In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive. – David Bayles, Art & Fear,1993
Accepting oneself is often easier to read in self-help books than to live. Having read Art & Fear, Yvonne Kunz’s role as an artist and an educator has her grappling with questions of what it means to accept oneself and others: to be American, a woman, and a person in this modern age. Ever surrounded by children as a mother and a teacher, she finds herself wondering, “When adults are struggling themselves how to communicate and self regulate, how do we teach children to do so?” The drawings of this series arrive out of Yvonne’s weekly practice of figure drawing, part of her path towards self acceptance as an artist. This body of work pairs the figure with phrases from the socio-emotional curriculum taught in elementary schools: Use self-talk, Play together, and Bystander Power, to name a few. The phrases hint at interpersonal challenges we face as members of a community and offers solutions with how to deal with the challenges. The juxtaposition of the two offers a glimpse of personality to the anonymity of the figure while offering word play between image and phrase.The result is a physical exhibit of vulnerability and acceptance.