Artist Javaughn Fernanders is inspired by family and relationships.
The Beaverton resident has been exploring concepts, ideas, emotions, and feelings associated with family through two of her recent projects.
In her “Family Landscapes” series, Javaughn is creating monoprints inspired by vintage photographs passed down from her grandmother. Many of the photographs are from Javaughn’s own childhood, growing up with cousins in San Diego in the 1970s.
Using watercolors and inks, Javaughn paints a scene from a photograph on plexiglass, or sometimes paints directly on the photograph itself. Then using card stock and wooden spoon, she makes a single print while working at her kitchen table.
A mother of two, Javaughn has learned to work quickly with materials that are available on hand.
The landscape series may be based on actual photographs, but the prints often end up looking more abstract. Javaughn has discovered that even though the work is conceptual, it still resonates with people.
“It doesn’t have to be realism to connect with somebody,” Javaughn explains.
In addition to her prints, Javaughn has taken to exploring concepts of family through a different medium: genograms. She was originally commissioned by friends to create a traditional family-tree style piece for their adopted daughter.
But Javauagh was troubled. Some of the information for the tree was missing. It was lopsided. Javaughn didn’t want the tree to remind the girl of absences.
So Javaughn came up with the idea for a genogram with movable pieces and a flexible design. That way the girl could decide how the tree looked, and where the people on it fit in relation to herself.
This type of family tree, Javaughn realized, would resonate with non-traditional families. Whether foster families, children living with grandparents, same-sex couples, or other unique family situations, those relationships are harder to capture using a traditional model.
The genograms are a way for these unique families to “show their flag.”
“Traditional family trees are so rigid,” said Javaughn. “The genograms can be based on the relationships you feel, not necessarily your biological relationships.”
Not only are the genograms a visual homage to non-traditional families, but Javaughn discovered they can help families facilitate difficult conversations and gain insights into how children see themselves and their family relations.
Since creating her first genogram which was the shape of a tree, Javaughn has developed a few other models. She’s also made hot air balloons and airplanes. Her genograms are mixed media with watercolors and paper.
Javaughn hopes to continue her work in this area. She wants to work with organizations that serve non-traditional families and host workshops where she helps clients design their own unique genograms.
Javaughn is a self-taught artist. She’s also worked in public relations and the nonprofit sector. She is the past director of Companion Art Studio, an organization that provides artistic experiences for people with disabilities.
For more information about her work, connect with Javaughn online: reneefe.wordpress.com
Or contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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