Cynthia started her arts exploration at Kansas City Art Institute where she studied painting and printmaking. Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, in Management Information Systems from University of Texas at Dallas. In May 2016, Cynthia graduated with her Master of Fine Art in Art & Technology also from University of Texas at Dallas.
Cynthia is a socially engaged artist who is passionate about preserving diversity in Dallas. She has collaborated with Rick Lowe on Trans.lation, a Nasher Xchange project located in Vickery Meadow. She began by developing relationships and workshops that serve the needs of the multicultural community in Vickery Meadow who are threatened by gentrification. She continues this work with Carol Zou, assisting with supply acquisitions and community engagement.
On campus at UTD, Cynthia is known for Arms Around the Art Barn, an initiative to save one of the last examples of tin roof architecture in the Dallas area. This project culminated in a full scale installation of sweaters that encircled the entire perimeter of the structure in a warm fuzzy hug. UTD's Visual Arts building received a 'stay of execution' and continues to be enjoyed by students, alumni and the DFW metroplex.
My work is personal, confessional and performative in a documented sense. A serendipity that is slurred and glitched to both connect and disconnect from the source. Influenced by programming algorithms, mathematical formulas and physics, iterations of emotional outbursts are salvaged from interfaces such as iPhone photostream and reciprocated in compilation.
“I started to take the pictures of myself crying as a way of putting myself outside of the situation of sadness and looking at myself from the point of view of an observer. As soon as you point the camera to yourself, you take yourself out of the moment and look at the situation from the perspective of an observer.” --Melanie Bonajo
My work is driven by process and draws on previous experience with writing code through the use of iteration, recursion and algorithmic paradigms. In addition, the new media work mirrors my expressionist philosophy that manifests in my painting and printmaking where the interest lies more in emotional expression rather than physical accuracy. The work is contemporary in its method of capture from various photostreams available through iPhone and social media outlets. These photostream are a major source of fascination, not only for the images but also the space in between, the juxtaposition gives way to patterns where psychology is revealed by succession like life flashing before my eyes.
“People are using the selfie as a means of claiming ownership of their bodies, identities and lives” -- Vivian Fu
As technology evolves, so too does our means of perception. We consume images in a multi-view rapid format. Self-portraiture has moved from a strictly artistic pursuit into the lives of everyday people as they reframe, self analyze and publicly display. I employ this genre in my work as a performative confessional, a means to act out. Sometimes it takes the form of salvaged images serendipitously aligned in my photostream which take on a kind of encrypted meaning. It is an orchestrated social commentary. My ‘selfie’ work is a means of exploring ‘ego’ in a way that seeks to communicate primal, forbidden, subconscious and feminist ideology. In this process I exploit everyday apps such as Instagram, Pixlr, etc. and uncover glitches as I push the mediums to the extreme, beyond their intended use. Notable influences are Tracey Emin for her confessional style, Ana Mendieta for leaving her mark, and Melanie Bonajo for her work with the “anti-selfie”.
“I want to be able to step outside society’s fantasies or expectations of women and show my daily perception of being one without shame.” --Melanie Bonajo
The video/installation/performance work is a natural extension of my physical painting and printmaking background. It allows me to work across multiple media, sound, light, time, painting/drawing. Influenced by the work of directors such as David Lynch, Federico Fellini and Wim Wenders, I aspire to create ethereal, cinematic experiences laced with symbols. At KCAI, I had the opportunity to meet John Cage who highly influenced my relationship with sound, the absence of sound and it’s impact on immersive experiences. Other sources of sound inspiration are born out of Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and Laurie Anderson.
“A dominant theme in our society is that you should be happy, attractive, sexy, young, and if you’re not there’s something wrong with you.” --Melanie Bonajo
My work seeks to be honest and raw, focusing more on the not so pretty and inappropriate side of being me: to release the suppressed, to whisper a secret, to scream, to cry. A quick and dirty source to express the inexpressible and to document that expression. There is freedom in this release.