Skye Shadowlight is a Performance Artist and Writer, who draws inspiration from the characters she has met in her life and uses this as a way of re-telling the story back to the audience. As a performer, Skye is powerful, strong showing a vulnerable and gentle side when needed for the character and story she is telling. Having gone through being Homeless and experiencing many obstacles along the way, Skye keeps on producing amazing pieces of work that have appeared at our Inter-Arts Festival and Beyond. Read the interview below.
What is your background ? And when did you first start creating art ?
Wow, now you’re asking. My background is being poor white trash from a small town in Texas. I first started creating art when I took my first breath. Welcome to the fucked up world 1974.
You use your life experiences in a lot of your work, describe the process you go through and how you navigate difficult memories from your past, to produce the performance art you create?
It’s just something that I feel I have to do. I am not sure how I would work through things if I didn’t have art to put it into context and to literally work through it and reframe into something that I can cope with.
Character is key in a lot of your pieces. How do you build a character and how long does it take, until you are comfortable with playing something you have created?
Characters are all based on people I have known or lots of people I have met throughout the years. Some characters are easier to play than others. I like the idea that I can become people, particularly abusers from my past, because then I can control what they do. I can decide how they speak or talk, what they say, and whether or not they might be sorry or want redemption.
Describe what artist you are?
I am an artist who never realised that they were an artist until one day it just hit me. I make things and people connect with it and me. Art is my form of communication.
Your early years were difficult, living on the streets and finding your way through. What did you learn ? And how are you using this now? What would you say to yourself as a teenager, from your perspective?
I learned that we are all broken in some way and that people are inherently good. I met more people who wanted to help me and protect me on the streets than the ones who did me harm. I use this now to help myself negotiate my way through life, trying to get services and support for my autistic daughter. I would tell teenage self that you will live past 20 and you will be able to love and find love, just hold on.
Is creating opportunities difficult to perform and showcase your work? Do people understand your work or do you have to explain it?
Being able to show work on a bigger scale away from our arty little town is tough. I have a lot of feedback from my work and my talks and performances. I think people understand it on a human level. I have had people in tears because of how the work made them feel. It’s those times that I realise how powerful art can be.
In the Inter-Arts, Festival of Childhood you presented Shade School and at the end of your powerful and incredible performance, audience members stayed and talked to you instantly on how your performance and subject matter moved them. Does this happen a lot? And does this act as confirmation that what you are doing is transformative and has an effect on people?
Yes, people always talk to me after my artist talks and performances. Like I said it is my way to connect with the world. Being neurodivergent, I have always struggled with not fitting in and feeling like an outsider. Art and connection with people is really important for me. It’s my way of being part of the bigger picture. I never go as far as to think my work is transformative, I guess that takes a leap into someone else’s mind, which I would struggle doing. I just like that people seem to be moved by it. I care about them and their experiences with my work.
What are you working on for Invisible Made Visible?
I’m not exactly sure. I created a character in lockdown, but I am not sure he is right for it. I would probably like to make some more work about hidden disability.
How has covid effected you and your work?
At first, I was like “No big deal, we are isolated anyway”, but as time has gone on, it is really getting to me. I just want to go to Japan! A trip we had booked last year and probably won’t get to take until 2022 (hopefully) to see the cherry blossoms!! My work is stagnating, all though today I am feeling a bit inspired to make something.
What are your plans for the future in general?
UH… I have ADHD. My plans changed from the time I woke up 2 hours ago until now. I have about 3 different sets of plans I might choose from today…
What is your favourite piece to perform ?
I would say my favourite to perform is probably my Bubba character. I become a man who once put a gun in my Momma’s mouth and I tell the story of his childhood where he wanted to be an astronaut, but kids from the trailer park weren’t never gonna be no astronauts. It’s an exploration of how he became the man that he did. Not an excuse. It’s my search for a reason.
Please add anything more you wish to say here..
Well, Since I’ve got you all here I would just like to say, Thanks for reading my interview. I would love to connect and talk about art when things open back up. Let’s have a chai tea from Llhamo’s and just be us