Today we’d like to introduce you to Elysa D. Batista.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Elysa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a half generation Miamian. I arrived to the States when I was three with my family and we initially settled in Little Havana about two blocks from the now demolished Velvet Crème and Versailles. I liked taking art in school but when I took a graphic design class senior year I fell in love with the power of propaganda composition, and advertising. Once in college, I found myself detouring between other careers that were more technical or traditional before deciding that I wanted to pursue graphic design. I ended up at the University of Miami where I attained my Bachelor of Fine Arts. The experiences there and the professors I had pushed me to apply to graduate school. I taught art for a year prior to leaving to New York City to go to Parsons the New School of Design where I once again found that I grew immensely by learning from my surroundings, friends, and mentors.
Upon the graduation of my MFA, I returned home to Miami, recovered from the intensity of the two-year program, and then applied to the former Art Center of South Florida now Oolite Arts and was accepted into the residency. The studio experience I had at Parsons prepared me for the studio space I had on Lincoln Road. From the discipline required in your practice to the understanding that your artist community is of great importance. Once the two years were finalized, I was accepted and moved to the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood for a yearlong residency. During that period, I found myself working more at a metal shop in Hialeah than in my own studio due to the machinery available/necessary for me to create my new body of work. This led me to realize that it’s not just space that is important in the creative process, but also the tools necessary to make what you envision. Both of course do not always coincide. Last year I was invited to the artist residency at IS Projects in Fort Lauderdale where I was able to make an artist book. Something that combined my passion for books and graphic design/fine art backgrounds. I’m grateful for every experience I’ve had or am invited to partake in as it has informed the type of artist I choose to be.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It certainly has not been a smooth road in that there are always unknowns that one doesn’t foresee. There have been no handouts here, I’ve worked hard to prove and achieve my goals, but as I’ve started to approach certain life destinations, I realize that those unexpected obstacles have made me more prepared, able to adapt, patient, and make peace with the fact that although you cannot control everything, you can decide how you respond to things. Perseverance is key.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a Visual Artist who enjoys to work with Typography. I make three-dimensional work that explores multiplicity in language via signage or text as communicators of coded information. I carve and cut manipulated digital typography onto materials ranging from wood, cardboard, foam core, cork, aluminum, or mechanically assisted onto materials such as Plexiglas. I’m highly interested in creating works that are in dialogue with advertorial signage that can be encountered in a storefront window or outdoor space, making the pieces approachable and providing the viewer with the opportunity to decode their own meaning.
I’m known for my concrete poetry and anagrams. I enjoy how language allows the natural activation of images within an individual’s memory to be pulled. Within my artwork, I question societal standards, expectations, and stereotypes placed on civilians as well as investigate the cultural dynamics associated with nationality that arise from my surroundings and experiences with power structures. I would much rather be classified, labeled, and grouped by my character, capabilities and human qualities instead of my appearance. Words for that reason provide an androgynous freedom and anonymity as a visual creator in that internal thoughts are placed first and given the most importance, and not the human shell/ façade.
As a creative, I am most proud of the dedication that I apply to learning, in that when I am curious about a new process or material, I pursue it and learn about it in order to be self-sufficient. There is nothing wrong with asking for help from a professional in the field you are dabbling in, and there is no such thing as too many questions. It is better to ask how to do things correctly than potentially injure yourself.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I think that Miami is so diverse that we each have our own niche. I firmly believe that there is room for everyone, and not one person is identical to the next making it a place where there is room for both new and preexisting people/places/things to coexist. The weather here is a toss up from one minute to the next but it’s my favorite. Our variety of food, National Parks, and amazing wildlife makes it quite special. My least favorite thing about Miami is traffic.
- Website: www.elysabatista.com
- Instagram: @elysadbatista
Monica McGivern, Sharif Slimting, and Elysa D. Batista.