I can only support Diane's efforts to share her story and applaud her for finding the strength and voice to do so. Every woman or man affected by a heartbreaking story should do the same to prevent future heartbreaking stories from happening! One of my favorite quotes by Malala is: “I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” I believe that is Diane's mission. To give the unheard a voice and to tell their stories not because they are unique but because they are not!
Born in Lithuania, I was mostly raised in west Germany, and migrated alone to the USA.
I was rejected by my father because I was a girl. This profoundly impacted me emotionally and is the source of my intention and motivation to succeed. Life experiences also led me to tell my story as a female in a male dominated world. Ironically, every world I chose was male dominated—from skateboarding to woodworking and sculpture. Nevertheless, I decided to become an artist.
I have an Associates of Art degree in Art Studio Emphasis. However, today, the techniques I am using to construct my sculptural-portraiture pieces are self-taught. The choice of material to express my intentions is rooted in my early teenage years growing up in Germany, where an unbreakable bond with the street culture of skateboarding was created. That bond is of a “life-saving” nature. Over the years, I learned to see the potential in old skateboards: old graphics, scrapes, scratches, letters, words, and marks that streets could only give you and stories that streets could only tell you. Every day I choose to use broken skateboards as my medium to create relief like portraits that are inspired by real life stories and social justice issues. Today I work hard to combine sculpture and portraiture.
My production process is straightforward. At first, I deconstruct the material with a scroll saw into the shapes and colors I need, and then I proceed to inlay every color piece into each other to create a dimensional quality to my work. All scratches and marks are part of the original piece of material and all that is carefully and intentionally selected to be part of every subject I chose to create. Like other artists, I deal with different things in my life, so my personal experiences help me choose the stories I want to tell. My goal is to meld opposite worlds together to create work that makes you stop and think. At the same time, I want to empower women to think for themselves and to strive not for equality but for even better things. My latest body of work is called “Rebel Women”, where I portray women of influence who have important stories to tell—adding my own personal twist. Another recent body of work is called “Kindred Spirits”, with portraits inspired by female artists such as Alison Saar, Shirin Neshat, Patssi Valdez and Patrisse Cullors. The “Kindred Spirits” series is currently on display at the Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, CA. (September 12th - December 27th, 2020)
I chose to create female portraits because I found something in their personal story to admire. The more I think about their stories, the more resilience I gain myself. Their courage and strength transferred to me. I feel stronger and have more hope for the future. I want to share their stories not because they are unique but because they are not. Every woman out there can be an advocate for positive change in this world. Many can’t wait for change to happen.
Photo Credits Chris Orwig
Visit Inga's Website Here
See Inga's Current Exhibit "Kindred Spirits" Here