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Celebrating Artistic Voices: A/PI Heritage Month with DVRP







General Overview of Community Artist Highlights:


This A/PI heritage month we are highlighting some incredible community artists that DVRP has worked with in the past! Art is central to our work at DVRP as a means for community building, grounding, and joy, as well as an alternative to Western healing approaches. From our annual Art As A Voice event to healing spaces and trainings, we remain grounded in art as an essential part of our healing and collective liberation. 


Ashley: 


Our first highlight is Ashley Abigail G. Resurreccion (they/siya). Ashley is a Filipino/-American creative healer (MA in art therapy) and hiking art therapist who works in sectors of education, mental health, fitness/yoga, and art. Ashley created some beautiful art that was featured in Nootka Rose, our pandemic resource guide. We spoke with Ashley to learn more about what grounds them and their art! 


What inspired you to get into art?

My creative journey started when I was 3 years old. My older brother often read tons of books, played video games on the Genesis and NES, and drew his own art and comics inspired by that. I remember wanting to ‘be like my brother’ so I read books, played games, or drew alongside him whenever possible. At some point I drew all over my bedroom walls with crayons and markers my mother gifted me and taped all our favorite pictures up to look like a gallery! 


Throughout my life, I also explored a variety of mediums. This allowed me to participate as an ‘Artist Alley’ artist at Anime Expo and similar conventions, to publish work for zines and art galleries that center social justice and mental health, and to become a teaching artist that leads educational programs, workshops, or classes at online and in-person events.


Can you share a little bit about your creative process and inspirations?

For the past 6 months, I have been training for the 2-day 100 mile ultra trail marathon ‘Born to Run’ event! This means that I’ve been walking, hiking, and running 20+ mile days in natural environments multiple times a week and strength training every other day. At the moment, my creative process ‘has no structure’ - or, to reframe this - my creative process is as transient and temporary as the sunrises and sunsets I witness along the way. I capture photos and videos during my outings to draw or make tiktok videos/instagram reels about my journey when I get home for recovery, but there is no set schedule or method to my creativity.


Presently, inspiration comes from my fitness journey, California Naturalist Certification course, and environmental justice volunteer work with organizations like TreePeople, Theodore Payne Foundation, Keep Nature Wild, The Nature Conservancy, and Wild Wonder Foundation. Many leaders in these organizations create nature-based art, native gardens, and more!


You made some beautiful artwork for our Nootka Rose navigating the pandemic resource. How did you choose to highlight those pieces?

During the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, I completed 2.5 years of service with the United States Peace Corps and decided to visit my family in the Philippines. That same week, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the world’s longest, strictest, country-wide quarantine that lasted nearly 3 months. I streamed myself online as I worked on a series of illustrations as a response to the depression and grief I experienced while stranded abroad and I submitted the pieces that resonated most for our Nootka Rose. 


Do you see art as healing? If so, how do you see it?

Art is an instrument that allows me to externalize thoughts, emotions, and experiences and reflect on them as their own separate entity. Like a time capsule, the art I create time-stamps a single story in my life. The artmaking process itself, i.e. the energy, intensity, etc. that I put into creating something, mirrors my internal dialogue as well.


How do you take care of yourself? How does your art relate to either self or community care?

When I am doing well, I’m more likely to make art I’m at peace with, and when I’m not, I’m more likely to withdraw from artmaking altogether. I take care of myself by generally trying to live a healthy lifestyle, maintain positive relationships with loved ones and my communities, and balance productivity with rest. 


What advice or encouragement would you give to emerging API artists?

When you are open to new connections, they can lead to new opportunities. Every day that you post or stream virtually, step out into the world, and show up as yourself, you are simultaneously expressing your authenticity and building your network as a creative.


For example, I actively bring art materials and a nature journal when I go on hikes. Sometimes people who see me making art come and chat! I bring enough to share art materials, gift small handmade journals, or gift small prints of my works with those who spend time with me. As a more passive example, my keys are always attached to an Alpaca stuffie and the keyring is adorned with Thai and Filipino accessories, and pinball, video game, and art merch. Sharing moments like these and discussing creativity can lead to wonderful projects!


Do you have any current or upcoming projects that you’re excited about?

I am currently facilitating activities at Los Angeles County Mental Health Summits with Upward Together and I recently published a short poetry book about grief and healing inspired by my work as an art therapy and mental health professional: https://a.co/d/9WnmEjS


I am also really excited that I am about to graduate with a California Naturalist Certificate from LA Nature for All and receive a Nature Journaling Certificate with Wild Wonder Foundation. 


Where can folks find your work, either in-person or online?

For these links, please feel free to use/link/tag whichever ones you normally put on your website(s) for virtual traffic!


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