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The Cardinal Times Spring 2021 Issue

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PAGE 2 • The Cardinal Times, SPRING 2021 PROFILES

Profile: Ava Hudson’s expression through design

By CLAIRE YOO

Hudson wears her Russian Candy Wrapper

Dress, which she was inspired to create after

seeing the intricate patterns in a Russian candy

store.

Courtesy of AVA HUDSON

Even during the hardships of the

Covid-19 pandemic, junior Ava Hudson

continues to flourish with her love for expression

through fashion. Hudson has a

passion for expressing herself through

what she wears.

Hudson grew up in a household valuing

art, and this environment naturally encouraged

her towards exploring different forms

of art. In her early years, she was sent to an

arts-integrated school which allowed her

to carry out projects using her creativity.

Even in her household, she lived in an environment

perfect for focusing on interests

requiring creativity such as playing an instrument,

dancing and drawing.

“My parents restricted how much TV we

were allowed to watch, so when we were

looking for something to do, the natural

thing was to go to the art room. At age eight

or nine, I began to randomly make these

very dramatic, odd gowns that usually fit

horribly, but I took great pride in wearing

them,” says Hudson.

She continued to grow her interest in

art, especially her love for costume design,

both influenced by her family and her experiences

from training as a ballerina for

years.

“[Training for ballet] helped spark my interest

[in] art on the body, since that’s what

dance is in a way. Also, my grandmother is

a professional visual artist and has always

encouraged my sister and me to dive in

when curiosity emerges. My sister and I see

her as a role model because she has demonstrated

that being an artist is a valid and

meaningful career,” says Hudson.

She started off by helping with tasks like

making costumes for school plays at her

arts-integrated school, and she went on to

learning to sew from her mom at age eight,

when she started making clothing for herself.

Since then, she used a technique of trial-and-error

through the help of tutorials

on Youtube.

Carrying on this natural interest for art

and creation derived from her childhood

memories, Hudson continued with her passion

for fashion. One reason why Hudson

became so intrigued with fashion was because

she believes it’s a communal experience

which can also be used as a tool for

self- expression.

“The fact that fashion is becoming much

more inclusive of body types, gender identity,

race and sexuality makes it even more

exciting; if fashion is about self expression,

there’s more opportunity now than ever before,”

says Hudson.

An aspect of fashion design that Hudson

is especially fascinated by is couture:

fashion that is made to fit a client’s specific

requirements and measurements. Couture

is especially eye-catching for Hudson because

all of the pieces are hand-crafted and

unique, making them true pieces of art for

the body.

“To me, couture is an intense sensory

experience, a beautiful art form, and a very

open opportunity for self-expression, all

at the same time. Art and music are both

areas I’ve found I can submerge myself in

with a kind of sensory joy….and making or

watching couture takes the experience up a

notch and overwhelms me even further, in

a good way,” says Hudson.

With the current Covid-19 pandemic, one

might expect that pursuing a passion for

youth might be more challenging than before.

But for Hudson, Covid-19 has felt like

a silver lining with all the time and flexibility

she has gained from her online school

schedule. While being able to gain more

confidence with her work created by the

distance from society’s judgement Covid-19

brings, Hudson has been able to focus more

on bigger projects, like the one she is in the

process of creating.

Continued on Cardinaltimes.org

Portland protest art: a reflection of the

past, present and future

By MEI XU

Walking through downtown Portland,

you might stumble upon a blue mural depicting

the face of a dreaming woman and

an excerpt of the Langston Hughes poem

“Dream” written in cursive. The mural exists

among the many Black Lives Matter

protest art pieces that illustrate the city.

Meet Bernadette Little, the creative behind

the mural.

Little, who is from Baltimore, MD, moved

to Portland in 2017 to work as a graphic designer

and art director. Her passion for art

began in her early childhood and continues

to be an integral part of her, allowing a

channel for self-expression.

“I have always been into the arts. I actually

started out, when I was really young,

as a violinist and then that slowly merged

more into the visual arts… Drawing and

painting are my absolute favorites,” Little

explains. “It has always been my first love

and my way of expressing myself. I have

never been a big extrovert… I’m definitely

not a wordsmith or a poet. My way of expressing

myself has always been through

the visual arts.”

Little credits her love of art, specifically

painting and drawing, to accessibility.

“You don’t need a lot of money, you don’t

need a lot of tools, just whatever you can

make to make a mark,” she says.

And for Little, her inspiration for art is

everywhere.

“Everything is a story. The way that you

move, the way that you act, the way that

people react to you. Everything has something

behind it. I think delving into those

stories in everyday life is what inspires me.”

These days, Little has been concentrating

on the intersection of her diverse passions

and her educational background as a student.

This focus has led her to emphasize

the importance of protest art, a form of expression

that transcends the racial, social

and economic barriers posed against artists

and creatives today.

“I’m also a master’s student and… there

have been some courses where we studied

social change organizations so that on top

of being involved in these mural projects

has really cemented in my brain the transformative

power of protest art. [Protest art

is important] once again for that accessibility

piece and its universal ability to provide

a foundation for somebody to communicate,

for somebody to get their ideas across

that transverses language that transverses

academia and overly complicated ways of

communication. Even within the art world,

the gallery space is a very colonized and

institutionalized space. I think protest art

gives people the ability to take down all

those barriers and express themselves in a

transformative way,” she says.

This summer, Little took to the walls of

Portland to combine her talents with the

push for social justice marked by the Black

Lives Matter protests that flooded the

streets. She began work on one of her protest

art mural projects after fellow muralist

and creative Solamée Souag (@c.hroma on

Instagram) contacted her.

Little’s inspiration behind the mural

is one that echoes the deep history of the

United States, paying homage to the past

civil rights leaders that have fought for

change.

“The times that we live in are nothing

new. They are new to us, but not to the

history of society. I was thinking… the pull

quote from Langston Hughes was indicative

of that,” she says. “It speaks to the fact

that this is a historical moment for us, but

it is building upon the work of so many other

people who have come before us. It is

speaking to what is happening in our time

and what happened in their time.”

But more than just a reflection of the

past, Little’s mural is also indicative of the

future.

“I also wanted [the mural] to be something

slightly optimistic. I wanted it to be

something [that reflects] we are fighting

for a purpose, we are fighting for a cause,

we are fighting for those dreams that we all

still have and can achieve if we all work together,”

she says.

In an effort to achieve this narrative, Little

carefully planned her mural, painting in

blue hues for a dreamy effect and using her

sister as a reference for the sleeping female

figure in the mural.

“I wanted it to be this contemplative piece

that spoke to the past and the potential of

the future. It was super fun to get my sister

involved. The pull quote itself, I reached out

to a friend named Andrea [Cenon] (@andreacenon

on Instagram) who works with

me and is a wonderful hand lettering artist.

I knew that wasn’t my forte. We collabed on

it… and I went down to the space with my

partner and we got it up within a few days.”

Continued on Cardinaltimes.org

To check out more of Bernadette Little’s work,

check out her Instagram @youcancallmebernie

and her website www.youcancallmebernie.com.

Photo by KATE HADDON

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