Ana Diaz is from Oklahoma living in Topeka, Kansas teaching art. For a decade she lived in Seoul after graduating with a fine arts degree. She's been a dedicated teacher and wants to stay active in the arts with mixed media.
I have never liked these, but I’ll do my best. I am a product of the ‘90s and late ‘80s. I grew up with some of the best Saturday morning cartoons, video games, and McDonald’s toys when they were still cool. During my elementary years I used my allowance to buy cartooning books, and for hours I would draw cartoons and dream of being a cartoonist. I guess you could say some of my works are a little cartoony and too illustrative for le fine art. I was once criticized by a professor for this. I was hurt and it may have blown my confidence as an art major, but now my veil of insecurity is removed (and I might describe this person’s works as rather commercial as well). Many people my age and younger consider cartooning, animation, and illustration to be just as prestigious as, say, oil painting: anything with high details mirroring the natural world or whatever is considered fine. Today, with appropriation highly being a contemporary element of art, and with technology in art considered worthy, I say my traditionally drawn works—of paper, pencil, ink, and assorted colorful media—with my focus on creating texture, all by hand—should and will be considered classic and fine. I enjoy fashion, mostly because of the patterns and textures of the textiles or the layers or intricate folds constructed by the designers. I also appreciate walking around neighborhoods that are untouched by industrialists, where the crumbling walls and steps are marked with spray paint or stippled with old, chipped-away paint, and you can see and feel the waves and bumps of time that showcase beautiful faults—contrasting holes, uncovered bones and joints, unweaving frays, sprinkles, and ripples. Like a beautifully aged grandmother. These are the kinds of consistencies I like to replicate in my own works, using recycled materials I find amusing and enticing to the eye as well as the photos I have taken while observing the places I walk. There you have it. That is my art, and this is my statement of my art.
An Oklahoman born and raised in OKC. Later an art student who began as an art education major, received a bachelor’s in 2-D fine art and a master’s of education, left the town of Weatherford, Oklahoma, in 2008 with no certain direction. Become a teacher? Do art? Go back to school for design? The latter Aughts in America were hard times for an overeducated and financially indebted twentysomething. The dream was to continue getting work into galleries and shows, to continue selling those works—you know, to be a full-time artist—but the price of gasoline and low tips were weighing. That’s when the notion of moving to South Korea became a clear answer. Thus, for over a decade, I worked at an international kindergarten as a full-time teacher and after-school art instructor. Got to travel to countries I had never planned on seeing. Lived in an international neighborhood that I’ll never forget and maybe had too much fun in. Now, probably because of my grandmother’s prayers, I somehow landed a job as a full-time elementary art teacher and coordinator in Topeka, Kansas. Anyone who is an art teacher knows: you’re a teacher first. And if you’re a teacher, you know how much energy goes into caring for your students—before and after working hours. I am no longer young, but my dream is still to make art as much as possible until I end and be, somehow, an active participant in the world of art.