Editor’s note: The below gif contains a flashing light.
Artists are tasked with questioning the narratives, events, and movements of the present moment. In their ongoing investigations of the world, they offer us a glimpse into the future. When the events of today are challenging and tomorrow seems uncertain, there is always an artist ready to share their viewpoint on what is possible.
In this portrait series, I ask artists working in Texas the question: “As a contemporary artist, how is your practice shaped by current events?”
Below, Narong Tintamusik responds:
As a survivor of sexual abuse, I am concerned with liberation of the “self” through my works. With so much violence and pain coming from highly difficult times, I had moments where I questioned the purpose of my practice and how it relates to the overall community. I heard from other artists that they did not want to talk about trauma in their works, and rather focus on joy or happiness. I have also heard from others that when artists discuss trauma in their work, it becomes a competition of who experienced the most hardship. It appears to me that trauma is sometimes fetishized and the audience is not seeing the complete picture of what the artist is going through and their nuances. Despite having these kinds of questions in my mind, the overall thoughts are to simply strengthen in my resolve of why I am making the work. I am making art to heal from trauma, and that involves going deep into the dark crevices of the psyche. I receive a feeling of joy and weightlessness from creating things that people do not necessarily want to see and hear. I find happiness after instilling moments of vulnerability within my work. Current events made me more true to my core.
About the Artist
Born in Dallas, Texas, Tintamusik lived in Bangkok, Thailand for 10 years. In 2014, he obtained his Biology undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Dallas, with a minor in visual arts. He has exhibited in group shows locally in Dallas and beyond, including venues in New York, Canada, and Germany. Solo exhibitions include 500X Gallery (Dallas, TX), Plush Gallery (Dallas, TX), and Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX). He is the recipient of the DeGoyler Memorial Fund (Dallas Museum of Art 2015), an Art Walk West Microgrant (West Dallas Chamber of Commerce 2021), and a Puffin Foundation Grant (Puffin Foundation 2022). He is currently part of Artist Co-op 500X Gallery.
In addition to being an artist, Tintamusik is an independent curator; his focus often lies within the ideas of identity, queerness, sexuality, Asian diaspora, figuration, abstraction, fashion, love, and nature. His curatorial projects include To Remember to Speak our Mother Tongue (2022) at Goldmark Cultural Center, Human/Nature (2021) at Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Tree With Half a Root (2021) at Mountain View College, and Queer Me Now: The Queer Body and Gaze (2020) at 500X Gallery and The MAC. He also started Musik, a virtual curatorial platform that offers solo exhibitions to artists without gallery representation through invitations and open calls.
William Sarradet is the Assistant Editor for Glasstire.