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Q&A with MFA student artist ConnieZamorano

Connie Zamorano is one of the nine graduating Master of Fine Arts students who is having her work featured in a week-long solo exhibition at the Hanes Art Center. Her exhibit, called “Uproot,” explores the beauty and meaning of the cicada in her life.

The exhibit is part of a longer nine-week exhibition series being held in the John and June Alcott Gallery. Staff writer Jessica Zambrano interviewed Zamorano about “Uproot” and her inspiration.

The Daily Tar Heel: How did you get started with your art?

Connie Zamorano: My mom has always been an art teacher. We’d always just be making things constantly, like at birthday parties we would make candles in the sandbox and screen print t-shirts and stuff. And I just loved it so much. Making things really makes me happy, and reminds me of my mom.

DTH: Why do make the content that you show?

CZ: When I was making work I guess I didn’t really focus on content. I would get urges to make things, so I’d just make them. And then coming here this program is so conceptual that I was really delving into what this all means to me. And it’s funny how all of my life experiences kind of just pour into what I make. And so being able to define what each little part is to me is really, really interesting and eye opening.

As for my show, my main images are cicadas, so that kind of goes back to my childhood, too. My sister and I would run around the backyard just picking up all of the shells we could find, and I think they represent something, of that time frame, like when you’re discovering new things as a child and everything is so new. They’re just so intricate and strange looking and they remind me of the visceral summertime feelings running around with my sister.

It brings back visceral memories for me, and with my drawings, they’re black-and-white and the insect is kind of manipulated, so it’s my interpretation of me longing for these like intangible memories.

DTH: How did this idea of the cicadas come to you?

CZ: Moving to North Carolina is the furthest I’ve ever been away from my family. And then coming here not knowing anybody and being a complete introvert and having to get to know people made me feel like I could kind of relate to the cicada. I liked being alone, but at the same time, longed for interaction.

I’ve definitely always been interested in insects and bugs and I collected them ever since I was little, but I never really made art about them. I just kind of admired them in their state that they’re in — because they’re so beautiful on their own. But relocating and trying to figure things out, I immediately went to something that I know, and that was the cicada. And I moved here during the summertime, so they were out.

DTH: What was your favorite part about creating your artwork featuring the cicadas?

CZ: Just kind of discovering the form as I am observing and interpreting it into the drawing. And just really studying each intricate part, so I’m excited to go through the process because I’m just looking at these different textures and things.

A lot of my body of work deals with watching — not completely interacting in the situation, just observing.

DTH: What do you hope that people take away from seeing your work?

CZ: It’s hard to say because some people are repulsed by insects, but it’s mostly I just hope that they see them in the way that I do. Just kind of relating to a time of the past when you’re experiencing and exploring new things, and kind of appreciating things for what they are, rather than “What is this? How does it work?” Instead of the suffocating thoughts, just kind of appreciating it for what it is while it’s there.

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