Ambivalently Yours is a Canadian artist, and her works are inspired by “her ambivalence, feminist questions, and online interactions.” She describes her art as “aggressively sensitive and too much pink.” Her emotionally charged artworks got viral attention offline and online, as she anonymously screamed all of our feelings out there. Today, we talked with her about her story, her art, and her feelings.
How did Ambivalently Yours start? What is the story behind?
I first started my artistic practice as Ambivalently Yours, in 2011. At the time, I was studying feminist art at school while also working in the fashion industry, which felt like a huge contradiction. At work, I became the feminist killjoy every time I raised a concern about the sexist undertones in our campaigns, and in art school I was often seen as the fashion girl who many assumed was duped by the patriarchy just because I expressed myself through soft feelings and colours. Back then, I felt caught somewhere in-between two worlds that I both loved and hated, in other words I felt ambivalent. Eventually, I decided to stop trying to define myself as either/or and embrace my contradictions. Ambivalently Yours became a place for me to explore my in-between feelings.
What are your inspirations to create, and how do you start to work on a piece?
My work is always inspired by my own complicated emotions, which I try to express through different mediums as a way to try to understand and care for them better. I am also inspired by the emotions that people share with me online. I see this part of my work as ephemeral collaborative moments of understanding and support between strangers on the Internet.
Additionally, writing has always been a huge part of my practice. I like playing with words to try to describe specific feelings that don’t necessarily have a name. Then I add drawings to supplement what verbal language can’t express. Sometimes the words come first then I make the drawings, sometimes it’s the other way around.
All of my work usually starts as pen and watercolour on paper. Then I scan the image and edit colours or create movement. I like using a hybrid of analog and digital technologies in my process.
How does it feel, putting so many people’s emotions to images and words? How did you react to all the people that relate to your art so much at first?
I think one of the most comforting things in the world is when someone tells you that they know how you feel. When people write to me and say that they can relate to my work, it makes me feel understood, validated and less alone. This is such a gift to me, and so my hope is that I can return that gift in little ways by trying to help other people feel less alone too.