Renee Couture, a multi-media artist from Glide, Ore., peaks over a piece she created during her residency at Pine Meadow Ranch in Sisters, Ore., on Nov. 3, 2021. The piece showcases a photo of Couture as a young child in a pink tutu that was later covered by paint, shapes and other markings by her daughter. Couture created the piece with her daughter—who is a same age as she was when the photo was taken—to explore what it means to be young and the differences and similarities between her and her child.
Couture holds an image of her younger self. For much of her career, Couture’s art focused on the “personal and political.” Specifically, her work was influenced by her rural background and humanity’s relationship with place. Her focus shifted when she became unexpectedly pregnant at 42. Since the birth of her now two-year-old daughter, much of Couture’s work has centered around parenthood, post-partum depression and her own childhood.
Couture poses in her studio next to two blank canvases. In her work, Couture explores post-partum depression; something she describes as the “ugly secret” of motherhood. “Motherhood has totally fractured me, cracked my foundation and just upended everything,” Couture says. Recently, Couture has worked towards building that foundation back up. “The last probably year I’ve been slowly putting things back together and reclaiming bits of myself,” Couture says.
Courtney McCall—a multi-media artist and fourth-year student at the University of Oregon—gazes through one of her unfinished sculptures, in Eugene, Ore, on Nov. 15th, 2021. McCall, who began as printmaker and recently transitioned into sculpting, says she uses her work to explore herself, vulnerability and social issues. “I originally started in printmaking, but I just had a hard time translating what I wanted onto such a 2D surface,” McCall says.
McCall made this piece to represent her own experience with domestic violence. To McCall, this sculpture is meant to show how delicate she had to be during times when she felt something as simple as a footstep could lead to her own harm.
McCall sits amongst various prints she’s made over the past two years. McCall began to explore her Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in some of her prints after she was diagnosed at the age of 21. Some of her work features amalgamations of objects that represent the different ADHD symptoms that she experiences. “I wanted to depict objects that I considered to be a part of my everyday ADHD,” McCall says.
Kundai Kapurura is a product design major and co-founder of Philanthropy Fabrics. Kapurura began hand-painting and upcycling clothes in 2020, at a time when she felt — due to the emergence of COVID-19, the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and the increasingly destructive wildfire season — a general sense of unrest globally as well as within the Oregon community. After reaching out to her co-founder, Sophia Cobb, the pair began creating and selling sustainably sourced clothing with their own creative spin while donating a portion of their profits to various organizations.
Kapurura holds a copy of Virgil Abloh’s book of quotes. Abloh is an American fashion designer and one of Kapurura’s biggest inspirations. Kapurura says Abloh, who passed in late 2020, combined a skating and street world style with that of high end brands like Louis Vuitton. To Kapurura, Abloh walked a path she hopes to follow.
Kapurura says designing clothing for Philanthropy Fabrics has helped her explore herself and believe in her own abilities. “I feel like I’ve always had a creative mind, but I didn’t necessarily know how to express that,” she says.