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Impart: Local artist Consuelo Poland used art to speak

Consuelo Poland answers a few important questions about art. Her functional art piece is available for viewing at Women's City Club during ArtPrize.
Poland sits on her "Arboleda Maya Urbana"

Poland sits on her "Arboleda Maya Urbana" /Alicia Magnuson

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This article is part of a series called “Impart” which asks local and national artists questions about art to preface ArtPrize and begin the conversation.

Read other artists' answers: 

Thomas Hammer

Gil Lelazhe Jariq

Salvador Jimenez 

Melanie Manos

Christina Mrozik 

Nate Otto

Mark Reigelman

The "Arboleda Maya Urbana" looks different from every angle.

The "Arboleda Maya Urbana" looks different from every angle. /Alicia Magnuson

Poland's "Wall Cabinet" is inspired by temples in Tikal, Guatemala and Guatemalan tapestries.

Poland's "Wall Cabinet" is inspired by temples in Tikal, Guatemala and Guatemalan tapestries. /Courtesy of Consuelo Poland

Impart seeks to preface ArtPrize by asking artists essential questions about art. 

Local artist Consuelo Poland graduated from Kendall College last May with a degree in functional art. She works in industrial design, makes jewelry and functional sculptures. 

Her entry for ArtPrize, "Arboleda Maya Urbana", is an arbor inspired by her Mayan heritage. It will be located at the Women's City Club on 254 East Fulton Street and is available for viewing from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Viewers are welcome to sit on the structure, "feeling protected but not isolated from their surroundings." 

Poland hopes to work for a nonprofit in Guatemala in the future. She would like to work in welding while there and especially teach art to women and children. 

"Giving back to my family is the biggest thing I want to do," she says. 

What is art?

"Everyone likes something that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I think some people would say, 'Oh, that's art 'cause I like how it looks.' I like art that has a concept behind it. But there's no right answer. A lot of artists have very big egos and say, 'I know what art is, I'm an artist.' But it's almost impossible to have a clear cut line of what it is. 

Something's not art when there was no real effort or energy that pushed the artist. I don't think the artist lost sleep trying to make this thing. It's not that hard to make. 

For me, because I'm always building things in 3D, it's important that people aren't afraid to use it and when they look at it, maybe it makes them think of different things, makes them feel a certain way. I like the 'wow' factor of 'wow! I've never seen that before.'  

I guess it's just pushing the artist to their limits and out of their comfort zone."

What is the purpose of art? 

"To learn new techniques, to really refine your craft, to bring new ideas out there that maybe people would never have thought of since they had never pushed themselves that far. So, bringing something new."

Is art important? Why is art important? 

"Oh, definitely. Just for me on a personal level, it's really important. When I was adopted I couldn't speak English and my parents are Americans so they tried to learn Spanish but they learned just the basics. I spoke a Mayan dialect with Spanish mixed in there so no one really knew what I was saying. I would draw all the time; I wouldn't really talk to anybody because I couldn't and I would let my parents know what I thought and how I felt. If I was mad at my mom, I would let her know by drawing a dog pooping on her head. I would leave these little drawings around so she would know I was mad at her. 

For me it was a necessity. I needed to draw and have art. My parents brought legos to me and I was just so thrilled about it. I kept building things like Mayan temples. They knew I was going to be an artist because they were like 'wow, she's only three but she keeps on making these big things.' Throughout school, I was only excited about art classes. I was like, 'I just want to draw, that's all I need to do.' 

It's important for me to make the most of the life I was given here because I was given up because my mom couldn't take care of me and she knew I needed more than what she could give me. I'm the only one in my family who has had an education and who's had any of these opportunities to get as far as I have. 

If I work for the nonprofit, I would like to be seen as a role model. I would like to show them that it is possible to do whatever it is you want to do as long as you put the energy forth."

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