We are so excited to announce our second ImpactART event featuring local artist Boz Schurr.
Boz is a Honolulu local artist, muralist, and teacher known for her brightly colored large murals throughout the city. This event will be held March 15, from 6pm-8pm. It’s a free reception with pupu and drinks provided. Learn more about the event here.
We got to chat with Boz ahead of the event to learn more about her history…. and her future!
Andrea B, Impact Hub HNL (AB): Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your work, both as a prominent local artist and as a teacher at Kamehameha Schools.
Boz Schurr (Boz): I feel so very lucky to be able to not only share art with the community but with these amazing kids I get to teach. It really keeps me busy, and when you see that “ah-ha” moment when a kid tries something new or gets to express themselves in a new way, it’s the ultimate reward. I really enjoy getting to teach the “fun” subject (except, like probably every teacher, I hate grading, no one told me about the grading!).
As far as art in the community goes I am so happy to finally be in a position where I can give back when I want to. I do have less time than I’d like (but who doesn’t?) and now, when there is a passion project, I can focus on what’s important and how it makes me feel, rather than how much it will cost. I still charge fees – I am still running a business – but it’s more about beautifying spaces and building relationships and figuring out how we can come together and make an idea a reality.
It’s tough having two jobs, but at the end of the day it’s the best problem to have.
AB: This event features new works that are pretty different from your other body of work, which tends towards colorful, bright, and whimsical. Can you talk more about the shift that you felt happening that is allowing us to see this other aspect of your capabilities?
Boz: The look, feel, and concept of my work has been in transition for a while. When I was younger I felt very strongly that I would not allow anyone, myself included, to see my mental difference as a weakness, or as something I was “overcoming.” It was really important to me that I was seen as not being successful “in spite of” my situation. In fact, I would go so far as to say that how I think and feel has really been a helpful influence and inspiration on my process. So in previous work, that is really what I tried to focus on, the fact that differences are challenging but also beautiful and necessary. I would often refer to myself and other individuals as falling anywhere and everywhere on the spectrum (referring to the visible color spectrum). You can’t pinpoint an exact greens, or reds, or purples and say yes, THAT’S purple, when there is a perfectly good purple right next to it. It’s all one shifting, overlapping and subtle color gradation. How could you say your green is healthy (right) and mine is sick (wrong)? They are both okay, just different.
So my older work has often included bright colors, fun creatures, and rainbows to highlight what I believe are the benefits of living with mental difference. However, in the summer of 2017 I was at an artist residency in Iceland and I experienced a severe depression and had frequent and severe anxiety attacks with I had not experienced since college. But it was also the first time I really understood what was happening. It was a completely surreal, almost out-of-body experience to be aware of what you’re going through and still be completely unable to change your feelings in the moment.
So the current work is addressing that experience – the ebb and flow of our mental stability and how it really affects everyone. The earlier work was celebrating the sunrise – the rainbows and the joy of the experience. This new work is learning to embrace the sunset side and to acknowledge that both are equally necessary.
AB: What are you most excited about for this event?
Boz: I am excited and nervous to talk about some personal things that I haven’t addressed before. In the last few years I realized that while I might have reached a healthy understanding of myself and how I operate, it’s not enough. While we’ve made great strides in de-stigmatizing the conversation surrounding mental health there are still gaps in the dialogue. So while I have a fear of speaking honestly about my experience I also know it’s necessary because someone else might need to hear it in order to find the courage to speak for themselves. I can only speak for me, but if my voice can cause a tiny ripple or encourage someone else or shift the preconceived notions, then it’s worth it.
I’m also very excited to make new connections and hopefully continue to build my community. There are good people out there and I want to meet them!
AB: Tell us a little bit more about the partnerships you have for this event – why are these important to you?
Boz: The collaboration I am most excited for is the live mural! I’ll have set up a station with a wall that’s ready for audience participation. The colors, brushstrokes, how you paint – the choice is yours. I’m hopeful for this project (which is the first time I’ve tried anything like this) because it’ll be a fun bridge to chat about our own experiences. Plus you get to color stuff and I don’t have to grade it, how great is that?
AB: What other big events are on your horizon for the year?
Boz: There is a lot going on! I’ll be doing a mural for Aloha Beer Co, a mural in Kailua, Ewa Beach, and Kaimuki! Plus upcoming collabs with Beanabouttown, Pena People, Friends of Haiku Stairs, UHU Conservancy, and AXIS Chinatown. Also, I am going to be a speaker for Civil Beat’s Storytellers series all about mental health February 22 at Ka Wai Wai (currently sold out). And I have a hope for a new coloring book I’d like to put out before the beginning of summer. Whew! It’s a lot but at the same time, I get to make work with amazing people and talk about art and design all day long. Like I said earlier, it really is the best problem to have.
What is ImpactART?
ImpactART supports Hawaii’s artists by creating an equal exchange of artwork for studio and exhibition space. Co-created by Impact Hub HNL and Honolulu Biennial Foundation in 2017 to address the need for art studios and the proper valuation of artists’ work. Last year we hosted our first ImpactART event with Lauren Hana Chai.
Anne Weber, Impact Hub HNL Community Manager, explains, “The idea for ImpactART was inspired by our commitment to creating community impact. When we opened in August 2017, we had huge blank walls and wanted to figure out a way to beautify the space, support local up and coming artists, inspire a new audience of art lovers, and show the business community how they too can support local arts in a creative way. It is a win-win.”
To inquire about art space or to learn more about Impact Hub HNL, email us.