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Sylvia Raz: My Life Work

Every time I do something new I’m in love with it, it’s like my best work. And then a new piece comes and takes over. I am some sort of a political artist who focuses on women’s issues. Born in Uruguay, I spent my life creating stimulating pieces that I think are both “ugly” and “beautiful.” My work aims to invoke a visceral response, good or bad, to issues about our human condition. I just like to present work and confront the viewer and let them deal with it and decide how they feel. Some people have a hard time with this work, it’s not art that people like to put in their living room, in general, because it may seem threatening to the opposition. Living in Ojai and a member of Ojai Studio Artists for almost thirty years, my art spans across mediums — from stone to clay to yarn to canvas. I even turn trash into treasures!  I love finding things that can be given a new life, and that makes me feel very much alive. I began my journey with sketching when I was 10, inspired by the beautiful drawings of a fellow girl in my class. Though I never had formal schooling until later in life, I started painting while I was working as a Chief Nurse at a psychiatric hospital during the 11 years I lived in Jerusalem.  Looking back on my career, I could refer to myself as a real-life “Nurse Ratched. Though I saw horrific sides of human nature during this time of my life, the spectrum of human emotion I witnessed enthralled me to start creating pieces that explore and comment on the human experience. My favorite works are playful, provocative constructions that are ingenious and thought-provoking. I’m in love with what Chris Noxon, a fellow OSA artist said about me: She’s really an overlooked icon, a pioneering maker of dolls, sculptures and whole worlds overflowing with wit and wonder. I know I am a romantic and a dreamer. Thank you, Christopher!  I so much want to believe you Currently, I am working on a piece that comments on the recent decision to revoke abortion rights. While I recognize my work and the theme may not be what sells, I find the concern for women’s issues far more important.  You may hate me or love me, but I want a response to the problems or situations about women or life or the world. There’s no end to it, it’s there for us to work on. I feel that I’ll still have a million ideas that I wanted to create. But that’s the fun of the process — the dreaming, the planning, the getting excited. Going on the trip is more important, in many ways, than arriving.

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