Life as an Artist: Making it Work in Kansas City
Cheryl Eve Acosta
Thursday, September 28
5:00 p.m. Cash bar
6:00 p.m. Panel discussion, moderated by Barbara O'Brien,
Exhibition Curator and Executive Director of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, in cooperation with the Kansas City Chapter of National
Written by Barbara O'Brien, Exhibition Curator and Executive Director of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Cheryl Eve Acosta blurs the distinction between organic sculpture and personal adornment. A relative newcomer to Kansas City, Acosta has become a significant voice in the Crossroads community of artists. Her unique, sculptural jewelry has been prominently featured in KC Fashion Week, Fashion for a Cause, and 18th Street Fashion Show. Sitting and talking in her small, Crossroads storefront, where she has been for nearly five years, it was apparent that the objects she creates reflect not only the melding of cultures in her own life story but also the symbolic meaning of the organic forms forms incorporated into her artistic vocabulary.
"The story of my work," she said, "is the cycle of life. My mom was French, and I lived in France as a child. My dad was Puerto Rican. Living in Puerto Rico [were she moved at age six] shapes you as a Latina. My inspiration was the ocean, beach, life." After earning her master's degree at Rhode Island School of Design, Acosta spent a year in India "to decompress." Then she moved to Kansas City to be with her sister: "I have stayed in KC. The support here has allowed me to express and manifest my creative side. In a bigger city, that would have been more challenging. Here, I can create my DNA, my brand, my voice."
In 2009, Acosta began "growing metal"-drawing with copper on organza, using a conductive process in a liquid environment that she named her "own little ocean." The process "slowly became about birth," and she calls the resulting objects, including Open to Heal (cuff) and Withered Bloom (brooch) (both 2009), "sculptural jewelry."
In her most recent work, Ciclos (2015), thirteen brooches scatter across the expanse of a body or a museum vitrine. The spiral form, which Acosta calls "the shape of a life," is the dominant shape. Six layers of enamel that start as a wax form and come fused as glass in 1500-degree heat create the palette of Birth (2015), a cluster of copper barnacle-like forms with brilliant blue ringlets sparkling along the edges.