As the title of this work suggests, Bianca Velasquez wanted to be “Easy to Raise.” She wanted to avoid being a difficult child and give her parents another thing to worry about. As an adult, however, Velasquez has returned to her childhood experience and in this work records her recovery in dealing with PTSD from her youth. “This piece is about giving space to process that pain and trauma as I muted the traumatic events during childhood,” she says. The use of beads, with their meticulous and labor-intensive application, implies a meditative practice through which the artist reflects on and processes these emotions.
Velasquez has been active in Salt Lake City’s music and art scene for more than a decade, working as a freelance writer for several publications, as an editor for SLUG magazine and as vice-chair for Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts.
As an artist she works both with paint and with beadwork. She says the latter especially “has handed me a tool to chip away at the internal work necessary for healing. It has also opened a connecting door to my Honduran lineage through the beading tradition. While my work can be abstract and primal, I hope to tell short stories through details that resonate with others who have ever felt the same type of intangible despair that comes with mental health issues.”
Artists of Utah’s 35×35, Finch Lane Gallery, Salt Lake City, through Feb. 23
UTAH’S ART MAGAZINE SINCE 2001, 15 Bytes is published by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.