An artist’s ability to utilize their online presence goes a long way in getting their name and portfolio out there. Even if you’re that artist who’s creative process takes place off the beaten path, chainsawing old furniture in half or festooning giant installations to the sides of cliffs, and who wouldn’t touch a computer to save your life – you still need an online portfolio. After all, an artist’s website or online portfolio is often a viewer’s very first introduction to their work. Just as you wouldn’t exhibit slapped together art with no consideration, you don’t want your online portfolio to look like a pathetic afterthought. With all of this in mind, we were elated when artist-activist Sarita Kvam entrusted us with the design of her portfolio, and energized by the challenge of presenting Sarita and her unique work just right.
Sarita Kvam is a visual artist and activist, currently based in Mexico City, who is using her incredible skill (and body!!) to advocate for gender equality. Though Sarita primarily focuses on watercolor painting, her work is often a dynamic, mixed media approach, which combines paint with ink, chalk and stitching. With such intricate design and detail, we knew that Sarita’s work deserved a layout that would allow the art to speak for itself. Minimalistic and clean with fluid functionality and large enough dimensions to allow the viewer to truly stop and stare, and then carry on at their own pace with their experience.
Working with Sarita to showcase her art was just as rewarding as it was personal. With what little I knew about Sarita as an “activist first, artist second”, I knew I was in for some captivating lessons about art, identity and expression. What I didn’t expect was the introduction to the new – rather personal – artistic medium used to drive the powerful lessons home.
What I’m referring to here is “Darling, It’s Her Red Period”, Sarita’s bold and absolutely beautiful series of abstract drip paintings, in which she produced using menstrual blood. Sarita was incensed to create the series while in Mexico City, which she observed to have its own unique brand of debilitating patriarchy. By taking that which is often labeled as embarrassing or dirty, and using it to create something new, Sarita saw the paintings and its creative process as an ultimate expression of liberation.
An unusual medium to be sure, the exhibit has a sense of play while maintaining a shock value for its viewer. As confronting (at first) and later liberating as it was for me – the unassuming designer – to work up close and personal, resizing and optimizing images pixel by pixel, it’s extraordinary to think of the transformative affect this has had on Sarita herself. In her words:
“When you put something out there that’s really towards one end of the spectrum, people can move closer to it from being in the middle. None of this is going to create immediate change, but maybe, someone will look at it and think, “My blood isn’t dirty. I can make something from it, and I can live with it, and not be ashamed of it, because it’s on a wall and someone else thought it was beautiful.””
Visit saritakvam.com to learn more about Sarita and the unique space she and her art are taking up in the world.