By ROSE DENIZ
There was never a time I didn’t feel compelled to see the world.
Raised in a village in rural Wisconsin, National Geographic maps lined our walls. Road atlases sat next to the phone. Peering at the contours of the maps on tiptoe, I was transported, and transformed by what I saw….visualizing cities and countries complete with sounds, smells, and colors. Through the use of my imagination, I had a very real experience of a world I had never literally seen.
It wasn’t until I moved to St. Paul, Minnesota as an adolescent that my borders became tighter. The realization struck: it was unlikely I would see every corner of the world.
In graduate school, I made paintings of personal mapping, using symbols and dots for trails, making tiny marks on large sheets of paper and canvas. I studied Julie Mehretu’s chaotic paintings that exploded into maps and diagrams. Discovering the book You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, informed my quest to understand everything from natural disasters and physics to the loss of my mother.
By creating my own maps, I was charting my future while seeking to understand my past.
I have fundamentally changed the way I make visual art as a result of moving abroad and having to live what I had only previously imagined. My drawings have shifted from abstract explorations of memory and the cosmos, to depictions of people, places, and objects. Creating stitch lines on fabric like drawings with thread have inspired an unraveling of artistic practice. I engage intuition, vision, and risk through drawing tools to map my way forward in cultivating an artful life.
How has your worldview literally shifted as a result of location?
Rose Deniz is knee-high in quilting fabric, writing a fictional handbook of domestic impulses, and sharing drawings of daily life on her blog.