Raychelle Duazo

:: AGE

26

:: LOCATION

Seattle, Washington, USA

:: MEDIUM

colored pencil, marker, and pen

:: IDENTIFIES AS

queer, femme, a womxn, Pinay, Filipina-American

As a womxn, why do you think it is important to create?

In history, it feels as those womxn have been written off as emotional, sensitive, weak,  cr*zy, and “too much” in general. So much of this sentiment has barred womxn from succeeding in many different fields, including the art field, and I think, as a woman who creates, I want to celebrate the idea of being “too much” and inspire & motivate other womxn to speak their truths through art.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist/creative?

As much as I’ve accomplished within the past 5 years, I feel that my connections with people and my own personal struggle with being more vulnerable & open are my proudest and most important achievements. Making art that’s emotionally loaded & complex has brought me closer to people who buy & witness my work, and I think the process of making such vulnerable work has allowed me to be that much more genuine, personable, and empathetic with anyone I come across.

How do you define love?

Love comes in so many forms, but I think society places a lot of emphasis on romantic love. For myself, I think love in any form is valuable; friendships / platonic love, in particular, have really sustained my being and encouraged me to be more loving in general. And of course, love isn’t just saying “I love you”; actions truly do speak louder than words. In the case of the artist, I feel that reflecting people and representing them in my work is a (very underrated and subtle) form of love.

How do you make time to create?

As I mentioned earlier, I create a lot of stuff at work, mainly because I work too much overall. But it’s really important to me, and I don’t think I could go for any more than a day or so without drawing. If I don’t create stuff regularly, it feels weird to come back to, like I don’t know how to do it, almost like it’s foreign? I feel compelled to draw. It doesn’t feel like an obligation.

How does your mental health affect your work?

I’m a very emotional person (a Pisces Moon, in fact), so I think that’s the reason I feel compelled. I struggle with depression & anxiety, so working on art feels cathartic, soothing, and healing. I think a lot of my heart pours out into my work and is a reflection of my feelings and personality. At my lowest point in life, I made art practically everyday in a private journal, and up until maybe 5 years ago, my mental health almost prevented me from sharing my work with the world. I felt more closed off. Now that I manage my mental health better, I can produce work more consistently, frequently, and proficiently!

What is your earliest memory of making art?

My favorite thing to do when I was really young (probably around 5-7 years old) was fold a piece of paper in half (hamburger style) and draw a computer screen on the top half and a keyboard on the bottom half! Usually the screen was a stick figure next to a basic doodle of a house, haha. It was very good, from what I remember!

What social issues do you care about most?

I couldn’t say that there is one that is above all others, but in general, I want all marginalized and oppressed people to be able to live a life of happiness, success, and safety. Black lives matter and always will. Womxn and femmes will rule the world. Islamphobia is gross! So are cops! And racism! There’s plenty to fight against, plenty of things to be angry about, and plenty of things to work towards as well. Even if I never life a life of complacency, I at least want to be productive, passionate, and action-oriented around the causes that I care about.  

What could you not live without?

I’m a very materialistic person, so you’d think I’d pick a tangible object, but truthfully, if I didn’t have the community that I have now — friends, artists, creatives, activists — I wouldn’t have the space to find and be myself, and then I wouldn’t be able to make art, so…people who love and believe in me brought me to where I’m at and who I am.

Who are your influences/inspirations?

Like most people, I draw inspiration from so many different types of media. Growing up, I was really into comics and video games. Final Fantasy has always been an inspiration in drawing people & characters; Tetsuya Nomura & Yoshitaka Amano are two artists who still illustrate & design for that series, and I’ve always been inspired by them. Some comics artists that I really enjoy, look up to, and am inspired by are: Ai Yazawa, Junji Ito, Adrian Tomine, and Jillian Tamaki. I read a lot of comics and graphic novels, even now, and I would say that and music in general are what I’m most inspired by. Like most WOC, I also look up to Frida Kahlo (that’s a given)! Her style of self-portraiture is very sensitive & vulnerable, and I tend to gravitate to similar emotions when illustrating.

What message do you want to spread with your art?

A lot of my work focuses on people because, again, making genuine emotional connections with others fuels and sustains me. I also actively and intentionally choose to only portray POC because I feel that representation in art & media gives us the confidence to be unapologetically ourselves in a world that really tries to erase and dehumanize that. I want my art to reflect the richness, vibrancy, complexities, and depth of the different communities that I belong to: queers, the Filipinx community, communities of color, artists & creatives, womxn and /or femme-identifying people.

What does self-love mean to you?

Self-love is celebrating good / “bad” aspects of yourself! Maybe the “bad” things are just things you can improve & work on.