BECCA VAN K
(b. 1991, Chicago) is a mixed media artist based in New York's Hudson Valley. Her work is highly sensory, with a strong focus on tactile comfort, the sounds of house & techno music, and vibrant colors & patterns which she explores through various handcraft and fiber art methods. Listening exclusively to dance music mixes when working puts her in a repetitious, meditative rhythm through which she transcribes her sensorial experiences. Her work has most recently been exhibited at Basilica Hudson’s 24-HOUR DRONE (Hudson, NY), Geoffrey Young Gallery (Great Barrington, MA), ARTBAR (Kingston, NY), Hastings College (Hastings, NE), Paradice Palase (Brooklyn, NY), and LABspace (Hillsdale, NY). Torn between city nightlife and the woods of the Catskill Mountains, she’d only leave New York if there were techno clubs in the desert.
It may sound trite, but I truly just want to make others happy with my work. At my core, I aim for my work to be tender, generous, and funny.
Hiking and handcrafting have become two of my life’s greatest passions as an adult, for I find meditation in repetition, whether that be through the step motion on a trail, or hand weaving embroidery floss through netting. I have amalgamated the two passions in my current series my hands swell when i hike, which exhibit my reverence for the natural world through needlepoint landscape studies. This series has also been a platform for me to be an advocate for nonprofits that focus on environmental conservation and Native American rights. As a white person who enjoys and recreates in our country's public lands, I believe it is critical to acknowledge that it is stolen. My contribution is minor, but considering I am profiting off inspiration from stolen lands, I believe it is important to contribute to indigenous nonprofits who have rights to the lands. With each needlepoint sale, I am currently donating 10-20% of my profits to the Navajo Water Project. Historically I have also donated proceeds to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and the Utah Diné Bikeyah.
With my Fashion Plants and i’m here for you works (which are all tactile and touchable), I encourage viewers to tap into the childlike sensibility of sensory comfort (and with that mindset, assigning names to fuzzy objects as children do with stuffed animals/blankets/dolls/etc.) and to allow them to also indulge in the taboo act of physically touching art. There is inherent vulnerability in this exchange: I relinquish control of my (emotionally and monetarily) valuable works and the viewers hopefully let a more sensitive, loving, and warm side of themselves show through their engagement.
I am also very drawn to loud color and shape combinations either directly from or inspired by the 80s/90s, so I try to evoke that visual language in my work. I am a highly sensory person myself, and thus, touch, sound, and sight are all at the center of my practice. I always listen to techno when I work and the emotions and meditations it evokes becomes a part of my artistic rhythm and I translate it to my visual lexicon.
BECCA VAN K