A pencil. A piece of wood encasing a graphite core that can draw in a thousand hues of grey and black. The memory of the first attempt at writing, the hardness of the wood between uncertain fingers, the exertion of small force on the paper and finally, carefully drawn marks of different thicknesses and angles. Joanna Concejo’s many works evoke this forgotten memory of our graphite past.
“I really want the resources and the money that’s coming into the city to reach the bus, but I hope that gentrification never reaches the bus because there’s just so much culture and originality there.”
“What both the book and the project have taught me is that when you realize you’re not the only one experiencing your specific pain, it is a relief.”
The artists I know are perfectionists, heartlessly so, because that is required. They will paint right over a failed canvas; they will rip out every stitch and start anew. The artist comes to her material with an mix of control and surrender, and her success seems to rely on her ability to grasp a material’s specific demands, while reconciling those with her own vision. There is something there, in the material, that works against you—which requires rigor, but might bring relief.
To have the fire in the belly means to have the drive and the desire. But it’s more than that. In terms of dance, it means the dancer must communicate the want and need to dance, embody it, and project it outward. It’s the essential thing that sets the professional apart from the amateur.