Jan Zoya has received several grants for her artwork, including a full-paid studio residency at the Stutz Art Center, a grant to travel to China to study Chinese women’s art and culture and a four-month art residency with artist Judy Chicago. Currently, Zoya, who has a studio in the Harrison Arts Center, is hoping to be accepted for the upcoming IDADA show. Her work is dream-like, “connects the personal and universal through symbols, patterns ...” See www.janzoya.com. Q: What are you reading now?

Books: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Daughter of Fortune. Magazines: The New Yorker, Adbusters.

Q: What do you like about the Indianapolis art scene?

I appreciate that the Indy art scene is still small and quickly growing. Because it is still defining itself, it’s an exciting time to be an artist in Indy. Everyone is trying to figure it out together. That gives the artists a lot of freedom and opportunity.

Q: What don’t you like?

Maybe that due to its infancy as a metropolitan art scene, it is still somewhat homogenous in what gets noticed and promoted. Perhaps a certain level of diversity and “risky” art has not yet found its footing in Indy. This is changing by leaps and bounds, though, especially in the last year or two.

Q: What inspires you?

Raw, honest expression. Art made by artists who don’t look to anyone else for answers or direction, and come straight from instinct and heart. It shows in the quality and energy of the artwork.

Q: Drug of choice?

Red wine, if we’re actually talking about state-altering substances here. And maybe a nice tequila, with salt and lime.

Q: What’s the hardest thing about what you do?

The insecurity, both financial and personal. It is a field that offers no clear-cut pathways and no job security. You have to make it up as you go, and listen to your own gut. Self-doubt is the most critical obstacle to overcome.

Q: What’s your favorite cartoon?

Do I have to pick just one? Bloom County. Far Side. Doonesbury. Calvin and Hobbs. In the world of comics, I prefer Spiderman.

Q: Can love be pornographic? I’m not even sure what defines pornographic. Or love, for that matter. Both things are in the eye of the beholder. I define pornographic as whatever exploits our true nature — so it’s not even necessarily sexual. Most big corporations exploit people and the natural environment, so that’s pornographic, a kind of prostitution. I define love as the true essence of life, when all the distortion and fear is removed. So, maybe this is my answer: Pornography (exploitation) is created out of fear, a step removed from our true nature. And love is our true nature, without the fear. Ergo, no, love cannot be pornographic. On the other hand, love encompasses all experience, and is at the root of all life, so yes, it must also include that which is pornographic. How’s that for a paradox?


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