Renegade Dove, the alias of Paloma Mayorga, fits her quite well I believe. She appears pretty mild mannered and shy on the surface, but underneath that surface things are churning and percolating into the world. Paloma is the Spanish for the word "dove". Her work takes risks and pushes limits, which I admire. When I think of an artist I think of her. She infuses her work with a great deal of integrity, clarity, and is not afraid to show her true self. We met in 2012 at Coronado Studio, as she was working on her Serie print titled Senorita Juice. Since then she has taken on the job of Assistant Director at the Serie Project. Because I am still photographing the artists who have residences at the Studio, Paloma and I see each other quite often.
The panorama I created of Paloma is currently being exhibited in a group show at Davis Gallery here in Austin until October 18th. This interview is part of a series getting to know the subjects of those images.
SDG: When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist and then what did you do to make that a reality?
PM: As a child I was artistically inclined, always drawing, crafting, and arranging things to my liking. However, it wasn’t until I took a drawing course in college and started studying artists throughout history that I realized I could build a career creating art. I continued to take all of the studio courses the art department at Southwestern University offered - I even took some courses that didn’t count toward my degree because I had “too many” studio art credits - and eventually changed my major to Studio Art from Animal Behavior. I also took a good number of Art History and Philosophy courses which really opened my mind to different ways of thinking. By taking these classes simultaneously I pushed and stretched my personal boundaries, beliefs, politics, ethics, aesthetics...everything! I tried to be in the studio as much as possible and really take advantage of the resources, materials and opportunities I had readily available.
SDG: You seem to experiment with a lot of different mediums? Tell me about how you work and create?
PM: I like to fluctuate between mediums because I find that I tend to take on an overwhelming amount of work with each project, so much so that I am left feeling completely exhausted in the end. Don’t get me wrong - I really love working with each medium I choose; I just feel that I find a sort of mental stability when I go back and forth between them. It’s kind of like when you eat so much of something that you grow sick of it and then feel like you can’t have it anymore for a while. I like working this way because I feel like I immerse myself in my work completely and leave all of my energy in it.
SDG: You have a new photography exhibit called Cruelty Free that opened recently at the Women's Community Center of Central Texas. The work is very raw and revealing. How was taking those pictures different from painting and drawing and why did you choose that particular medium for that project and subject matter?
PM: That particular project is very exciting for me because it is primarily a series of collaborations with women that are very close to me. Collaborations are so interesting to me because it is truly a meshing of ideas that allows people to connect on a much deeper level to each other and to the concept at hand. I also feel that photography lends itself well to the idea that inspired the exhibit, which is to look at ourselves in a cruelty free way. I feel that photographs are very different from any other medium I work with because I am able to capture something as it exists in one brief moment in time. This is particularly important for that exhibit because my intention is to point out that while the subject matter, in this case the human body, remains the same, our ideas about our bodies and what constitutes as beauty can and does change over time.
SDG: The manifesto on your website is really great. To what do you attribute your perspective and passion for the issues you speak about?
PM: I think that I have been given a series of unique opportunities to formulate a perspective of compassion and inclusiveness, and to speak up against the injustices I see happening is a privilege, when it should be a right. The concepts I speak of in my work and manifesto are issues that affect me personally, as a woman and as a resident of this planet.
SDG: What drives you and keeps you motivated, inspired, and focused?
PM: I feel like I have a responsibility to leave the world in a better state than it was when I came into it. I see the potential we have as human beings to live in a way in which we respect our planet, love ourselves and one another and I hope that with time my work will be a catalyst for change in society to do precisely this.
SDG: When you think about what your life as an artist will be like in the future what do you imagine?
PM: Currently, humanity is responsible for so many things that are destroying people, animals and our environment. I am a believer that when people understand the power they have to change the world, they will take action to make it a better place. Through my work I am hoping to bring awareness to people of the power of their thoughts and actions. I look forward to the day that my work reaches larger and diverse audiences so that it serves to inspire people to make more compassionate decisions.
SDG: If only more people had the same intentions and outlook about the world. That definitely sounds like a call to action. Inspiring people to be more compassionate could go a long way to alleviate many of the personal and public conflicts we are facing. Thank you Paloma for all the great work.
Paloma's photography can be seen by contacting the Women's Community Center of Central Texas. It will be on display at the center until November 21st. The center is continuously looking for volunteers and, most likely, they will be providing a lot of benefit to women in the Austin community, so definitely check them out!