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R. Stranger MFA’24 combines creative writing and visual arts in their multimedia approach to art

by Linda Lenhoff,

R. Stranger MFA’24 incorporates visual work into their writing, striving to find their own personal channel of creating. Through PNCA’s program, Stranger has been able to pursue cross-genre, collaborative work, combining prose, poetry, photography, film, archiving, and cataloging. “I needed to be in a writing program situated within an art school, where I would have the ability and freedom to incorporate my visual work and embodied practice into my creative writing,” Stranger says. “Literature and art have been the portals through which I receive so much of the world.”

The program’s unique approach to treating writing as a multidisciplinary studio art practice offers Stranger the ability to build relationships across departments. Stranger is especially grateful for mentorship from faculty members , a writer, and , an artist. “Each of them has undeniably affected my work and approach to writing and creating,” Stranger says, adding that Nao “opened my eyes to the depth of emotion we can allow ourselves to go and the necessary risks that an artist must take if they wish to be true to their work and themselves.

Stranger focuses on difficult issues in their art, including “the multidimensional nature of queerness, the complexities of having/being a body, and the transformative nature of grief,” Stranger says. Utilizing several mediums allows Stranger to “move through the work of mourning and living through different layers of humanness.”

PNCA and the have granted Stranger multiple opportunities to share and show their work. “I tabled my zines at the 2022 Do-It-Yourself / Do-It-Ourselves Graduate Symposium as well as at this year’s Form.a Art Press Fair at Oregon Contemporary,” Stranger says. Their photography was also selected for display at Lightbox Photographic Gallery’s New Visionaries exhibit through an Oregon BFA/MFA photo student exhibition call organized by PNCA faculty .

The proverbial cherry on top of Stranger’s experience at PNCA has been having a private studio within an institutional space, thanks to Strom and Creative Writing Program Director . “I can still be in the world while also receiving access to a nurturing art community and the institutional resources that aid my public art practice.”

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