I had the honor of being interviewed by Awear Magazine, a fashion, art and culture magazine headed by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory, better known in Jersey City as slam poet “Phoenix.”
They interviewed me about the local arts and journalism scene (and called me a “Renaissance woman” which made me feel so awesome and tickled!)
Here’s an excerpt from the interview, which was published last Tuesday (before my birthday on Friday, which is why it says I’m 21, not 22). They used my headshot as the top image, so I will too, haha.
Awear Magazine: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Summer Dawn Hortillosa: My name is Summer Dawn Hortillosa, I’m 21-years-old, and I am a journalist and creative writer from Jersey City. I am also sometimes a director, actress and singer.
AM: How did you first get involved in writing?
SDH: I’ve been creating stories since I was a little girl, writing and illustrating makeshift books using old printing paper, the kind that was all one big piece that was perforated and had side strips with holes that you could rip off. Before that, I recorded stories on cassette tapes orally. When I got a computer, I started writing longer fiction in chapters and have been branching out since then. Today I most enjoy writing short stories, plays and haiku.
AM: As a journalist and playwright, you wear multiple hats within the Jersey City arts scene. How do the two roles interact with and inform each other within the context of your work?
SDH: While I have created and participated in local art, I have spent the past two years or so writing about all forms of art as well – visual art, theater, music, film, dance, you name it. As a playwright, director and actress, I understand theater in ways other arts journalists may not; also, I get ideas and perspective from theater professionals in the area as I write about their shows that I can later apply to my own work. Seeing local productions is also inspirational, of course. In general, always talking and connecting with people through my work as a journalist gives me more ideas to explore in my creative writing and exposes me to new personalities and environments.
AM: You are an arts writer and blogger. How do you manage to capture the dynamism of the arts on paper without losing something in translation? What do you think are (or, rather, should be) the priorities of a responsible arts reporter?
SDH: I think something is always lost in translation because reading an article about a certain art form can only give you certain perspectives on that form. Yes, you may learn things you may otherwise not be able to see – for instance, my articles can tell you about the artist’s background, motivations and future goals. There is, however, nothing quite like experiencing an art form the way it’s intended. A responsible arts reporter should encourage an appreciation for that art form, respect the artist regardless of how well their ideas are executed and respect the reader who wants to learn more about the given art form. An art reporter should never view their article as a substitute for experiencing or viewing its subject and should encourage readers to enjoy both art and art journalism as complementary pieces.