Growing up as a racially ambiguous immigrant in Northern California was rough; As a freshman in high school, I’d walk down the halls being called a variety of racial slurs while the other kids would watch for my reactions, in an attempt to label me (when even I didn’t care what I was). I soon found myself in the supermarket aisles buying the lightest shade of foundation, trying to blend in with everyone else. And when I’d visit my other home in Brazil, I’d do the complete opposite–spending hours in the sun without sunscreen to avoid being called “gringa.”
It didn’t matter where I was physically: I was always in the middle of two different places. And, at the time, I wanted to be anything but it. I didn’t want to be exotic, but that was what I was. I was exotic. And I learned that people have two very different reactions to this: they either get uncomfortable or they get excited. And I’m not sure which is worse.
“Look at me and tell me if I don’t have Brazil in every curve of my body.”–Carmen Miranda
That’s where this collection started. Instead of hiding from my racial ambiguity, I’m on a journey to learn how to accept the third space and resist being confined to only one of my identities. “IN EVERY CURVE” was inspired by the plants and animals found in the Amazon, and samba dancers, and is nowhere near done.
What makes you different? How can you celebrate that?
What is a Linoprint?
Life would probably be easier without that in-between; that dubious grey area. But it’s a fun place to live (or maybe I’m just used to living in the third space). It is one of the most interesting parts of printmaking, though. The entire process of creating a linocut is a grey area of anticipation until the very end. In printmaking, preparation and planning marry with the uncertainty of the unfinished image.
Cutting and gauging out the surface of a smooth linoleum block creates lines and textures. The untouched areas are what create the image. After inking the carved surface, the peel away of block from paper is where that grey area shatters into stark black and white contrast. Creating a print, especially one carved from linoleum, is about exploring shapes, lines, and shadows.
Interested in learning more about linoprints or the printmaking process? Check out this post I wrote about my most frequently asked questions!
About City Heights Coffee House (now Movement WORTHY)
At the time of my two-month solo exhibit, City Heights Coffee House was a non-profit coffee shop in City Heights neighborhood of San Diego, CA. CHCH focused on hiring and celebrating at-risk youth, so I was excited to put together a show about my cultural background for a place with such a focus on diversity.
City Heights Coffee House has been acknowledged for its positive impact on the community and has transformed to focus mainly on their non-profit mission of offering workforce opportunities and relationship-based trainings for the youth of City Heights (and other young people throughout the city).
About the Artist, Natasha Teymourian
Natasha Teymourian isn’t the girl from Ipanema but she’s still Carioca. A native Brazilian, she was born in Rio de Janeiro and aims to deromanticize the exotic through storytelling.