Avonlea Blackburn was born in early April in Colorado Springs. She is the third of four
siblings. When she was around seven years old, her family moved to China to be missionaries and English teachers. After about five years, her family moved back to the States for a bit before flying over to Europe to be missionaries in Italy. Her family has since moved back to China, and she visits them every break that she can.
Because she grew up living in different cultures and moving around, she is very curious about other places, and continues to travel as much as she can. She has been to Japan, Mexico, Jamaica, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Spain, and her list of places to visit is still growing.
For the past six years she has been a student at both Missouri Southern State University and Ozark Christian College. She will be graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from MSSU, and a Bachelor’s of Biblical Studies from OCC. After graduating, she plans to spend a year teaching English in China, and then hopefully move on to getting her Master’s Degree at Edinburgh University in Scotland.
Culture can shape us in ways one may never even realize. Depending on where you are born, what kind of schools you go to, what kind of society or government is around you, all play a role in developing a person. One of the reasons we do not often see the effects is because people around us have very similar, if not the same, kind of culture. If someone were ever to leave an area, they soon find out how different the world is, and how it is impossible to ever go back to how it used to be.
A lot of my art is heavily influenced by my family and past experiences. At the young age of seven, my family moved overseas to China where I lived for the next 5 years, and then in Italy for 4 years. Being so young, I adapted to the culture very quickly which led to some amazing experiences. However, it was not until I came back to America that I realized how much it had actually changed me. Simple everyday questions became a challenge for me, and I fail to understand the pop culture references everyone else is making. Whenever someone asks me where I was from, I always go through a mild identity crisis wondering what I should say. Do I say Colorado, because that’s where I was born? Should I say China, because that is where I have spent most of my childhood? Maybe I should say Italy, because that’s where I was before coming to college?
I have become a creature that does not quite fit into any category. I sometimes feel like a ghost drifting between dimensions, from neither here nor there. The best way to describe me is an egg. I appear to be a typical white cultured American, but deep inside me I have a yellow core of Asian and Europe culture. What I and other people feel, I am able to convey through my work is to show a new way of looking at completely different cultures. Whether it is similarities or differences, I want to be able to show how both sides see things, and how connected the world actually is and how easily we are able to identify with each other.