Tatiana Larsen’s art4ONE4all

UMOCA’s latest artist-in-residence featured in the A-I-R Space is Tatiana Svrckova Larsen and her art4ONE4all project. For Larsen, this series meant a step away from personal art toward works that would make a change—not for a general audience, but for one specific individual at a time.

The inspiration for each work in the series comes from interviews that Larsen conducts with strangers. As her interviewees reveal their unique stories, personalities, and aspirations, Larsen sets out to create visual representations of their experiences and lifestyles. Not only are the works visibly eye-catching, but they are also poignant. As Larsen manifests these real struggles and triumphs into visual narratives to which viewers can connect, the resulting artwork—and the subjects behind them—become more widely accessible and understood.

“The challenge was to decide what exactly to put into the show,” said Larsen. “In the end, I decided to pick pieces that are more involved with the community and public. The purpose of these artworks is to transform art into service for others.”

Larsen features three pieces in the A-I-R Space. In “Rebecca,” Larsen built a small shelter of books painted in camouflage. Rebecca—the inspiration behind the piece—lost her mother in the U.S. military. She herself joined the Army at the age of 18. Throughout her life, Rebecca’s fear kept her from realizing her desires of reading and learning. One day in military training, Rebecca lost her ability to hear—Larsen’s piece, then, manifests Rebecca’s unrealized desires.

Another piece, “Thistle,” is a site-specific art project completed in California, based on the lifestyle of a young transient hitchhiking from Chicago to Mexico. Thistle was playing music on the streets of Provo when Larsen met her. In the piece, Larsen stands resolutely in a hitchhiking pose, and her shadow is stenciled with spray paint onto the street. When a car comes and picks Larsen up, her shadow remains.

“I hope that the people I made this art for will like these pieces. That was my goal from the start, even though along the way I quickly realized that I may be the one transformed most by their stories,” said Larsen. “Everybody’s life is full or experiences and wisdom that others can benefit from.”

Larsen received a BA in Studio Arts from Wichita State University and went on to complete an MFA in Art and Technology from Ohio State University. Larsen’s works often link her personal journey to social topics such as cultural assimilation and interpersonal relationships. In tandem with her yearlong residency at UMOCA, Larsen has led a five-week-long public workshop and worked with community artists in making site-specific performance and installation projects throughout the streets of Salt Lake City.

“The artist-in-residence program provided me with a space and community to make my art, and an opportunity to show my work to the public thanks to the A-I-R Space,” said Larsen. “I am grateful that I had this opportunity. I hope that this program will grow and last for a long time.”