VisAbility Art Lab 2021

An interview with Max DeMulder

Hi, my name is Delzy and I’m an intern at VisArts and a student at Montgomery College, it’s great to meet you!

What is your name and what is your connection to VisArts?

I’m Max, my pronouns are they/them. I’m an artist at VisAbility Art Lab. I do sculpture and mosaics and all sorts of paintings and fun stuff!

How long have you been a VisAbility artist at VisArts?

I’ve been there since the inception, I think it was 2018, but when the program kicked off it was just me and one other artist.

What is your favorite part of being a VisAbility artist?

One of my favorite parts of being a VisAbility artist is the visibility, having the ability to have my artwork shown in a professional gallery, to submit to shows, and have the ability to make the things I want to make. As well as the visibility for people who are differently abled because they’re not always treated fairly, in the art world. VisArts gives a voice to that.

What type of work do you make and why?

I’m a multimedia artist, I make everything from painting, sculpture, metal work, and all sorts of mixed media pieces. I usually concentrate on whatever comes to mind, and I like to work with found objects when I can.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from the world around me, whether it be experiences, politics, talking about equal rights or trans rights, or just straight absurdism.

What type of work have you been creating during the pandemic?

During the pandemic I’ve been focusing on representation for non binary people and people of color in some of my work. Some of my work is also dealing with trauma and anxiety, and putting that to paper, as well as just having fun making weird stuff.

Are there any pieces you are working on currently that you would like to talk about?

Certainly, this piece right here is about anxiety, one of those days where you just want us jitter and shake and you don’t want to paint, so you just throw paint at a wall and as you’re slowly calming down, you can see where my hand was shaking, as I was trying to make this piece. As I was coming down, I started to paint the figure. People who have anxiety have this interesting thing, where if you’re in actual harm’s way or in a dangerous situation, you’ll be calm. Then sometimes when you’re having a normal day, out of nowhere, out of the blue, you end up having a panic attack for about fifteen minutes. Sometimes you just got to channel that into some weird spiky art.

Thank you so much for sharing that, I think you can clearly see that coming through the work. It’s been great talking with you about your work!

Thanks, have a good day!

An interview with Sarah Dorros

Hi, my name is Delzy and I’m an intern at VisArts and a student at Montgomery College, it’s great to meet you!

How long have you been a VisAbility artist at VisArts?

I started at VisArts during the summer of 2019, so that was one and a half years ago. 

What is your favorite part of being a VisAbility artist?

My favorite part of being an artist with VisAbility Art Lab is the diverse and accepting artistic community, and autistic artist community in particular, as well as all the wide disability experiences represented at VisAbility Art Lab. 

What type of work do you make and why?

I am an eclectic artist and make a wide variety of art including painting, drawing, fused glass, mosaics, ceramics, collage and jewelry making. I enjoy trying a watercolor painting one day and ceramics another to experience all that VisArts does. Art calms me down and allows me to be creative and autonomous. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

I incorporate bright colors and patterns into my art. I release the anxiety and stress in my life through my art using the really bright colors and loud patterns. 

What type of work have you been creating during the pandemic?

During the pandemic I have still been able to make a wide variety of art including ceramics like pinch pots, coloring with colored pencils and gel pens, painting with watercolors, drawing with oil pastels, and collage.

I’m happy to have met you guys, that was awesome!

Thank you, I hope you have a good day!

An interview with Faith McLuckie

My name is Delzy Alarcon, I’m a student at MC as well as an intern at VisArts.

Whenever you’re ready, please go ahead and introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is Faith McLuckie. I’m part of the VisAbility Art Lab at VisArts and it’s a lot of fun to be part of this program, because I have a lot of friends, who I see as part of my family.I also love to create art and want to be a professional artist, someday.

What type of art do you like to do?

I like working in mosaic, painting, clay and drawing.

Where do you get your inspiration for your art?

My friends from VisArts help me to create art and I gain inspiration from them. I also like to paint portraits of my friends. VisArts gives me time to work on my skills and inspiration.

How long have you been part of the VisAbility Art Lab?

I’ve been going to VisArts for two and a half years, but I’ve been an artist for most of my life. VisArts helped me become a better artist to see people like me, to get inspiration from their art.

What do you like about creating art and being a VisAbility artist?

It’s fun being with other artists because we are a family and we have fun together. And we learn from each other. And we are creative and teach each other. And, and the staff, helps all of us. And we learned a lot from the staff.

What kind of work do you make and why?

I do a lot of acrylic painting, and I work with clay mostly. I like working with clay specifically because I like working with my hands and shaping things. I made a platypus, and it’s my Dad. I get a lot of my ideas from nature and a lot of animals.

What’s the best thing about VisAbility Art Lab?

The best thing about VisAbility Art Lab is that we are a community, and we help each other out by talking to one another and becoming friends. It’s more fun to have more people around.

How have things changed, making work during the pandemic?

