We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeralyn Victoria Mohr and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeralyn Victoria, what is the most important factor behind your success?
It’s probably grit, this fiercely dedicated driving curiosity and belief that my work, my voice, my practice is connected on a deeply human scale! Something a lot of people don’t know about professional artists is the amount of research, technique, education, training and theory that is behind the discipline. It’s the artist’s job to challenge traditions and systems. I think that deep curiosity for what’s inside started as a child, I spent most of my time being curious in the natural world; peeling apart bark I’d find washed up near the Red River, braiding grasses as if they were my own hair (nature as our greater body) and opening up seed pods to look from the inside instead of the outside, just playfully examining the physics of how things work! That time and space that starts with boredom or loneliness can turn into curiosity and resilience, and I remember much of that grit and critical thinking from an early age, as young as 3 years old. We dissect and notice naturally as children and as adults use that same critical analysis in a more trained way to understand the world around us as a series of visual metaphor. If you see everything that happens as visual metaphor, then it’s possible to not only analyze what is the underlying meaning, but also who benefits from knowing. Then as artists when we use this visual metaphor in our work, we choose to perpetuate or challenge with intention. We not only reflect on culture, but create culture as well. Artists use critical thinking methods and grit to work against systems, but this should include our own internalized systems. I feel a very strong pull to return to this primal drive to understand, to understand how things work and challenge what is even necessary or what is just a familiar relic of society or myself that no longer serves a more functioning future culture.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Primal Home is an evolving project I’m currently working on. It utilizes many aspects of what I’ve reflected on in the earlier question with regard to grit and curiosity, but incorporates my professional experience as an artist and interior designer in a way that doesn’t compartmentalize those fields of study as separate. I’ve learned it’s incredibly limiting to see these as separate from our overall human psychology and needs. Primal Home calls for a return to basics, to familiar raw materials that reveal, unearth, or bind our stories. A relic remembers the past and art challenges it… whether I’m upcycling silk, embroidering the surface of a painting with modern cross stitch or using water resist on a playful puzzle shaped canvas, my art asks us to be a bit more generous with our own raw edges, see the ways people are connected and bound and woven, then consider how to connect/boundary, mend/dissect, play and protect a livable space that feels safe, self-aware and inspired!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The best places to get to know a location are where art is taught, dancing is expressed and beautiful soul food is prepared!!!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Kinji Akagawa, my dear mentor in college and life, that has changed the shape of my brain dozens of times over and has reminded me that silliness and intellect are just 2 sides of the same curiosity and play necessary to be a responsible human and artist!
Youtube: Jeralyn Victoria Art & Interiors
(All taken by me)