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Dean Sobel and Melanie Yazzie
Left: Dean Sobel in the Museum galleries by Chris Schneider; Right: Melanie Yazzie

Bite-Sized Talks at Lunchtime Series: Melanie Yazzie and Dean Sobel (virtual discussion recording)

This event took place on April 9, 2020. We’ve broken up the previously scheduled panel Professionals in Conversation: Becoming an Artist into three, bite-sized conversations between Director Dean Sobel and each of the artists. Many artists look back on their career and can recall a moment when they found their voice. First up was Melanie Yazzie, Professor of Art Practices and Head of Printmaking at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO.

In the discussion, Melanie was unable to answer all of the questions in the chat box before the event ended. Here are her answers to two additional questions:

Can you say more about looking at things…how did you learn to look?
Melanie: When I am looking at things it depends on what I am looking for.  For example is it the overall theme in the work. Is it the lighting and value in the piece? Most often I find that I am looking for something out of the ordinary. Something maybe every day but the artist is showing me another aspect of that event, object or moment. Capturing a mood, a thought, and moving me visually. I love to find the unexpected in the ordinary. That often makes me smile and want to meet the artist.  Things with content always excellent to see. When the artist is making us think. That type of work is worth having in the world. When the artist is doing research on a subject and pushing us to learn and see a different way. Issues in the art are not always present so when I see it I feel that is a strong work.

Do you have any favorite ways to connect with yourself or connect with your own stories?
I have been making my work now for many years close to 30. In the beginning I was always very critical of my process and methods.  Not sure. Doubtful. Now I see that my story is unique. We all have them and when we own them. Really get close to sharing those stories the work flows. It is unique because we are all different. So I say tell your own story and own it. That will make it original.  I find that is my favorite way to connect.

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