Artist of the Month: Alicia Smith (Interview, Pt. 1)


Ojo De Venado by Alicia Smith

I identify as Xicana and Sicilian. Primarily my work has been more so through the lens of my Indigenous heritage. I’m an Anahuac woman and I have been studying Huehuepahtli , The Great Medicine and Curanderismo ever since I met my Nagual for the first time. I can’t hide my Mediterranean roots either though. I feel they manifest themselves moreso in compositional decisions for now but will hopefully come forward in other ways in the future.

If there is a god it is art and artists are a chosen medium for this power. If you do not create, when you are called to, it will kill you. You might survive but you will not be alive. I create because I would die if I didn’t.

The work I make is medicine. I am of the mind that if art is not created to heal or discover something it is of little worth. Ezra Pound said something to that affect once. Each piece was made to capture a moment of extreme vulnerability.

Ojo De Venado was created during a time when I felt I was suffering terribly from Mal Ojo. Symptoms are: irritability, headache, nausea. I was dealing with drunk, affluent, young, white men that struck me every day with their entitled and arrogant gazes. Ojo De Venado is a large brown seed used as a talisman to protect yourself from negative energies that are brought on when people look at you too much. Especially covetously. As I sat down to draw I found myself feeling very like Mazatl, deer-like. Being a survivor, even being looked at a certain way can cause fear and anxiety. Helpless. A deer without eyes. But, as I drew, sage grew up through the empty socket. Sage which settles the stomach when ingested, purifies and cleanses. We all have the medicine inside of ourselves to heal our wounds.

Part 2 of Alicia’s interview will be up on February 18th. You can follow her intricate process of creation, here.


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