Cecil Salyer (American, b. 1998) is a visual artist that seeks to evoke childlike wonder through themes of escapism. They use various processes such as printmaking, sculpture, and digital collage to depict struggles with stability, trauma, and religion. In an ongoing series of illustrations and prints titled Emotion Monsters, they add to a cast of creatures that are the embodiment of negative emotions. By making monsters Salyer is pointing to the playfulness of horror as a genre, and says, “If I give them a face then I can confront them. They aren’t as scary that way and maybe they can become more like friends.”
They are inspired by the narrative and immersion of video games in their current work, using favored environments from titles such as Alice: The Madness Returns, The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, and Pokemon Mystery Dungeons: Explorers of Darkness. Salyer will receive a BFA in Graphic Design from UTC in 2022, and their thesis work will be on view in the 2022 BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art at UTC from March 29-April 8, 2022.
Feel free to open these boxes and view the rooms inside. Each contains a place that has given me comfort and sanctuary in a period of my life. As someone who was raised in seclusion and rarely was anywhere outside of my home, most of these places are fictional worlds. Books, movies, and video games gave me access to something other than my reality.
The need for a safe space means there is something to escape. Though that something is different for everyone, we each have a method to cope. For a long time I thought sharing such things would only burden others. I want to be vulnerable with you, so here is a look into myself.
Just as I was kept in a box, so are my escapes, but now I can open them.