Featured Stories: Creativity in the Appalachian Highlands
These are the people, the organizations, and the projects that make the Appalachian Highlands so unique.
Featured Profile: Jocelyn Mathewes
By Angelica Ares
It is clear that Jocelyn Mathewes is as passionate about art as she is about her family. By trade, Jocelyn is a graphic designer, writer, and photographer, but the upheaval of a drastic move from Boston to East Tennessee eight years ago due to her husband’s job—not to mention other uncontrollable life events—changed her perspective about her career and her family. She became a “stay-at-home mom/fine artist.” The house they moved into didn’t have enough space for a darkroom, so being the resourceful and adaptable entrepreneurial artist that she is, Jocelyn decided to use what she had on hand and marry it with a traditional form of photography, using the sun as her main source of power. Light over dark, you might say. Which pretty much sums up Jocelyn’s whole personality.
Jocelyn’s mixed-media photography reflects and explores her experience, her interests, and her personal life. With a landscape as rich as the Appalachian Mountains, there is an abundance of natural influence surrounding Jocelyn every day. She has also used her motherhood for inspiration. Jocelyn’s work has been featured in museums, galleries, and community spaces across the United States and continues to make an impact with her vision of nontraditional art spaces to help further expose the community to the arts.
Jocelyn admits that growing up in Boston she came from a geographic and social place of privilege. The resources to create art and to view art were always in abundance. Her mother was also an artist, so her first exposure to the arts came at an early age and has been passed through generations. She participated in the Artist Residency in Motherhood (ARiM) from 2016 – 2019 and is a member of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA). A map of her artistic journey to Appalachia includes the opportunities that were afforded to her through her earlier relationships with the arts community. Jocelyn believes that, although Appalachia is rich in tradition, heritage, and cultural arts, there aren’t enough “spaces” to view and sell the art that is created withing this abundant community. That is why she says that “there is a lot of opportunity to build from the ground up here.
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