Sonya Marie Sky is an artist born in the US-Mexico border town of Laredo, Texas. Raised in a household that upheld traditional machismo ideologies, her work is reaction and exploration of the social and domestic Mexican and American cultural constructs that surrounded her. Sky received her Bachelor of Arts in Art from Texas A&M International University in the Fall of 2013. She is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate at the University of Texas at San Antonio and expects to graduate in the Spring of 2020.
Through the use of feminine expectations and subject matter, Sky addresses vulnerability, questions gender-biased standards, and suppress generational societal and cultural expectations that should not dictate the future of Latinas. Previous and contemporary generations of feminism inspire her to create work that is about having control over one’s body.
What’s integral to your work as an artist?
A clean studio. I noticed over the years that I simply work best in a space that is free from unorganized mess and clutter to make way for new and, most recently, large works. Rearranging my studio space can also help reignite past ideas with a fresh mindset. As a professor once mentioned, your working space is all you, and creating a space with inspirational materials everywhere you look can be essential to your work as an artist.
What helps you get in the zone every time you go back to the studio?
Music and coffee. Every time I go back to the studio, music is there for me. Whatever genre I’m in the mood to listen to helps me forget any worries and stresses of life and throws me into the zone as soon as I enter my studio. Coffee, like for most artists, provides that jolt of energy I really need at times to function in my studio successfully.
How do you seek opportunities?
Lately, most opportunities I have received have been because of networking. Meeting individuals within the art community at events and social gatherings have been the most successful way of seeking and receiving opportunities to exhibit my work as well as work with local organizations -for example, Chalk-It-Up and working as a human sculpture for the artist Narcissister during her 2019 summer residency at Artpace San Antonio.
What is something you were surprised to learn after your first museum exhibition?
It’s difficult to recall my first museum exhibition visit. I was fortunate enough to have a supportive family that took me to art museums from a young age. However, in some of my first museum exhibition visits, I was surprised to learn how viewing an artwork in person is not really the same as viewing a reproduced image of a work of art in a textbook or online. Notable works include paintings by Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko at the Dallas Museum of Art as well as seeing the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Mona Lisa, and Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix at the Louvre. Viewing these works in person truly left lasting impressions, and the memory of these works is more powerful than simply viewing an image of them.
Have you swapped art with another artist? What did you trade?
My favorite work thus far has been a small painting of a barbie doll with eggs on the eyes in exchange for a lithography print I produced of a t-shirt with the word Garbage on it; the word Garbage referring to the 1990s band and the concept of worth, or lack thereof, for young girls.
What museum have you been dying to go to, but haven’t been?
Currently, I’ve been dying to go to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to see the current exhibition of Francis Bacon’s work. I have never been to MFA Houston, and seeing advertisements for this particular exhibit has my attention. I’ll probably end up making a trip up there sometime soon before the exhibition ends in May.
What aspects of the industry/SA art community would you like to challenge or change this 2020?
This 2020, and for the foreseeable future, I would like to be a part of an industry and community that challenges the idea of what art can truly be. I envision exhibitions that are critical, thought inducing to all viewers (not only the ones who are in the art field), and embrace the diversity of all artists and all artistic mediums to make “fine art” accessible to everyone.