"Vulnerability is the greatest gift a person could have"-SÖNDER
Who is SÖNDER? And... HOW IN THE WORLD HAS NO ONE FOUND HER YET! Not only is SÖNDER's photography, art, and poetry entirely encapsulating, but her story and what drives her art to the greatest depths it is; was what drew me to her. After having a heartfelt talk in Alamo park, I too find myself saying "I am SÖNDER People".
I want it to be known that SÖNDER's story is truly a piece that stands above all else. The epic "Rocky Staircase" that shows her perseverance above all things. She is no longer Colorful Ubiquity, but in fact something more unique...
Growing up, SÖNDER has always had big shoes to fill. In fact, her father was actually an Olympic Hurdle champion around 1980-1985 (For artistic sake I will not share the exact date to keep her personal identity.. well PERSONAL). In a world where her life was surrounded by such high talent, it only seems accurate that the same expectations where placed on her. It was very important to her family to see her succeed. Like most loving and supportive families do for their children. Thus, at a young age she was thrown into the golf world in order to gain scholarships for her schooling. SÖNDER actually obtained a full ride scholarship for golfing in the Academy of Art University. But like many artists, her yearn for a more colorful lifestyle always seemed a jump away. Her family wouldn't really allow any creative outlets and maintianed her focus on the golf world, because of the high stakes that scholarships had needed.
Even through the high stakes, she still had many more battles to overcome. Being a young black woman in the golf field was a rarity at the time, and SÖNDER faced the forefront battles of belittlement by many golfers. Ugly words about how she doesn't belong in the sport spewed around her all her life. Even through her competitive perseverance many people would mock that she was "too competitive". Beyond this, SÖNDER has also had to face a world of Sexual Harassment throughout her life. More times than could possibly be counted on one hand. To think that someone who is so powerful, takes on her femininity, and provides inspiration to countless people could possibly be the forefront of such trauma made my heart ache.
But what some would take as an excuse to fall in line to societal pressure, SÖNDER found a way to make a name of her past. She provides light on heavy subject (Sexual assult), and is able to hide behind her art in a way that alows her to speak through the "all incompassing of colorful and unique things". Which lead her to Colorful Ubiquity.
Colorful Ubiquity, was the first stage of her photography, that she had for 4 years. Through this medium she was able to advance her skills in art. However, SÖNDER soon came to realize that working for people, and doing as they pleased was a pattern that she had done her whole life. Art was not meant to cater to the mases, but be a representation of the emotions she carries. And with that she let go of many fears that held her back and stopped her from being.. well SÖNDER!!!
"For 23 years of my life I had faced Tragedy after tragedy... until I finally met Rock Bottom"- SÖNDER
Who is SÖNDER?
In the last semester of college SÖNDER had to face a new challenge. Her college roommate selfishly kicked her out (for outlandish reasons) and left her and all her belongings in the rain. Less than a week later she found out she was diabetic. This... was Rock Bottom. Facing new battles in life,at the age of 23, she had her "last straw". So what did she do? She became angry. Sitting in the hospital she was tired of letting life choose for her, and decided that life was now hers to lead. After that, she decided to do the one thing that shes been wanting to do her whole life. SHE QUIT GOLF. Her Olympic pro father was less than pleased, but who cares when she finally got to jump out of her shell into the first step of her life that was finally... Hers!! This is when she started to write poetry. She was so talented in the world of poetry that her father was so impressed, he introduced her to the idea of open mic. On her way out the door to her first open mic, she was stopped by a highly artistic and famous "friend" (identy hidden for NDA) who said to her "Are you even sure you're good enough?".
SÖNDER, who was introverted and shy; not to mention that this was her first time on ANY kind of stage, did not let this final act of belittlemeant affect her. So she took that step onto the stage and was awarded with thunderous applaus. After that she kept going to open mic, and actually made quite a name of herself in the poetry field.
People would note her as vunerable, and broad. Even rappers would come up to her and shake her hand and boast her poetry. "maybe alittle too long" she notes. Thats when she found a name for herself as... YOU GUESSED IT... SÖNDER.
"I really resonated with SÖNDER. It means each individual and passer-by-er, including yourself, has just as colorful of a life"-SÖNDER
"SÖNDER"- means to be broken in Swedish. To her, there is beauty in the trauma, which is why a lot of her art is shed in such a poetic light. Each character that she creates in her photography has a story that is equally as extremely beautiful and ugly. It's a way that she is able to visualize, and conceptualize trauma into reality.
Uniqueness in the Red Lines
You will notice SÖNDER's use of coloring patterns is as dark as her story. She is highly inspired by European style housing and the use dual toned coloring. Its impactful, saturated, and still deep. Her art is actually very contrasting to her actual life, as now at the age of 26, she has found what makes her life colorful and meaningful. The use of blurring her eyes and other body parts is a way of hiding herself, and gaining power over her body at the same time. As a sexually objectified woman she finds that by blurring her face in certain ways she is able to identify with her body, and hide behind the image at the same time. She notes that she is using the sexual objectification as a way of identifying herself through her art.
"Before I used to think that hiding myself was going to prevent people from touching me. I would always wear baggy clothes, and items that hid my body. I soon came to realize that wasn't true"- SÖNDER
This is when SÖNDER moved into taking photos of herself in lingerie. She actually would go around the park near her house and do lingerie shoots. In a way, this was helping her gain her personal power. If everyone around her was going to look at her this way, then it was time to gain control in how the masses would see her. She was no longer an object for sexuality, but a piece of art. Now after 3 years of confidence boosting she is actually a figure model for many art schools across the Bay Area. The day that SÖNDER went on stage to read her spoken word was the day that she stepped into the shoes of a very powerful, coloful, and "all encompassing of unique things" that is what makes up SÖNDER. She came from something broken and filled the cracks with gold. Now she is the hight of femininity and personal power. What I want to leave you all with is what she said to me at the end of our talk.
"Do the one thing that scares you the most in life, and I promise it will lead you the right direction" -SÖNDER
I don't think I will be jumping out of a plane any time soon. But I will take on that lead to not let the fear of what other people think of my art stop me from making it. All in all art makes no apologies... if it did then we wouldn't have ANY of the great artists we have today. I find myself saying "I am SÖNDER People". Which to me means, I may have been broken but I control my life and the beauty to which I hold it to.