Now, it’s less hands on but I have more time to think about creating. Now, we have chances to express ourselves to think about it. Now Elaine gives us an idea we think about how are going to do create art based off of that idea. Art makes it easier to express yourself when you’re not able to communicate with each other.

Do you have any more questions?

No, I think you pretty much covered everything, thank you.

I’d like to say one last thing, VisAbility Art Lab is awesome. I love it.

I’m glad to hear that. Thank you this was great, I love seeing your artwork too.

Thank you!

An interview with Justin Valenti

Hi, my name is Delzy and I’m an intern at VisArts and a student at Montgomery College, it’s great to meet you!

What’s your name?

My name is Justin Valenti, I’m a participant in the VisAbility Art Lab program, and I also went to Montgomery College before I came to VisArts.

How long have you been visibility artists.?

I’ve been going to VisArts for about four years. I wanted to add that in addition to going to VisAbility, I work for NIH, a job training program for people with disabilities which I got through Project SEARCH.

What is your favorite part of being a VisAbility artist?

I like participating in the art shows and sharing my work with others.

I create fluid paintings at home as well as digital artwork. I make digital artwork because I like how many different things can be done when using digital tools, and I create fluid paintings because I enjoy how each painting ends up being unique.

Where does your inspiration come from? 

Some of my inspiration comes from artists like Peter Max and Vincent van Gogh.

My inspiration also comes from other artists who post their work on social media. I get ideas from that as well. One of my friends is also a visual artist and he does Sonic drawings, like fan art of Sonic characters, and I admire his work because he is very creative with the way he draws his characters.

What specifically drew you to Van Gogh?

Well some of my abstract paintings are in his style, my own version of his style. 

Was there anything inspiring, like specifically a painting that you really like.

I like how his work uses a lot of bright colors and I like the textures in some of his pieces.

What type of work have you been creating during the pandemic?

I’ve been creating fluid paintings, for the most part, but I’ve also been creating some digital pieces like the African leopard that is on display in the show.

When I first got the idea of drawing an African leopard I was thinking about how black panther inspired me, through the way African American life is portrayed in the movie, and how diversity impacted that movie too so I looked on Google for an image of an African animal.

I found the African leopard and then I used that image as a reference when I was working on that piece.

Would you like to talk more about your artworks?

Yes, I have a lot of digital pieces, and they’re a variety of different things; I’ve done objects, I’ve done animals, I’ve done people, I’ve done destinations that you might travel to as a tourist. I get my ideas from the places that I’ve been, movies, and other things.

Could you expand on the other things?

Yes. For instance, my African leopard drawing was based on a movie character, I also draw ideas from places or experiences that I’ve had, objects that I’m interested, sports, and I guess the olympics, and other things similar to sports, and movies, and animation, and different art pieces that I’ve seen.

Are you doing any art pieces right now?

Right now I’m actually working on artwork for a graphic novel about the pandemic. It’s about a scientist who works at this government organization and he goes on a long journey to find a cure for a virus that I made up. So, I’ve been working on the illustrations in Photoshop, using a technique that one of my mentors showed me.

You mentioned a graphic novel that’s new to me, is this something that you’re experimenting or was this something that you’ve always wanted to do?

I’ve always wanted to create a graphic novel, and I’ve created two books before, one was an art book and the other was a romantic novel. This is my first graphic novel and I’ve always wanted to do one.

Is there anything you would want people to know about your artwork?

I’d like people to know that some of the artwork has optical illusions in it. In some of the backgrounds that I choose, I use optical and kinetic art.

I’d also like people to know that I have a website where I post new pieces, my books are there as well, and you can read my artist statement. My website is

What was your process like when creating your fluid paintings?

I continuously worked on them when I was at VisArts, and when the pandemic started, so I had to get fluid paying supplies for working at home. I built my skills as a professional fluid painter at home, and then I’ve been continuously trying new techniques and experimenting with different colors for the fluid paintings.

What are the techniques?

The techniques are like pouring it directly on a canvas, using a strainer, pouring the paints in different parts of the canvas, using like texture, and layering the paint. There are many different techniques that I use that are similar to that.

Have you tried anything out of the ordinary lately with your paintings?

In the exhibit, I have a fluid painting with blue orbs, and that was new to me because usually my paintings have borders or lines to separate the different colors, so that was out of the ordinary for me. I wasn’t expecting the paint to settle on that way.

For the digital illustrations, as you mentioned, you said you worked on Photoshop, right?

Yes, and Adobe Illustrator, as well. I used Adobe Illustrator for the African leopard.

Are there any artists you want to talk about that you took inspiration from VisArts?

There’s one VisAbility artist named Jared who creates a lot of his work digitally. We both explored the possibility at separate times of going to this animation studio but it didn’t work out for either of us. So, I am inspired by him because he does digital artwork too that’s similar to mine.

Have you guys been friends since?

We met a couple of years ago at an art show and although we’re not close friends, we’re definitely friends.

That’s great to hear, and I’m glad to have met you, Justin!

Great meeting you too.

This interview was conducted by Delzy Alarcon, the Exhibitions Intern for the spring of 2021.

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