AwareNow: Issue 19: The Source Edition

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Page 83



ACCESSIBILITY THROUGH ARTISTRY Kam Redlawsk is a disabled industrial designer, artist, advocate, traveler, writer and speaker. She’s also a Korean American adoptee. She has been an advocate for the rare disease and disability community for 14 years: using art, writing, travels and tools that connect us as humans. She has lived with a very rare muscle-wasting condition called GNE Myopathy for over 20 years. Kam’s story can be found in her work and words shared with incredible artistry and inspiring authenticity.

Allié: It’s easy to get lost in your work, Kam, finding deep layers and dramatic edges in the details. Bold and beautiful, your artwork is steeped in purpose, sharing stories and messages with meaning. When you begin each piece, does it start with a personal story you want to share or a public statement you want to make?

Kam: When I start, it is definitely coming from something that is going on in my life. It could be just general emotions, or it could be something specific that sparked it. But usually when I start a drawing I very much visualize it in my head first. Then I’m trying to search for those lines and draw it out to try to communicate. In turn, because I share it publicly, it is a public statement in a way. A lot of artists share their art and they don’t share much more beyond that, but I want people to know what it’s about. Even when I share what something might specifically be about, which is normally about the emotions related to a progressive disease and my experience with that, people always inherently bring their own situation, their own experience, or their own struggles into the narrative of my drawing, which I really love because that is what art is supposed to be. It is the intention of the artist, but at the same time art is so wonderful because it can be translated differently by so many different people in a way that speaks to them. Ultimately, I’m just sharing my emotions on paper. I visualize it in my head, then it comes out, and I share it.