Behind VOLUME: A Collection Of Influences On Texan Women And Nonbinary Artists

written by Jane Hervey and Xochi Solis, all photos (unless otherwise indicated) by Illyana Bocanegra

 

You give your hand to me

And then you say hello

And I can hardly speak

My heart is beating so

And anyone can tell

You think you know me well

But you don't know me (no you don't know me)

Cindy Walker, Lyrics to You Don’t Know Me. Monument Records, 1964.

In 2018, #bossbabesATX and Chulita Vinyl Club collaborated to present VOLUME, a collectively built library of vinyl, zines and prints from the communities intersecting women and nonbinary artists.

Hosted within the Center for the Study of the Southwest (CSSW) and the Center for Texas Music History (CTMH) at Texas State University, VOUME originated as a way to contribute to the preservation of regional women's histories in Texas.


view the VOLUME collection

From September to December 2018, the exhibit’s curators Xochi Solis (of Chulita Vinyl Club) and Jane Hervey (of #bossbabesATX) gathered vinyl, zines, books, and artist prints from the intersecting communities of women artists and Texas music. Filled with native Texas plants, bright furniture and stacked books and vinyl records, Solis and Hervey turned the Texas State University Brazos Hall gallery into a space prompted by queer Chicana poet, writer, and feminist theorist Gloria E. Anzaldúa's essay "Geographies of Selves.”

Our bodies are geographies of selves made up of diverse, bordering, and overlapping “countries.” We’re each composed of information, billions of bits of cultural knowledge superimposing many different categories of experience . . . As our bodies interact with internal and external, real and virtual, past and present environments, people, and objects around us, we weave (tejemos), and are woven into, our identities.

Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Excerpt from essay Geographies of Selves, 2015.

From Solis and Hervey: “Beyond collecting prints, zines and vinyl, this evolving collection recognized the power of choice and the reward of reciprocity. We are motivated by the possibility of coming to know ourselves, our many identities, and the worlds we occupy deep within the heart of Texas. Through this collection of materials, we encourage a new generation to become their own agents of cultural awareness. We hope to openly share the tools, tracts, sounds and visions accessed from our current and future ancestors with each other while building this library.”


meet volume’s exhibiting print artists

On the walls of the “VOLUME” exhibit, Solis and Hervey also installed works by eight Texan visual artists, including: Bodega Visual (Austin, Texas), Jasmine Brooks (Austin, Texas), Elizabeth Chiles (Austin, Texas), Anne-Lise Emig (Austin, Texas), Good Snake (Austin, Texas), Katy Horan (Austin, Texas), Ashley Elaine Thomas (Corpus Christi, Texas), Whitney Noel Devin (Austin, Texas).

Read on for a few words from those artists on the pieces they chose to contribute, as well as their own collections and practices.

 
Pelt , 2014. Gouache and flashe on paper (original). Katy Horan.

Pelt, 2014. Gouache and flashe on paper (original). Katy Horan.

Katy Horan is an illustrator and fine artist with a BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design (2003). Her work has exhibited throughout the United States and in Canada. It has been published in a number of books including Fantagraphic's Beasts! and The Exquisite Book (Chronicle Books) and Dark Inspiration II (Victionary), as well as in numerous publications such as Juxtapoz Magazine and New American Paintings (no. 90 & 120). She has completed two painting residencies at The Vermont Studio Center and was a finalist for the 2015 Hunting Art Prize. She is also the illustrator of Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers , written by Taisia Kitaiskaia and published by Seal Press. Katy is represented by Adriann Ranta Zurhellen at Foundry Literary and Media. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

Q: What do you want future generations to know about and why?
I am really interested in folklore, particularly that of the Appalachian and Ozark regions. Folklore isn't just little stores, it encompasses the home remedies, superstitions and magic of a region, and Appalachia has so many strange and rich traditions and beliefs. Those areas are so isolated by hills, mountains and culture that their lore is already little known. It would be nice to see it kept alive in the future, if even a small amount 

Q: Do you collect anything personally? If so, what and why?
I collect several things: old paperback about witchcraft and the Occult, old photographs called cabinet cards and art when I can afford or trade for it. 

 
Untitled Form In Space , 2018. Digital Illustration. Jasmine Brooks.   Jasmine Brooks (Jas)  is a Graphic Designer and Visual Artist based in Austin, Texas, by way of Oakland, California. She specializes in Branding, Illustration, and Photography that she enjoys fusing together whenever she can. Jas creates illustrations that encapsulate vivid colors and dynamic shapes. Her photography skills and eye for portraiture help set the scene and often serve as the initial inspiration she builds off of to create composition that doesn't typically exist in reality. As an artist that is still growing and learning each day, Jas is constantly thinking of ways to improve her practices, better her skills and continue to be creatively engaged while exploring new art forms that help her best express herself and/or execute a project. Her inspirations include Keith Heiring, Mike Perry, and Paula Sher whose styles all tend to be reflected in her work and creative thinking.

Untitled Form In Space, 2018. Digital Illustration. Jasmine Brooks.

