Nastassja Swift- BFA Fellow- 2015-2016
Nastassja Swift is a multi disciplinary artist who utilizes fiber art methodologies to create work that embodies her uncertainty with her version of blackness. Nastassja’s work addresses her reaction to experiencing racism and, subsequently, the desire to construct the right identity in order to achieve acceptance. The social hierarchy determined by lighter or darker skin tones that exists within the black community has been influential to how she understands identity and is a major conceptual component of her practice. Alluding to feelings of doubt and anxiety, Nastassja’s work highlights struggles with skin tone, speech and hair that she experiences as a black woman and artist, and how she processes those struggles.
Through fusing memories of her childhood with fictional responses, Nastassja depicts provocative yet playful self-portraits and narratives that illustrate feelings of discomfort, otherness and invisibility.
Unsure of what direction I wanted my work to go in, I spent the first month of my residency thinking about my previous work, and questioning decisions that I’ve made. That time allowed me to read texts I thought might influence my next body of work. Working mainly with fiber processes – weaving, felting and printing- I was able to work larger than I had before with the medium, and finally found a way to blend what I was interested in conceptually with fiber.
I hope to continue participating in artist residencies now that I’m back in the states - in September I’ll be attending a three-week residency at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. I have really enjoyed making my work in a low pressured environment and at my own pace, in contrast to a school setting, so I will most likely hold off on looking into grad school programs.