Heart to Art

Student artist creates visceral portraits

“I do all I can to listen to my gut in creation. My goal is to keep my art feeling like its own.”

Camille Cardone

Mental illness. Identity. Sentiment. Femininity. These are a few of the themes that inspire the work of HSU art student Camille Cardona.

Cardona, who has lived in Humboldt County most of her life, draws and paints surrealistic portraits of girls and animals. Each artwork is deeply personal and carries its own story.

She said her lifelong experiences with social anxiety and panic disorder are what drive her to create and she uses art as an outlet to not only bridge her experience of life with the real world, but to embrace connectivity.

“Not only does art tend to truly speak to people, but it also is used to create
spaces for them to spend time in,” Cardona said. “I think an artist’s role in society should be to create this kind of connection in the world.”

While her work tends to be reflective of her own life experiences, some of the materials she creates with can be traced through her life.

“To be known, loved, and protected…” is a piece by Camille Cardona | Photo courtesy of Camile Cardona

“Sometimes I use paper from my childhood that I found in my garage, or pens, pencils and crayons from back then,” she said. “I use old frames to put my work in, too.”

Above all, Cardona strives to produce work that is true to herself. She said she even avoided taking an intro drawing class until this semester because she didn’t want her style to be influenced by formal technique.

“I do all I can to listen to my gut in creation, even before listening to my professors,” Cardona said. “My goal is to keep my art feeling like its own.”

Cardona’s visceral approach to creating is not lost on those who have worked closely with her.

Teresa Stanley, a former art professor of Cardona’s, says that what struck her most about Cardona’s work was how intuitive it was.

“She works very close to her heart and her work is very sincere,” Stanley said. “She’s less interested in making work that is polished and slick than she is in making work that is raw and expressive.”

In February, Cardona’s work was a featured exhibit at Outer Space, a community arts center in Arcata. Taylor Snowberger, a member of the centers’ art gallery committee, was responsible in-part for Cardona’s work being selected.

“I find both Camille and her art intriguing,” Snowberger said. “I wanted to give her this experience in hopes that it might be helpful to her trajectory
because I believe in her.”

Professionally, Cardona said that while she likes the idea of writing and
illustrating a children’s book someday, she’s not set on any one particular goal just yet.

“For now,” she said, “I just want to use my art to connect with more people.”

“Girl lost” is another artwork by Camille Cardona. | Photo courtesy of Camille Cardona.

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