Sep 30, 2015

Artist to Watch | Ambivalently Yours

"Learning more about feminism and making it a central factor in my work, gave me the tools I needed to stand up for myself and question the unfair things I had always taken for granted." 

We know about a lot of artists that we feel you should know about. This week we reached out to this particular artist that we both love, and we asked her if she'd be willing to answer some questions for you guys. 

She's an anonymous feminist artist that goes by the name of Ambivalently Yours. You can find her art on her Tumblr and Instagram, which she uses as a way to communicate with her followers. They share with her their feminist feelings and questions and she turns them into iconic art pieces. She is currently featured in two exhibits; one at the Café L'Artère which is coming to an end this October 1st and one at the Monastiraki which I was able to go to this past weekend. You can check out the post we made about it here

E.S.: Montreal is a pretty big place to start, and we think it's a perfect place to do it. It's surrounded with so much culture and love for the arts but your art has still been criticized to bits and pieces by people here mostly because of how you portrayed/expressed your feelings towards feminist issues. What does it feel like to experience your art being shown on a completely different platform and reaching so many people? What other cities would you like to exhibit in? 

A.Y.: Feminism is a really complex movement that touches everyone on a really emotional level, so I think that any artist dealing with feminist issues is going to eventually face criticism and push back. The whole process and all the criticism I have received has forced me to think about everything I do and to decide for myself what kind of work I want to put out into the world. It’s always terrifying to show your work in a public venue, be it the Internet or in an exhibition space, but part of being an artist is taking the risks and learning from your failures. I’m excited to be showing my work in Montreal because as you said, it is a great city and I hope that my recent exhibitions will help me connect with other artists and feminists. I also hope that I will eventually be able to exhibit in other places, especially places where people will challenge me by offering a completely different outlook on my work.

E.S.: Obviously feminism is very close to your heart and you feel very strongly about it. What does feminism mean to you? What would you say to those who are afraid to label themselves as feminists?

A.Y.: Every time someone asks me this question, I seem to give a different answer, as my definition of feminism is constantly evolving. My favourite feminist-defining quote is by writer Kate Bailey who states, in an article for the Glasgow-based zine TYCI  :  “feminism is the tool by which we achieve equality, feminism is not a result nor tangible goal.” In other words, feminism is not an answer to a question; it is the questions you ask while looking for an answer.

I used to be really reluctant to call myself a feminist, so I completely understand when others feel that way too. I didn’t want to be mislabeled as angry or hysterical, as feminists often are. But eventually all of the inequalities I was experiencing and witnessing became too harmful to ignore. Learning more about feminism and making it a central factor in my work, gave me the tools I needed to stand up for myself and question the unfair things I had always taken for granted. 


E.S.: One of our favorites is your "Her Success is not your failure" piece. Which ones are some of your favorites?

AY: It’s too hard to pick a favourite. It changes all the time, depending on my mood.

E.S.: We find it so great that you have such an active fan base. We rarely ever see that interaction with artists. What's it like to have this interaction? To be this close to people who follow your work?

A.Y.: It’s really amazing and inspiring. I’ve received a lot of support from people on Tumblr, Instagram and other social media platforms. People have been very generous with their words of encouragements and in sharing their stories with me. It has made my practice more collaborative and less self-centered, and has inspired me to look at feminism and art in ways I never would have been able to reach on my own. For example, the interactivity in my work has taught me that different people have different definitions of feminism, and while our struggles may be similar, our experiences and needs are never universal. 
E.S.: What are your next big plans career wise? Where would you like your art to go from here?

A.Y.: I am currently working on a short film with the support of Oboro artist-run centre in Montreal. It will be released in the Spring. I am also looking into organising more art shows and hosting more art events. My next event is a Feminist Drawing Night that I am hosting with DJ Killjoy this Thursday at Café l’Artère, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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We hope you enjoyed this interview with Ambivalently Yours. And we just want to thank her for being so kind and letting us interview her. If you haven't heard of her you should definitely check her out ! She even has a shop and is selling some zines which you can buy here! ( Vol. 1 | Vol. 2 | Vol. 3) Thank you once again Ambivalently Yours. 


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