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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR art inspired by controversy, banned books

Kid Jesus, Antonio Mercado Photos by Dakota Greene/The Collegian
Kid Jesus, Antonio Mercado

Photos by Dakota Greene/The Collegian

By Dianna Flores/ reporter

TR faculty and students along with local Fort Worth artists came together to showcase art in honor of Banned Books Week.

The art exhibit, Debatable Advisory Unobstructed Art, kicked off Oct. 5 featuring 16 pieces from four local artists including TCC student Audrey Werth, doctoral teaching fellow and TR adjunct instructor KC Jenkins, local Fort Worth artist AJ Marie and TR student Antonio Mercado.

To better inform patrons about the art, the exhibit has a Quick Response Code (QR) feature next to all artists’ works. The QR code can be scanned using a smartphone that leads to an audio of an interview with each artist. Using the code, patrons can also go into the library and Dream Channel website to read the artists’ statements.

The Dueling Battle, Antonio Mercado
The Dueling Battle, Antonio Mercado

The pieces include paintings, Photoshopped images and photographs. Each artist had a different medium. While some pieces were small frames, others were bigger.

Mercado, who has six pieces in the show, described his work as “humorous” and “flirting with the line of taking it too far.”

Mercado said his favorite piece was “The Dueling Battle,” a bullfighter taking on a two-headed bull. This was his favorite because he usually never paints in that style. He liked how it turned out and said it is the most meaningful. In the interview on the website, he said the painting symbolizes the struggle between oneself and the enemy.

“To give up and accept defeat or fight back,” he said.

Werth said she has always liked photography, but it wasn’t until about three years ago that she started to really take interest in it as an art form. Her four untitled photos are part of a series that she self-directed. The pieces represent the anxiety and fear she feels every day.

She used what she described as a “toy camera,” a Holga. She layered photos over each other instead of winding them to make a blurry image.

Kid Jesus, Antonio Mercado Photos by Dakota Greene/The Collegian
Kid Jesus, Antonio Mercado
Photos by Dakota Greene/The Collegian

Werth was inspired by her personal experiences as well as seeing what other people go through. She hopes people will grasp an understanding of what anxiety feels like and will find these pieces helpful and enjoyable.

“You can surprise yourself with what you’re capable of doing if you just get started,” she said.

On the website, Jenkins described his artwork as a “push back against being silenced.” He had a day and a half to make the photo “Substitute for Censored Artwork,” and though he usually does sculptures, Jenkins used nine pieces of printer paper this time. He has the same sentence repeated throughout the whole photo except at the end.

In gold foil paper at the bottom of the photo, he wrote in all caps; “If I may teach it in the classroom, why is the discussion barred from the gallery?”

Jenkins has been involved in art since his childhood. He is also a social justice activist and wants people to take away from this art piece a sense of curiosity as to who makes the decisions of banned art and who has the power to say what is censored or banned.

Just like Werth, Marie drew her inspiration through writing and personal experiences. She described her pieces as opposites.

She said her first piece is someone expressing themselves while the second is someone trying to express themselves when society makes it hard.

When seeing her photos, she wants people to relate and see how hard it can be to express themselves.

“Just be yourself,” she said. “Don’t worry about other people, what they think, the looks you get.”

Mercado, an artist as well as the exhibit curator, said he wanted to show the variety of artists at TCC and in Fort Worth. He also said he wanted to start up a conversation of censorship and what is deemed appropriate or inappropriate while showing various media of art.

“The more you talk about a subject and open up that dialogue the less taboo it becomes,” he said.

The art exhibit will be displayed through Nov. 6 in the TR Campus Tahita Fulkerson Library.

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