I was flying in for the event, so her surprise when I arrived was the funniest part. I'm pretty anonymous on social media and for me, this was something I never thought I'd be a part of but I'm so happy to have experienced it. I don't know what to do with myself now that I'm back, away from all those beautiful people."
Despite these misgivings, Ughism hasn't let that stop her creating a body of collage work that centers on the human form, nature, the juxtaposition of beauty and ugliness, passion, personal relationships and classic art turned on it's head. Never leaning on tired forms, Ughism is expressing herself outwardly and proudly despite admitting that she is often unorganized. “I have so many pieces that I’ve misplaced or forgotten about and that’s why I post them (to Instagram) late I am trying to improve though”.
Ughisms’ feelings about social media are in line with a lot of artists I talk to. “It has the ability to bring forth opportunities if you use it correctly”, she explains, “The worst thing is the feeling of the need to create new work to keep your audience engaged or following. It puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on artists, considering it’s free content most of the time. Everything moves so fast, it’s keep up or get left behind”.
A Libra with no huge interest in horoscopes (apart from her own) Ughism revealed a few curios in our conversation such as her fear of jellyfish, a superstition of splitting poles and the proud childhood achievement of winning a Jump Rope For Heart tournament. Her vision for the future is one where “I can be happy and doing what I love as a career. I don’t really care for the money aspect, it’s about feeling happy”, and I for one hope she finds it.