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Meet the Artist: Deana Tavares

The Groundwork Gallery will feature the unique work of Deana Tavares (aka jummyjeenz) in her show titled “Human Nature” starting Saturday, September 28 with a gallery opening from 6-9 pm.

Human Nature represents the depth of feeling, thought, self-expression, and connection that we all exhibit as human beings. This is a merging together of all aspects of life. Reality mixed with dream worlds then blended into images of interconnectedness, freedom, and hope.

Groundwork’s Gallery Director Jessica Bregoli had a chance to check in with the artist to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and more.

What materials do you work with?

I work with anything and everything that inspires me. Within my work you will see acrylic on canvas as well as on wood. I have also worked with charcoal, pastel, watercolor pencil, and collage, at times merging all of these elements together. Recycled pieces always inspire me greatly as well. It is exciting for me to rethink the purpose of a discarded unloved item and turn it into something different, beautiful, thought-provoking, or useful. Face painting and digital art have also merged within my creative space and tend to lean towards activism, to uplift, or empower others.

Tell us about your current body of work. What motivated it?

The current state of our world regarding injustice and inequality has definitely inspired my current body of work. There is a need for individuals to be seen, valued, and heard within a society that is currently exhibiting a great deal of hatred and violence. Humanity and compassion are at the very heart of every brushstroke. I want the viewer to look at my most recent work and see themselves within it, to see themselves as a child reflected back through children of varying ethnicities, and to remember the interconnectedness of all things. I don’t believe that we can find peace and unity within our world until we can see ourselves within one another. By softening our eyes to others maybe we can recognize the light that shines within us all and remember that we are all part of nature, connected within this giant web of life.

How do you integrate art into your life and other responsibilities? Do you work full-time as an artist or do you wear other hats?

Art is my life! It has never been easy to keep it at the center due to life’s hurdles, but for the past six years I have managed to do so. I certainly have always worn many hats over the years and still do now. Visual art, poetry, acting, and songwriting are some of the creative directions that I am developing work in regularly. However, I also do social media work for a Dedham TV station, have taken on a second job at the Dedham public library, occasional handywoman work, and looking for yet another job currently.

I am part of School Street Sessions Poetry Advisory Committee, performing regularly with the We Did It For You acting troupe in a musical about Women’s Rights, and will be published in the Art On The Trails upcoming poetry book this month. My passion runs deeply through the art world! I hope to remain within this highly creative space, collaborate with others, and have more opportunities to share what I have learned along the way with young people and adults to make a positive impact within the world.

How has your art practice evolved over the years?

I like to call myself a creatively fluid artist these days. My artwork has evolved by merging all aspects of who I am as an individual and blending them together organically. Focusing on one medium in the past shut me down creatively as an artist. When I learned to open myself up a bit more and let everything flow together harmoniously that’s when my true artwork began to emerge. Within my creative space I can be painting while listening to cello music or Buddha nature radio, writing, or strumming the guitar intermittently. I take it as it comes, and I’m grateful for everything that arrives.

What or who inspires you?

Everyone and everything inspires me. Nature inspires me. Music inspires me. Poetry and art inspire me. The world as a whole inspires me. All of the beautiful humans that I have come into contact with in my life have left a tiny seed that emerges somewhere along the lines and is reflected through my visual art, written pieces, and songs in some way. The inspiration for my paintings usually arrives from a vision that collides into reality and is then mixed with emotions, dream worlds.

How is community important to you as a practicing artist?

There is a saying that I have on my website that describes this importance in a few words. 

Alone I am but one tree, but together we are a forest! ~jummyjeenz

Community makes me feel included and part of a whole. Everything and anything is possible when communities come together. We lift one another up and we leave doors open so others can walk through. As a practicing artist, I realize my responsibility to my community to help raise awareness, to help others to be heard, and to shine a light into the darkness. I believe that we all have something to share. Community is connecting and sharing whatever skills or knowledge we all have gained to improve the lives of those around us. Within a shaky world, community can give us some solid ground in which to stand upon and work together towards a common goal.

Be sure to stop by the gallery opening on 9/28 from 6-9 pm to meet Deana Tavares and check out her work. The opening is free and open to the public– more info here. Can’t make it? The work will be on display through October 20th.

Caitlin Joseph