Bianca Velasquez at 35×35

Bianca Velasquez, “Easy to Raise,” 2023, beadwork/acrylic on recycled canvas, 36 x 36 in.

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.

The work is a tapestry-like assemblage composed of various beaded panels that come together to form a quilt of images and patterns. Each panel appears to have its own theme and color scheme, yet they all contribute to a cohesive narrative.

Starting from the top, the panels are rich in texture and vibrant in color, with the use of beads creating a tactile surface that invites the viewer to contemplate the intricacy of the work. The images range from abstract patterns to more recognizable forms such as human figures and architectural elements. The interplay between different shapes and the varied beadwork techniques suggest a depth of content behind each section.

Central to the piece is a panel with two human silhouettes standing out against a bright yellow background. This could symbolize the artist’s intention to highlight certain memories or experiences that are vivid in their recollection. Surrounding this are panels with more serene imagery, such as a swan and what appears to be a domestic interior, possibly representing moments of peace or reflection.

The lower section of the artwork features a wave-like pattern that suggests a journey or the flow of time, underscoring the notion of processing pain and trauma over a period. This movement might represent the undulating process of healing, with its ebbs and flows.

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 35×35Finch Lane Gallery, Salt Lake City, through Feb. 23

Categories: 35x35

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.