Brianne Urzada

Born in: 1989, Canada
Lives in: Regina, Saskatchewan
Education: BA (Visual Arts Major), University of Regina | Bachelor of Arts Education, University of Regina
See more work: | Instagram

Daphne - Oil on linen

"My work explores the aftermath of trauma and how it affects identity. It's when things go back to 'normal' that intrigues me. I want to understand how people move through the coping process that is both complicated and necessary. I look specifically at fear and what opens up when we become comfortable in it. Truly processing the pain of an experience gives way to hope, freedom and comfort."

Describe your creative process.
In this body of work I sat down with fellow cancer survivors. I interviewed thirteen women from different backgrounds and asked them the same questions about coping post cancer. I spent time with them and later photographed them. It's their essence and our connection that I think helped paint their portraits.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Hard questions and hard places inspire me. I'm drawn to the things we try to avoid. We grow when we're uncomfortable. Making art, or really making anything, is like exercise for me. It helps me to release energy and self regulate. At this point I don't have an option.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
I'm just starting a new body of work and am currently looking for representation. I've also just applied to a masters program and am waiting to hear if I've been accepted.
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
We've seen this in history before with the Luddites, English textile workers of the 19th century. Machines were replacing weavers and textile workers and soon many were without work. Did their uprising stop the technology from quickly spreading across the globe? No. But, can I still to this day tell when a piece of clothing is handmade with top quality products? Definitely. I don't think we'll be putting this technology back in its box. Instead, I think we'll begin to value human touch and the story that goes along with an art piece in a much deeper way. I'm optimistic.
What is the role of the artist today?
I'm a sucker for keen observation and attention to detail, but that's purely aesthetic. I love the ambiguity of art and how one piece will stand out for me and others won't. I don't think I've pinpointed what makes certain pieces resonate with me yet, and nor am I on a quest to find out.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Media makes our world seem so polarized, but in reality nothing is black and white. If we all took time to sit in the grey, even if it's uncomfortable, we would understand each other a lot more. I think an artist has a unique and nuanced way of showing that. In a broader sense, an artist looks deeper. An artist lingers on life's hard or tragic questions. Instead of moving past the experience, they move in it and transform it.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

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