Stephanie Fogel BFA General Fine Arts Thesis Spring 2015
The Making of an Indigenous Activist
For my thesis project, I have created a symbolic language to illustrate the symbiotic relationship between capitalism and oppression that reveals the sometimes hidden connections between freedom of choice and an immobilized, depoliticized citizenry. The intention of this paper is to chart the evolution of myself as an artist and activist, while examining the influences that have propelled me both personally and creatively. Through the writing I will identify key thinkers and artists who have informed my senior thesis concept, and reveal the unique strategies I have developed as a visual activist. Within this work, I will provide context for the images I have produced, clarifying my motivations and providing a foundation of understanding for the viewer.
As a political artist, my work functions differently than someone who works with non-representational forms or the decorative. The purpose of my work as an activist is to deliver ideas as clearly and concisely as possible. The message must not be misinterpreted and this leaves little room for visual ambiguity. In light of this objective, many of my visual strategies revolve around legibility and the works wide distribution outside of the gallery context. The messages are pointed and influenced by design aesthetics, which can be digested by most people quickly.
This work is guided by my belief that art has the power to change people, individually and en masse. This idea is fundamental to my way of life. Exercising my own power through creativity rescued me from a life without promise, without dreams, without hope. Through my own story of discovery, I will show how it is possible to change minds and hearts through visual activism. Beginning with my initial political inclinations that developed as a younger person, I will trace the factors have led to my evolution as an activist and artist engaged in critical dialogue about American Imperialism.