Exhibit by Alma Sheppard-Matsuo
Stories are near and dear to all people, all cultures, across time. Stories are how we make sense of things, explore each other, our roles, our creation and our creations. Telling or listening to a story can give us time to explore why something is and perhaps question why it is that way, or why it is different for ourselves. We can find empathy and rage with peoples who otherwise are not relatable. I have loved stories always, been fascinated by folklore and fairy tales. Drawing the stories seemed strong to me – my thinking is very visual, and while I am hugely inspired by oral and written traditions, these stories come out of me in pictures.
Visual art can give rest or play to others while presenting a strong idea – just like stories. Loving stories, I’ve made prints of several that especially inspire me in their images and message. Working with a number of creative social and political ally groups, I’ve learned how art can be used to make a strong statement – but playfully, or with directed anger, with welcome, somehow steering and opening the conversation in ways that can be awkward with speech alone.
My training as an animator, and from studying dance many years as a child, made me fascinated with line and bodies. How flat, two-dimensional marks can convey weight, angles, flab, tone and movement. The prints here contain my love of strong line and simple color for all uses.
Alma is an illustrator and designer from Brooklyn, NY. Having graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in traditional animation, she has since made posters, books, zines and puppets for many friends and groups in NYC, including Great Small Works, Chinese Theatre Works and Free University NYC. She lives and works in BedStuy, splitting time between teaching and freelancing.