Shamira Wilson is a talented visual artist, who has been nominated to be featured at the 23rd Indianapolis Art & Soul celebration. She is also a student at the Herron School of Art + Design. Her artwork consists of different dimensions, such as furniture, sculptural work, paintings and prints. Her current series is called, ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’, which consists of plant-based images that allow the viewer to engage with them. She shared some of inspirations, goals, and pieces with PATTERN down below!
Lina Al-Abdulmunem: What sparked your interest in visual art?
Shamira Wilson: My interest in visual art sparked from every day family life. My family moved to Indianapolis from Louisville, Kentucky in the late 80’s, and during the summer I would return to Kentucky to spend time with three of my grandmothers who lived there. My maternal great-grandmother was an avid gardener which is where a lot of my interest in botanical imagery and the symbolism of growth shows up in my work. I spent a large amount of time outside investigating plants and I still get a lot of inspiration and reprieve from nature. I think that time helped me to develop a sensitivity to the natural materials I use in my furniture work.
My paternal grandmother was a drafter and from her I get the flat minimal quality of my work. She would record cartoons and gather video games for the Commodore computer for me to stay entertained during visits. I would walk up the block to her mother’s house and spend time with her making things out of all of the bits of ribbon, fabric, and paper she had held on to.
One of many of my mother’s art forms was sewing and needlework. She would bring me reams of computer paper to draw on and I would illustrate science fiction stories inspired by the drawing show Secret City, and various other science fiction movies. My father was also interested in illustration and sequential art. Each of them contributed something unique to the mix that has influenced my art practice.
LA: How does it feel to be chosen as the featured artist for the 23rd annual Indianapolis Art & Soul celebration?
SW: I’m grateful to have been nominated as this year’s featured visual artist. Having the opportunity to see my work together in one space has given me insight into ideas I’d like to expand upon in the future. The opportunity has also provided the space to meet a lot of artists in the city practicing different disciplines who have been incredibly supportive during the process.
This year, Art & Soul is also a fellowship in which we receive 20 hours of mentorship from Matchbook Creative in areas such as website development, public speaking, and media training throughout the year. I’ve felt a lot of growth professionally through the mentorship we receive and artistically through being a part of an event with such great synergy.
LA: You attend the Herron School of Art + Design. How does a formal education benefit you as an artist?
SW: Before attending Herron, I worked in the contract furniture and textile industry and received a BA in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. A formal art education has provided me with space and resources to incubate some ideas I had about the form and function of furniture. In my furniture work, I’m looking at ways to highlight the importance of a specific task or goal by using furniture to create an empathetic exchange through the performance of everyday use. Being in an educational setting has provided me with the opportunity to take risks in order to open new paths, and receive constructive critique.
LA: What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve made?
SW: I work in iterations, so each piece expands on some part of a previous idea. There are things I like about every piece and I’m really enjoying using textiles as a common link to connect everything. Textiles have also provided me with a framework to conceptualize some new directions.
LA: What was the inspiration behind your series ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’
SW: I’m very interested in the storytelling aspect of the creative process and how that can contribute to the meaning of an artwork. I usually start a series by painting studies while I’m researching a topic. Recently while researching the migration of patterns and motifs throughout history, I found it interesting how similar patterns showed up in different parts of the world. When I began showing my work to a broader audience, I found the subjectivity of art interesting in a way that I hadn’t experienced before so with the new series of plant based images I wanted to invite the viewer to engage with the work through the title ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’. It’s been a great way to bridge a dialogue about diverse perspectives and also have conversations about abstract art.