As we all know, the American Craft Magazine, a non-profit educational organization that is “the leading voice for craft in America” (American Craft Magazine, 2011), just celebrated its 70th anniversary. And while the magazine has helped introduce those who I like to call craft rock-stars, an article published this May inspired me to talk about artists we might not have previously heard of.
Rarely do we take time to read about an artist if we don’t know their name off hand. Names of artists are really like clothing labels nowadays. We know Chanel and Versace, and yet we are eagerly surprised by a new designer who comes up with something edgy and unusually charming and appealing. Similarly, when I read American Craft Magazine about Tanya Aquiñiga something just jumped out of me and made me want to sit down on a felt chair.
From the age of 4 to 18, Mexican-American Aquiniga had to wake up at 4 am to get driven across the border to the American side where her relatives lived so she could get to school by 8 am. Each afternoon, she would cross back to Mexico. Thus, it comes as no surprise that she calls herself a cross-over artist. Her art is quite beautiful, with bright vibrant tones and soft media— which allude to her cross-cultural upbringing—but the diversity of media and discipline is what truly strikes me.
Aquiniga’s story begs the question— Have you met an artist whose story is just as remarkable as their art? If so, who is it? In today’s art world, the craft speaks for itself. But, I challenge everyone at ACE this year to find an artist whose name they haven’t heard of and spend time to pick their brains. There is something beautiful in the minds that create beautiful crafts.