Statement and Q&A
As an Irish American, I have a cultural history of storytelling. I create artwork that on the surface tells a safe and comfortable story using recognizable images. The images are intentionally non-aggressive. The idea is to make the viewer comfortable and have a safe place to think about what may be the underlying message. The pieces are not intended to hold the answers about humanity, but rather cultivate questions to consider and discuss. My goal is to create work that serves as a springboard for meaningful conversation.
My current series is called “ghost girl”. She is character that engages in her environment as an active citizen, to combat the typical objectification of women that we see in advertisements everywhere. Ghost girl’s face is always purposely concealed so that every girl can relate to her and say, “that’s me”. There is a defiance and power given to ghost girl because she is not acknowledging her audience.
My work can be seen on outdoor sanctioned walls as well as in galleries. I put up work on small independent businesses and I always ask permission. Permission is important to me because my community is important to me. I respect my business owners’ walls, and they in turn respect my work and give it a safe space to breathe and be shared.
By installing work in outside environments I am also questioning the idea of a “proper space” for art. As a street artist, I also bring the medium indoors to challenge the boundaries that define the genre and provoke the questions; what is art? What is the proper space for art?
I believe that art should be experienced by all.
Dangerous Impermanence Q&A
Alison Stine, The Toast, New York
Q: Why street art?
Much to my parent’s dismay, I’ve always been a wall artist. Red crayon was my weapon of choice. In 2007 I was invited to join an art collective called "Cowtown Lowbrow". Several of the male artists were doing graffiti. I became interested in their process and the male dominance of the art form. I've always been up for a challenge, so I started doing street art of my own. Street art intrigues me because of the impermanence of it. No one can buy it, they can only experience it. Then it disappears.
Allison Buenger, CAW Talk, Columbus Ohio
Q: It is hard not to notice that all the girls in the street art are pink, and all the canvases I have seen have blue girls. Why?
I’ve always been a feminist artist. There can be a lot of discussion about gender issues using something as simple as a color. The street pieces, “Pink Girl Rising” are that color because the streets are traditionally male-dominated spaces. Women have very different public safety concerns so they are intentionally pink in the streets to represent that issue. “Ghost Girl” is blue in the gallery because it is an indoor space, traditionally considered female-dominated space. The blue in the paintings have a duel meaning as they are the ghosts of the real piece in the streets.
Allison Buenger, CAW Talk, Columbus Ohio
Q: Street art is so important to you and may seem quite different than your work with the S.Dot Gallery. (S.Dot is a pint-sized art gallery set in a dollhouse that Stephanie curates. It has a full exhibition calendar and a wide Internet following.) How do you think about these two ventures?
They may seem different on the surface, but they are both discussing the same broader concepts of feminism and the accessibility of art. I believe feminism is a discussion for all of us. Gender stereotypes are something that can bog all of us down, including men. S. Dot is the reverse exploration of the gender discussion I’m having in my street art. The home is traditionally a female dominated space. S.Dot gallery gives men an opportunity to play and make environments in intimate, enclosed spaces.
Like street art, S.Dot gallery is also a highly accessible venue for art. You can view it from the comfort of your own Internet device, or stumble upon it in your social network feed. The content in both my street art and the approach I take with S.Dot gallery is designed to be accessible for a broad audience. Initially, it feels playful, comfortable and non-assaulting. My goal is for the audience to feel comfortable with the work, then begin asking questions about the meaning and hopefully engage in dialog about the issues being addressed.
The connection between street art and miniature galleries is the theme of the film, Tiny Out Loud. When Andrew Ina, Dan Gerdeman and I initially created the Kickstarter mini film, the focus was on the miniature galleries. When we exceeded our Kickstarter funding goal and received additional funding from the GCAC, we realized we were going to be able to create a short film that captures the concepts in both the miniature galleries and the street art and what ties them together. The film culminates with the gallery actually becoming street art.
Jackie Mantey, Writes Like a Girl, Columbus Ohio
Q: What has been the most interesting thing you’ve learned from the art that has been shown in your miniature dollhouses?
I’ve been pleasantly (un)surprised how serious the artists take their shows. This reinforces my belief that no matter the scale, art is art. It has also been interesting to hear from the artists how challenging, yet rewarding working on a small scale can be.
Mary Horwill, Daughters Who Dare, Melbourne Australia
Q: Do you have a personal Mantra?
“Rise above!” is my personal mantra. I first heard this mantra from the punk band Black Flag in high school. The high school was an art school filled with misfits who didn’t fit anywhere else, but we fit together. This mantra reminds me that when society as a whole tells you that you are doing something wrong or outside the norm, you need to rise above and hold your head high. You need to stand up for what you believe in. Be proud, be yourself and fight for being the person you are.
Tail Magazine, Berlin Germany
Q: If you had to describe your art in only one word, what would it be?