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Red Dress (Detail) by Selene Perez © 2016 Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, mixed media
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Short story responds to artwork by Selene Perez

Posted on September 18, 2017

In anticipation of Lit Crawl 2017, for which Creativity Explored is a host venue, we share the work of writer Manikya Veena who, as a student of Writers Studio, submitted a short story for Lit Crawl 2016 at CE. Veena's story, "Red Dress," published in The Penman Review, is a moving literary response to Selene Perez's intricate textile artwork by the same name.

Below is a brief interview with Veena about her story and her relationship to CE.

CE: Had you been to Creativity Explored before? What's was your impression of the space?

MV: The first time I saw artwork from Creativity Explored (CE) was at the San Francisco International airport. I was very intrigued looking at artwork by the people with developmental disabilities. So much so that even though I normally choose to step on escalators to get to my gate quickly, since CE was on their display, I made it a point to walk and look closely at various works of art.

Then last year, I had an opportunity as a student of Writers Studio to go Creativity Explored on 16th street in San Francisco. The collaborative effort of CE and Writers Studio for LitQuake has been an ongoing one, and I felt fortunate to take part in this project. Little did I realize that this was the very same place that produced all of the artwork I so admired at SFO.

I loved the huge space in the heart of the city. I was very impressed with how well the different mediums of artwork were so well categorized and organized. It spoke volumes of the care and attention that the staff pays to details. I was completely awed and hope to continue working with CE for many years to come.

CE: What about Selene's work intrigued you?

MV: For the LitQuake 2016 collaborative, I spend an hour browsing through the workshop as a student of Writer Studio.  While I admired most of the art there, I must confess that I was most fascinated by Selene Perez’s art piece.  At first glance, one may say that there is nothing spectacular about it, however with closer inspection one can see the intricacies that went into this artwork. I loved the color red and the silk fabric Selene Perez used for the piece. The delicate pleats on the dress, the gentle yet bold hems, the lovely shoes, the jewelry and the hat really had the girl come to life.  I was blown away by such attention to detail.  

Instantly, I was able to envision a young girl, all dressed up in a red frock swirling around with joy, laughing like a child in complete abandon, with no worries of the world. With this vision in my mind, I tried to create a story that spoke of similar attention to detail, and an honest portrayal of joy. I felt Selene’s pride and joy making this piece.  In my creation of the story "Red Dress," I hoped to recreate that bliss and joy as a short story.

CE: What relationship do you see between visual arts and literary arts?

MV: The creativity of art forms, be it visual or literary arts, is inspired by real life, by real people, and by the human condition, tangible or intangible.  The end result of this creativity is that it speaks to the person touched by it on a deeper level of consciousness.  Art, visual or literary, is by far the greatest form of expression. 

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