Jasmine Brooks (Jas) is a Graphic Designer and Visual Artist based in Austin, Texas, by way of Oakland, California. She specializes in Branding, Illustration, and Photography that she enjoys fusing together whenever she can. Jas creates illustrations that encapsulate vivid colors and dynamic shapes. Her photography skills and eye for portraiture help set the scene and often serve as the initial inspiration she builds off of to create composition that doesn't typically exist in reality. As an artist that is still growing and learning each day, Jas is constantly thinking of ways to improve her practices, better her skills and continue to be creatively engaged while exploring new art forms that help her best express herself and/or execute a project. Her inspirations include Keith Heiring, Mike Perry, and Paula Sher whose styles all tend to be reflected in her work and creative thinking.

 
Pick Three , 2018. Digital Illustration. Good Snake.

Pick Three, 2018. Digital Illustration. Good Snake.

Good Snake is Kayla Fritz and Hannah Epelbaum. While Kayla is genetically predisposed to sign painting (thanks, Grandma!), she also has a practical background in typography, illustration, and design. Hannah's expertise is information design, with a background in intercultural communication. With their powers combined, they apply modern design tools and classical techniques to promote accessibility of spaces for everyone, to use their work to enhance the sense of place within physical spaces, and to help their favorite businesses get their message across through good design.

Q: What do you want future generations to know about and why?
Not sure about how much this'll interest future generations, but our minds are currently being blown by the book "Everybody Lies: Big Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are" by Seth Stephens. We're inspired by artists who are able to continually produce rich and diverse types of work that appear unrelated, but somehow make perfect sense both on their own and combined, like Lizzo, who is a master flautist, an amazing dancer, and a powerful poet, or Sammus, who is a rapper, activist, and also a PhD student. 

Q: Do you collect anything personally? If so, what and why?
Kayla has held onto some of her late grandmother's artwork, she keeps some good vintage lettering brushes, and she also always appreciates a nice sticker to slap onto her ladder.

 
La Familia Es Primero , 2018. Bodega Visual.  Bodega Visual  is the creative studio of Claudia Gizell Aparicio Gamundi. Why Bodega Visual…The word is a cognate, which works great because she was born and raised in Monterrey, NL, Mexico and now resides in Austin, Tejas, USA. A bodega is basically a place where you can find anything, she feels that plays well with what she does. You can also catch her curating sounds with Chulita Vinyl Club and Mosaico X, art making with Puro Chingøn Collective, on the board of directors for Design Ranch or creating programs & content for Nepantla, USA, a gallery and DIY space she co-founded.

La Familia Es Primero, 2018. Bodega Visual. Bodega Visual is the creative studio of Claudia Gizell Aparicio Gamundi. Why Bodega Visual…The word is a cognate, which works great because she was born and raised in Monterrey, NL, Mexico and now resides in Austin, Tejas, USA. A bodega is basically a place where you can find anything, she feels that plays well with what she does. You can also catch her curating sounds with Chulita Vinyl Club and Mosaico X, art making with Puro Chingøn Collective, on the board of directors for Design Ranch or creating programs & content for Nepantla, USA, a gallery and DIY space she co-founded.

 
Night Palm , 2017. Photographic collage. Elizabeth Chiles.

Night Palm, 2017. Photographic collage. Elizabeth Chiles.

Elizabeth Chiles graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Art History. She then worked as a registrar at Barbara Krakow Gallery in Boston and after moving to San Francisco earned an MFA in Photography from San Francisco Art Institute and worked as associate director at Fraenkel Gallery. In 2007 she returned to her home state of Texas, moving to Austin to pursue her work as an artist. She works primarily in photography, and also in video, installation, drawing, and language. Her work lies at the intersection of immaterial aspects like time, light, consciousness and perception, and the materials that hold them. She has had numerous solo exhibitions and been a part of various group shows, including, Over Time, a solo exhibition at Pump Project nominated for best solo show in Austin 2015/16, 15 to Watch at the Austin Museum of Art in 2011, The Texas Biennial in 2011 and in 2013 with the collective she helped found, Lakes Were Rivers, and The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography, put together by Humble Arts in New York at the Chelsea Art Museum.

Q: What do you want future generations to know about and why?
I think future generations will have their own voices to pay attention to.  As I see it, the people I love now, for example Rebecca Solnit, may not be as broadly read in 50 years, but the authors that will be, will be reading her and so her voice will continue to influence for many, many generations.  There are chains and dialogues that spread like rhizomes and that is important to me. 

Q: Do you collect anything personally? If so, what and why? 
I haven't thought of myself as a collector but I guess when you have more clothes than fit in your closet, more art that can go on your walls and more books that can fit on your shelves, you might be a collector of these things.  In books, art and clothes, I find inspiration and personal expressions.  Words, color, texture and pattern come together in my work.  I also have hundreds of plants, but most of them have found their home my garden.

Queers and Their Clothes , 2018. Digitized watercolor painting. Anne-Lise Emig.  Anne-Lise Emig  is a lesbian artist, chemist, and educator living in Austin. Her work explores the experiences of queer communities and the beauty of the natural world. Queers and Their Clothes is a collection of drawings of LGBTQIA+ people’s clothes, along with their words on what makes the items significant. The work celebrates the diversity of expression and experience in queer communities, and shows that there are infinite ways to look and be queer.

