Kayla Lockwood previously worked as a designer and an illustrator at the Daily Emerald. She was not involved in the pitching, writing or editing of this story.
“The beginning of my art journey was [about] trying to grab myself and find my own personal voice,” UO junior Kayla Lockwood said. “Why not use your privilege to elevate or amplify the voices of those within your own community too?”
Ever since she was a little kid, Lockwood has turned to art as a way to express herself. At three years old, she loved drawing on the kitchen walls with a rainbow of Crayola markers. That’s when her parents knew she was going to be an artist.
Lockwood is an art and technology major. She represents herself and her artwork through different pen names. “Miss Identify” encompasses her experience of being misidentified by others and the erasure of both her mixed-raced and bisexual identity. The work she created under another pen name, “Social Sin,” is specific to the examination of the societal norms of discrimination in her artwork.
“Miss Identify” also represents Lockwood’s struggle with imposter syndrome. For her, this shows up as struggling with her mixed-race identity and the expectations placed on her by society.
She often receives messages from people saying “‘oh you’re not Filipino enough’ or ‘you’re not White enough,’” Lockwood said. “Why not embrace both? It’s okay to be Filipino and White at the same time. But again, you have to acknowledge that there is some privilege within that.”
Therapy and art have helped Lockwood to process her emotions, find her voice and find a greater sense of acceptance within herself.
The piece “Opposites” depicts a ghost-like image of Lockwood melded onto an abstract silver and yellow background. Her image looks directly at the viewer, unsmiling and haunting. Lockwood created the piece from a series of photographs that represent self-reflection and the rise of mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lockwood draws inspiration from everything around her — from her current thoughts about the impact of social media to the struggle with mental health during the pandemic. Her creativity has flourished during the pandemic and has pushed her to focus more on self-reflection and self-discovery in her artwork.
In a code-based art class last winter term, Lockwood created one of her favorite pieces: a multi-platform bubble popping game called “Gaming Therapy.” The game consists of tapping on a cloud-filled screen and popping bubbles. The purpose of the game is to “help overcome stress to achieve inner calm and relaxation,” Lockwood said.
In a push to prioritize her own mental health, Lockwood has gone “back to the basics” with some of her artwork. She’s been creating less digital artwork and turning to watercolors and drawing. She has also spent a lot of time experimenting with photography and photoshop.
“My favorite medium is the body of the self,” Lockwood said. “It’s just me with my camera as my viewpoint.”
Recently, Lockwood started doing more collaboration with her peers. In high school, she did a lot of collaborative art but stopped at the beginning of college because she did not know anyone at UO.
Lockwood and her friend are starting an emerging artist collective called “Tech Aesthetic.” The goal is to use technology to focus on social and community based work.
“How can we use technology beyond social media to bring awareness to something?” Lockwood said, speaking about her artist collective’s goal. “Or how can we use technology in a more artistic way beyond advertising to bring awareness to someone’s brand?”
Lockwood has also been collaborating with Malik Lovette, a UO alumni, to curate a show that will be at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art June 30 through Oct. 10. The exhibition, “I Am More Than Who You See,” documents conversations with UO students of color and their experiences with stereotyping.
Post-graduation, Lockwood has always dreamed of being a college professor. She hopes to be a studio art instructor, teaching coding to students.
Campus Creatives is a weekly column by A&C reporter Nika Bartoo-Smith that highlights unique and talented members of the UO community. If you know someone who should be featured — whether they started their own business, run a podcast or just love to dance — email Nika at firstname.lastname@example.org or or Tweet her @BartooNika.