Interview with the artist TeenAdult by Olivia St-Jean
Livart presents in its boutique the works of the Montreal artist TeenAdult.
About TeenAdult: TeenAdult, Kezna Dalz is a Montreal-based artist who practices in several mediums. Her work is distinguished by the use of bright colors and raw lines to approach themes such as feminism, the fight against racism, popular culture and sexuality. Her naïve style and the use of a rich and vivid palette allow her to tackle sensitive subjects in a gentle way.
Where do you get the inspiration for your works and their titles? What inspires me are the emotions. Experiencing an intense enough emotion or thinking about an intense enough emotion makes me want to create. The representation of the black woman’s body also has a special place in my creative process. It inspires me and is very important to me.
As for the titles, they come quite naturally. I don’t really like to “overthink” things, I don’t bother with a title. They don’t have to be very complex, sometimes the titles are three sentences long and I say to myself: “well yes it’s a title”.
Has the pandemic influenced your creation of visual art? I don’t think it was more difficult, on the contrary. It was a lot of emotions at once; the rise of Black Lives Matter following the murder of George Floyd, the wave of denunciations, the pandemic. I create a lot with my emotions and I felt so many things at that time that made me create more than usual.
Are your works self-portraits? Not necessarily, I think my works are more psychological self-portraits than “physical” ones. I do not conceive my works in this idea, but they are necessarily related to my psychological state.
You address themes such as body diversity, feminism and racism, what are the challenges associated with these? As a black and queer woman, I feel the need to speak out on these topics and I think my position on them makes it easier to address them. They are my experience, so it is natural for me to talk about them. Unlike some people, it’s easy for me to express my emotions, I have to do it and it comes out artistically. Creating becomes a kind of self-therapy and I am really lucky to be able to do it.
Do you consider your art to be committed? Do you paint with the intention of making engaged art? I don’t sit in front of my easel and say to myself: “ok now I’m going to do a political work”. What I do is political so I guess my art is engaged, but that’s not necessarily my goal.
When I do a painting with fat black women just painting that, it’s a political act in a way. It defies what has always been represented. So I think it’s political in a way but it’s not necessarily “intended” to be.
One thing you want people to remember about your art? I hope that people who look at my work feel free to express their emotions no matter what they are as much as I feel free in creating these works.
What attracts you in the flash colors used in your works? I think it’s because they go well with the eye! What also comes up a lot are people who are like “omg this topic here is so emotionally charged but it’s approached with such gentleness”, that’s a nice compliment and I love that it’s like that! I also feel that the flash colors catch people’s attention and then people linger on the message.
Are there any artists that inspire you at the moment? I am inspired by artists of more classical styles. I am also fortunate to be in an artistic community where all of my friends and people I come in contact with are artists and they inspire me the most.