As many of you know, it is no secret that I love art. I love it so much, I kid you not, I sometimes cry when writing these ARTLETTERs. I cry because I am so grateful that I know myself and know what I need when the world is feeling heavy and I feel like I am drowning. I know when the world feels hopeless and when my life feels like a bad dream, I can always turn to art. My art loves me in ways I didn't think existed and honestly, it has made being single feel wholesome.

Aside from my own work, the work of other artists makes me feel loved too. From the OG artists to the artists around me, they all remind me that I am not alone 

especially, artists who happen to be women. Being a woman in the art world is something you must have tough skin for. If you add in being a woman of color, you damn near need a shield. So when I see Black women make art and then have the audacity to show it, it continues to push me forward. It gives me the permission to make art and have the courage show it. 

This ARTLETTER highlights the women in the arts who've inspired me. Its artists like Luchita Hurtado and Lauren Halsey who remind me the importance of family and community. It's artists like Carrie Mae Weems and Haleigh Nickerson who give me permission to use my body in my art, as I see them use theirs. It's an artist like Valie Export, who taught me how to bend and move my body in public spaces, even when people are looking at me like I am crazy. And through Lorna Simpson and Ana Mendieta I have learned to question memory and play with that in my day to day and in my art. I could go on and on, but I say all this to say, it is through other artists that I am able to better see myself. They are my mirror.  

I heard an artist once say,

"Art can open the opportunity for self reflection. It’s essentially questioning why am I seeing the things I am seeing.

I hope you learn some things.
I hope the work you see in this ARTLETTER helps you better see yourself. 

With Love, 

Ciarra K. Walters 



Artist Ana Mendieta once said, her work "continues to teach me everything. It has always been ahead of me and I learn what it is about years later. Work makes me strong, it defines me." 

Making art is my coping mechanism. I obsess about art because it offers me an escape. Art reveals my true feelings. It is my mirror in times of chaos, uncertainty, and fear. Making art shatters the wall of numbness I feel in my day to day. Like Mendieta, my work is also ahead of me. It teaches me new things almost every time I look at it. That can be days later to years later. In Between has revealed to me a number of things I thought I was hiding. Like many of my trips into nature, I had no idea what I wanted to create. When I am in the woods or by water it almost feels like these spaces call me. I can’t really explain it. I see a place and my body gravitates towards it. Throughout my camping trip in Maine, my body continuously gravitated towards rocks and spaces where I could insert my body in between. At the time I didn’t realize that what I was doing, I was just doing it. It wasn’t until I later received my rolls of film where I saw the pattern...


Read more and view the series here. 

Carrie Mae Weems has said time and time again that other artists inspire her artistic practice. Through the work of other artists I better understand the world around me and myself.

When you see my work, I hope you see the influence of Carrie Mae Weems, Ana Mendieta, Lorna Simpson, and Valie Export. These four women not only made me believe in my vision and voice, but they made me feel like I belonged. They offered me the self validation I was searching for. I saw their work and I felt seen. I felt understood. I felt like I mattered. They took up space in a time they were not given space to take up in the art world. They continued to make art. They continued to push boundaries and their bodies to create work for themselves and for us today. Through their work, these women gave me the green light to take up space. They gave me a blueprint. I would not be the artist I am today without these artists. 

Above are works by Weems, Mendieta, Simpson, and Export. We must pay homage and remember those who've come before us. We must give credit to the artists before us.

That is our responsibility as artists. 

CARRIE MAE WEEMS: Roaming, 2006
Watch Weems interview about Roaming here.

ANA MENDIETA: Siluetas Series, 1974
Watch Mendieta's sister, Raquel Mendieta, talk about Siluetas Series and other works 

LORNA SIMPSON: Guarded Conditions, 1989
Read this article about Guarded Conditions here. 
Read Simpson's interview with Thelma Golden

VALIE EXPORT: Körperkonfigurationen (Body Configurations), 1972-1976
Watch Export's interview about Body Configurations  here

Painter Luchita Hurtado passed away Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 99 years old. Hurtado had an eight decade career as an artist and didn't receive attention from the art world until her 90's.Yes, her 90's. This is not uncommon for women artists, as Betye Saar is now receiving the attention and recognition from art institutions in her 90's too. (Betye Saar had her first retrospective show at MoMA late last year).

I love Hurtado's work and I love her story. Aside from her paintings of nature, women's bodies, and herself, Hurtado has taught me a valuable lesson about art: keep making it. She has taught me to continue making work even if I do not receive the attention I feel like I deserve.

It's not about the attention, it is about the need to make art for yourself. It's about making art for the love of making it. Luchita Hurtado showed me it is possible to make art until one's death. That is what she did. She was still making work this year! What a beautiful life she created for herself. Thank you Luchita for all that you've shown me. Thank you for being that example for me.  


Watch Luchita Hurtado hug tress and talk about her work on art 21. 
A few months ago I watched the 1995 documentary, Reclaiming the Body: Feminist Art in America. It is loosely based on the Whitney's 1994 exhibition, BAD GIRLS and highlights other significant contributors to feminist art. A highly recommended documentary to watch. I learned some things. 

Watch the trailer hereWatch for free on Kanopy or rent on Vimeo.
Alima Lee: Director + Filmmaker
Rikki Wright: Photographer + Filmmaker
Hana Ward: Painter + Sculptor
Haleigh Nickerson: Multidisciplinary Artist
Lauren Halsey: Multidisciplinary Artist
In June, New York gallerist, Andrea Delph joined me in conversation about my art practice and performance piece, In Red. Andrea has been a part of my art journey since 2017. She is my Damon Dash to my Jay-Z. My Thelma Golden to my Lorna Simpson. She inspires me and challenges me to think critically about my work and others. This was my first art talk about my work and I'm glad it was with her. 

Watch us figure out what we're doing on Zoom

I have spent the last month working on my new website!! At first, I was frustrated about the templates. Although I had many choices, nothing was exactly what I wanted. So I did the thing I've been avoiding for the last four years. I designed my own template and that was extremely challenging. I finally had the opportunity to design the website I wanted and I had no idea what that would look like. My website has been a metaphor for my life. It has been hard to imagine what my life could look like because I've been taught what my life should look like. I've been given these templates for this thing called life and it has been expected of me to make myself fit into a template designed by someone else.

Designing my website has shown me that what I want is out there, but I have to create it. Figuring things out as I go is how I learn what I want and what I don't want. I thank my website for irritating me for the last month. It was worth the drama. 

Please swing by the site (view it on the computer!! Although the phone version looks cool too). Would love to hear your thoughts. 


Damn, Ciarra back at it again (lol). For the last three years I have always found a reason to put myself on a sticker. I come to you today with four new stickers and six new postcards from my recent series, In Between. Limited edition. 

Collect them all.

Take a peak here. 
House Prints is a series of photos that are made to hang in the crib and office. There are 36 photos to choose from. Because who doesn't like options?  $40 each. 

Add some new energy into your space and support a young artist.

View the collection here.

If you would like, send a one-time donation here.

This ARTLETTER is intended to educate and promote the arts to everyone.

Always free, always for the art. 
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Ciarra K. Walters · 808 N. la Brea Ave · Los Angeles, CA 90302 · USA

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