Elizabeth Campos

Austin, TX

@96Playitas

In general, I tend towards portraiture, no matter which medium I use. Working in clothing, some of my favorite steps of the process are applying hair/makeup or positioning in the space as if staging a scene for a painting. Revisiting heritage or looking to current loved ones in order to honor intimate bonds and sacrifices is integral for me across mediums. In my senior collection at RISD, I tried to commune with the regions from whence my family came, my cradle of life, and a field of rocks with scorpions under them for my ancestors.

How does the region influence your art?

For my collection “Fun on the Dry Earth,” I researched coal mining towns along the dusty Texas-Mexico border between 1890-1930. This echoed the time period and location of my own ancestors’ immigration, but because my ancestors’ records were lacking a significant amount of images, I turned to other families’ imagery. At first, I tried to draw from utilitarian silhouettes in their earnest, but became melancholy with representing the way in which the inhabitants of the coal mining towns were never afforded much individualistic expression while working, and never granted access to extended moments of rest. I wanted to respectfully represent the Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who comprised the communities of the border towns, who were often lied about and besmirched in texts printed at that time. I wanted to portray fictionalized versions of the laborers (domestic, non-domestic, all genders) in expressions of inaction/reprieve/repose, in order to gift them moments of rest. Therefore from the historically accurate silhouettes, my silhouettes enlarge into more peculiar shapes.

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