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Everyone goes through life differently due to race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, class and any other characteristics that make up the human population. Channeling these different experiences into something visual or tangible allows others to gain a new perspective or consider life through a different lens. One method of doing this is through the arts.

Rene Fisher, 24, is a server at the Marriott, attended Radford University and the Art Institute and now resides in Richmond, VA where she works at improving her socially-charged art. She deals with current events and issues that plague American society and she does so through the lens of a black woman.

“As the person I am, a dark-skinned black woman, I feel like I’ve had to deal with a lot of stuff that other people don’t have to on the regular,” Fisher said. “This is my area to speak on things and express myself and actually be heard.”

Fisher likes visual art but doesn’t consider herself a visual artist; instead, she considers herself more of a conceptual artist. She has showcased her art in two art shows this year, one in Northern Virginia and another in Fredericksburg, Virginia in an art gallery called Art Mart. The three pieces at this show dealt with the Flint, Michigan water crisis, Hillary Clinton and black women. The Flint piece is one of her favorites and she ended up gifting it to her aunt. 

“It was a mixed media art collage and I was inspired by Fela Kuti’s song Water No Get Enemy so that was the title of it,” Fisher said.

Fisher’s piece on the Flint Michigan Water Crisis entitled “Water No Get Enemy”.

Although she did a piece on Hillary Clinton as part of her Political Poison series in which Clinton is portrayed as a reptilian figure with four arms, she explains that the election didn’t really affect her art.

“I don’t see myself as a feminist, I don’t put myself in groups like that,” Fisher said. “I feel like the things I go through and what I fight for aren’t ignored but they’re undermined.” 

“It was my way to be like ‘Hillary isn’t that great either,'” Fisher said of the above piece. 

This feeling towards how society and the government operates is something that she channels into her art and she aims to use art as a way to represent all groups of people. Promoting a positive image of black women is one of the messages she intends to send through art which she did in her piece titled Rough Beginnings.

“Since the beginning of slavery and America, black women have always been over-sexualized as well as underrepresented and disrespected,” she said. “The piece is just showing how strong we are no matter what.”

Rough Beginnings was also inspired by the National Center for Education Statistics’ release of information that named African American women the most educated group in the U.S. by gender and race in 2015.

Fisher’s piece on the power of black women entitled Rough Beginnings. “Our rough beginnings made us resilient beings,” she said. 

Fisher uses her art to empower women in general and in February 2016, she completed her first canvas ever titled “Savin the Shavin” which she sent into the Amber Rose Foundation to be featured in the Slut Walk. It was admitted and was featured in the first art show to take place at the Slut Walk on Sept. 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

“I love talking about women whether it’s about sex or just appreciating women for what we are, what we do and what we go through,” Fisher said.

Fisher has used this past year to get her feet on the ground and really work at her craft. She plans on having her Etsy shop and website up by the end of this year to begin selling some of her pieces. Art isn’t just a hobby to Fisher and she takes it very seriously.

“I had my first commission this year, I’ve been in art galleries and accepted into Amber Rose’s Slut Walk so I’m pretty proud with how this is going but it’s still just me trying to get it together,” Fisher said. “Me being the person that I am and the circumstances that I’m in I can’t ever expect things to just be there for me.”

The temptation of money can cause some artists to settle for projects that aren’t completely them, but Fisher explains that it’s vital to remember what your art says about you.

“Even when it comes to me struggling financially I would never do something that wasn’t all the way me,” she said. “When it comes to working for someone else, if they represent anything that demeans any group of people I’m not about it.”

In a society that doesn’t provide equal opportunities for all groups of people, Fisher uses her art as a means of empowering and bringing attention to those who are marginalized. She wants to represent all black women and be an influence on young black girls and this message is never lost on her when she’s creating.

“Stay true to yourself and always be for the equality of other people,” Fisher said.

Make sure to check out Rene’s work on her Instagram: @markeesh13

All photos courtesy of Rene Fisher

Katie is a freshman at VCU studying mass communications with a concentration in journalism. She loves attending concerts, James Franco's instagram selfies, quoting Will Ferrell movies, and her two dogs Laila and Frazier. You can follow her on twitter and instagram @katiebashista. 
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