Ms-RAZ And The Art Of Psychology
She walked into the building in a whirlwind of paper, curly hair and swear words. I feel like that’s the best way to sum her up: sass and curls.
From our emails and practically stalking her website, I knew she was Rebecca. She’s everything you imagine a feisty artist to be like – and more.
She walked toward one of her art pieces on the wall to fix parts that were peeling off. I interrupted her to introduce myself, and she continued to talk as she Macgyvered a ladder and reacher to put tape on the back of The Thinker’s Trinity.
Rebecca A. Zarate, known as Ms-RAZ, has her psychologically-based artwork featured in the Seay building on the north part of campus.
Her story about getting there – both her and the art – is a whirlwind of seemingly impossible events. Ms-RAZ has never attended UT, nor has she taught classes at UT. Yet.
“It is very strange to me to walk around the UT psychology department and have people say hi to me, not because they know me as a student, not because I am a scientist,” Ms-RAZ told me. “They say hi to me because I am the artist. This is a title I never, ever expected to be labelled with.”
It may be unexpected, but it isn’t out of place. Ms-RAZ’s art brings to life a building that would normally be easy to overlook. One cannot walk through the Seay building without seeing her work.
“I’ve made stuff since I was little. My grandmother was an artist and though I didn’t interact much with her, she inspired me greatly.”
Her collection, “Cerebraphile”, explores different aspects of psychology in a beautiful and easily understood manner. RAZ has been teaching for a few years now, and still somehow secured the time for the project.
“Lots of coffee, podcasts, and sunrises,” RAZ says deserve credit for keeping the project going. “I completed the majority of ‘Cerebraphile’ from August 3 to December 3. It is by far the biggest [project I’ve taken on] and most ‘art’ I have ever produced in such a window. Actually, just the biggest in general. I’ve never made such big pieces because I never had a place for them.”
Beginning in the fall, RAZ will be teaching grad courses at UT. Her teaching philosophy matches her art style, so students are in for a treat.
“I want them to understand that rarely is there a straightforward answer or definition to life’s tougher questions,” RAZ said. “Sometimes the best answer is another question. My teaching philosophy on my syllabi is ‘Question Everything’.”
Read more about RAZ’s art and experiments HERE.