Queers and Their Clothes, 2018. Digitized watercolor painting. Anne-Lise Emig. Anne-Lise Emig is a lesbian artist, chemist, and educator living in Austin. Her work explores the experiences of queer communities and the beauty of the natural world. Queers and Their Clothes is a collection of drawings of LGBTQIA+ people’s clothes, along with their words on what makes the items significant. The work celebrates the diversity of expression and experience in queer communities, and shows that there are infinite ways to look and be queer.


 
Tulia, Texas . July, 2016. Whitney Noel Devin. (Through her project  Tulia , Whitney explores identity, privilege, and belonging in her father’s hometown.)

Tulia, Texas. July, 2016. Whitney Noel Devin. (Through her project Tulia, Whitney explores identity, privilege, and belonging in her father’s hometown.)

Photographer Whitney Noel Devin creates visual narratives in her personal, editorial, and commercial work with an intuitive approach that results in simple yet insightful moments. She is inspired by finding the familiar in the unfamiliar and invites viewers to consider new perspectives. Whitney has a foundation in documentary storytelling, community advocacy and marketing. She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies and is based in Austin, Texas.

Q: What do you want future generations to know about and why? 
I hope future generations are able to enjoy the environment like we can now. I'm not a really outdoorsy person but I find so much clarity and inspiration while in natural spaces. It would be so unfortunate if folks didn't have the same kind of access in the future. There’s obviously work to be done. 

Q: Do you collect anything personally? If so, what and why?
Old postcards that were never written on (especially photo-based cards from the Southwest and Mexico) and vintage vacation photographs. I love seeing how landscapes and vacation scenes are captured, the color palettes, the surprise of what the caption says, and the idea that something intended to be personalized and sent away has survived in its original form. 


 
Sconce , 2018. Graphite on paper (original). Ashley Elaine Thomas.  Ashley Elaine Thomas  is a visual artist whose work memorializes everyday overlooked objects through large-scale graphite drawings on paper. She received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011, and currently teaches drawing and design at Del Mar College and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Sconce, 2018. Graphite on paper (original). Ashley Elaine Thomas. Ashley Elaine Thomas is a visual artist whose work memorializes everyday overlooked objects through large-scale graphite drawings on paper. She received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011, and currently teaches drawing and design at Del Mar College and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.


meet the collaborators

#bossbabesATX (Austin, TX) amplifies and connects women and nonbinary creatives, entrepreneurs and organizers through nonprofit event series, showcases and personal/professional development programs. They create intersectional, interdisciplinary programs and initiatives that catalyze multi-industry coalitions, share crafts and provide the community with practical and emotional resources. Currently their programs provide a platform of visibility, outreach and financial opportunity to 1000+ emerging women and nonbinary creatives, entrepreneurs and organizers per year. On top of that goodness, more than 10,000+ community members per year attend their showcases, markets and dialogues—and in the last three years, their programs generated an additional $1million for the Austin economy. @bossbabesATX / bossbabes.org

Chulita Vinyl Club (TX & CA) launched in 2014 out of Austin, TX with the context of providing a space for empowerment and togetherness as an all-girl, all-vinyl club for self-identifying women of color. Now a national movement, they believe identity markers can sometimes be limiting, and while their priority is maintaining the mission of fostering a safe space for self-identifying women of color, they also aim their focus on highlighting those of mixed-heritage and those that identify as part of a marginalized community combining narratives to speak crucially about intersectional identities. Each Chulita identifies with their own identity. They are not to be classified as one nationality or culture; they can present as brown, black or white and all shades in between, and come in a wonderful variety of shapes and sizes. Within CVC they individually identify with the following: Latinas, Tejanas, Chicanas, Xicana, Afro-Latina and many more. The unifying denominator is that they come together over the belief that EL DISCO ES CULTURA and they believe that is worth preserving and perpetuating. Through their performances nationwide, they have established a strong coalition deliberately choosing to only play vinyl with the goal of activating a musical archive that might not otherwise be shared in the age of digital DJs. @chulitavinylclub / chulitavinylclub.com

The Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University (San Marcos, TX) engages faculty and students in the richness and diversity of Texas, the Southwestern United States, and Northern Mexico via curriculum development, public outreach, and research that give focus to intercultural studies through examining the region's people, institutions, history, art, and physical and cultural ecology. txstate.edu/cssw

The Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University (San Marcos, TX) is a unique program focusing on the preservation and study of Texas and Southwestern music history. With an emphasis on how Texas music reflects the rich history and tremendous cultural diversity of the Southwest, the Center for Texas Music History offers graduate and undergraduate courses, along with a variety of research and publishing projects all aimed at helping Americans better understand our unique and diverse cultural heritage through music. @ctrtxmusichistory / txstate.edu/ctmh


Interested in future #bbatx installations and exhibitions? Keep up with our program The Residency, and its projects, here.

Jane Claire HerveyComment