Diné artist Tyana Arviso interprets the world around her through art. As a photographer based in the Southwest, Tyana’s imagery evokes the heart of the desert around her, and the practice of making images has deepened her connection to self—mind, body, and spirit.
As for her creative process, Tyana says, “I usually have some kind of game plan when shooting portraits. Sometimes the concept works and sometimes it was never there to begin with. It’s frustrating when the concept doesn’t want to be interpreted. I always have a hard time letting it go, it’s like scraping the bottom of an empty jar.” But sometimes, a shift happens.
The shift depends on the ability to let go,” she says. “Once a shift happens, another idea emerges, and sometimes it’s better than the one before. I’ll look back at those shifts and wonder why I’m so tough on myself, making a promise to let go the next time. When the next time comes around I fall back into the resistance of letting go. Creativity is a funny thing.”
Tyana Arviso responds to the Youth Questionnaire, opening up about mental health, family, and being a bad b**** below.
Question 03: Where are you most free?
I’m most free when I’m shooting landscapes. The burdens that I carry are irrelevant and at that moment I’m free. My eyes sparkle as I see image after image before even taking the actual photograph. As the fire burns within nothing matters anymore.
Question 13: What is your most useful affirmation?
“Deep breath. Ground yourself. Remember your power, you’re a bad b****. Don’t forget.” You have to make sure you’re looking in the mirror though.
Question 15: What is your personal goal for this year, month, or day?
My personal goal depends on the state of my mental health. There are times when my bipolar depression feels like a billion-pound weighted blanket and the goal is as simple as taking a shower. As an artist, there’s always the goal to consistently create work. Work that is better than before. I think my overall goal is to remain true to myself. I’ve abandoned myself for many years and I hope that one day I could learn to forgive myself. To fully accept and embrace my power.
Question 18: Which is richer: your inner life or outer? Why?
Your inner life. The connection you hold with yourself is the most important. Limitations can be exceeded by cultivating a deeper connection to your inner being. Once that relationship is developed it will then reflect outward. The work starts within.
Question 19: If your energy were visible to others, what would it look like?
I’ve always used my expression as a voice. The work I create is a reflection of my energy. It has been used to understand grief and to express the joys in life. My energy is soft just like me. It is curious and warm. As my energy and I shift, so will my work.
Question 26: What does it mean to live your truth?
Living your truth means finding balance within. Learning to love yourself and all the parts that feel unlovable. It’s about confidence, knowing when you’re going against yourself. Developing healthy boundaries that protect your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Abandoned well-being is an ultimate self-betrayal.
Question 29: What are you doing to change the future?
Within my family, addressing multigenerational trauma, letting go of all the junk so that we can be better towards one another. We collectively recognize that change is important. We have to acknowledge the past in order to create a better future.