I think for me art has and always will be my escape from the monotony of hectic daily routines. I am a Sri Lankan American and the first U.S. citizen in my whole family. I have always felt like an outsider, and much of my life has been molded by this duty to conform but achieve greatness through conformity. This idea of and this persona of overachieving has been embedded into my framework and I think the biggest thing that art provides is rebranding myself and those who view it that I am different. I embrace my eccentricities and performance art is a way for me to put my aesthetic visions and ideas into a form. I often spend my time concentrating on others, my life has been dictated by the happiness of others before my own but that is what brings me happiness. I think this is why I dwell even more so on anticipating certain reactions with pieces, that is my motivation the response that I will provoke from viewers or even provoking them to watch but not be able to look away and even just mull over in their minds trying to make sense of what they are seeing.
My process is spur of the moment, sometimes I just have an idea and I don’t tell anyone about it- I just do it and I’m sure the admissions office must love me for it. Conceptually my work is inspired through discussions in my multimedia class, different visions that come to me while listening to artist talks at the Phillips Collection and are often in conjunction with a gasp, stifled smile, and wide eyes.
I’ve recognized my own development as an artist and the work that I began when I was a freshman compared to now there is significant change in the caliber of what is being presented. Going from being shyer about things, to truly being up to taking on challenges and risks that I would have been too afraid to try in prior years. I feel like I overcame my own ego in a way and put that all aside and just focused on creating art. There’s certainly a different type of adrenaline rush from becoming the spectacle and I feel as though this strange stage that I set drives my motivation and I accept it without embarrassment. I’ve definitely grown to become more confident in myself and in my artwork. I stopped waiting for approval and just produced, sometimes the institution of art becomes exhaustive but I suppose a necessary process.
My work went from being about endurance and the act of not doing to the act of doing without time constraints. When I didn’t tell myself that I had 4 hours to complete something it was a better piece because I would finish what I wanted to do in ten minutes instead. Sometimes in our minds we have an idea of how long certain tasks will take us but the most melancholy point of the task isn’t until you being timing yourself.
Critiques of my work especially as an undergrad range based off who it is that is critiquing, but at this point I realize that I can appreciate critiques for what they are a way of entering one’s art work into a form of discourse. I think the best part of critiques is seeing how various people interpret different parts of my piece and how what they find most captivating might be what I found most trivial. Looking at my work in context to other artists and past artists, I think that every artist has their own technique and stage persona, but we are all different people so even if we were to conduct the same piece, it would be different still because we each put our own spin on it making it a separate entity. I’ve learned to have no expectations and even more so, instead of concentrating on what my audience may like the most it is about what I like the most. I create art for myself and the world can choose to accept or reject it. Be that as it may, if I happen to strike a chord or two of interest from others my audience can only grow at this stage in my life.