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Ra Vashtar

born 1992, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Ra has always been interested in art. He started drawing to supplement images in video game manuals with his own. Since he couldn't tolerate the stimulation of a classroom environment and hated leaving the house, except to take classes at a local art center, he was homeschooled. Although he took several high school and college level art courses, his struggle with auditory processing made classroom learning difficult. As a result, he often taught himself through experimentation. His best learning experiences came from independent art courses and the online mentorship model-based program, CG Spectrum, which teaches media application, design and technical skills.

Being queer, transgender, and autistic, Ra's work is often influenced by themes of identity, diversity, isolation, and connection building. He finds meaning in initiating conversations about difficult topics and emotions and promoting kindness. He likes to nurture personal growth and the development of imagination and curiosity in others.

As a mixed media artist, Ra uses images of monsters to explore the wonder of the world around and within us. His method often involves applying layers of ink, acrylic paint, and watercolor; and incorporating found and hand sculpted objects. Since his partial colorblindness causes color to appear bland or brown, he uses hyper-saturated color.

While he calls himself an artist, he says he feels more like an explorer, a mystic, and a magician. He has an undying desire to go farther, to understand, to change, to process, to feel alive. He usually starts a piece when he a certain feeling washes over him, or when an idea strikes like a flash. He draws imagery from dreams and mythology, and he believes in the esoteric practice of creating art. He wants an intimate relationship to the medium he is working in so that it may guide the essence of his work. When a piece feels as though it has taken on a life of it’s own, he knows he’s finished.

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