Kamiya - Are You Ready?

Kea Kamiya
College of Fine Arts Studio Art (MFA)

Are You Ready?

My name is Kea Suiko Kamiya, and I am originally from Bradenton, Florida. I received a dual major in Art and English from Florida Gulf Coast University. My academic background is integral to my practice because of the role that literature and feminist theory plays in the content of my visual artwork. My drawings deal with themes of female belonging through visual considerations of ecofeminist theory and performance of self. Both concepts focus on how women interact with the world around them and how considerations of these interactions can encourage reclamation of true feminine identity. My drawings utilize voyeuristic framing to consider the relationship between private preparation of femininity and the public presentation of self. Some of my work includes animal symbols from literature as a visual representation of the inner self (or soul) that is not always visible in lived performance. The posing and facial expression of the figures are based upon reference images that I take of myself, making my own identity and physicality an integral part of my practice. The figure’s gazes do not engage the viewer and their facial expressions are neutral to depict a woman in a state of simple existence. In a world that prioritizes self-presentation, the quiet isolation of these figures’ aims to point to a different definition of femininity. I work in graphite because of the ability to render in both harsh contour and value. Having areas of high render and areas of contour-driven depiction allows me to draw focus to certain sections of the piece and depict a variety of textures. Graphite allows me to work realistically and give the sense of gazing into a person’s lived experience. The black and white dichotomy of the medium permits me to work without the often-gendered element of color. My work comes out of my desire to discern the relationship between my identity, my body, and society.

Artwork Description:

This work depicts a woman in a rarely represented moment before public performance. She is dressed for the home, with special attention paid to the large and “unflattering” clothing that she is wearing. She curls her hair in preparation for an unknown outing, preparing to present herself to others and unaware that she is being depicted in her current state.