Associate in Arts
During her sophomore year in high school, Jovita Mercado became interested in getting a head start on her college education and enrolled in YVC’s Running Start program. The program provides students like Mercado the opportunity to take college courses while completing the requirements for their high school diploma.
Unsure of her future career path Mercado was encouraged to pursue her passion for art and soon realized that it was the pathway she wanted to choose.
“I loved [art] from the time I was in elementary [school], but I questioned my abilities to become a professional artist. It wasn’t until I took my first drawing class at YVC that I knew I could be an artist,” states Mercado. “John Bisonnette was my art instructor. His courses were constantly challenging me as an artist. With these challenges, came growth and a newfound confidence in my abilities.”
Encouraged to continue her artistic growth, she credits Bissonnette’s influence to helping her develop long-term career goals after graduating with her associate degree in 2017.
“I remember talking to John during my senior year telling him I was thinking of enrolling into the Art Institute of Seattle. He suggested that I apply to a university. He said it would give me a well-rounded education. Taking his advice along with a few friends and family, I applied to the University of Washington.”
At UW she pursued a bachelor’s degree in art with minors in gender, women and sexuality studies and diversity. This combination of studies and her experiences at YVC have opened a wide variety of opportunities for her.
Mercado is currently working as a freelance artist and community art instructor in Seattle. She has several commissions and has recently worked on projects for the UW, City of Burien and the City of Seattle. She’s also seeking other opportunities to showcase art in public places.
Mercado says her artwork is inspired by a desire to better understand her identity in proximity to her ancestral history, past lived experiences and overall surroundings.
“This introspection is the very root of my art practice,” Mercado said. “This process of self-reflection develops into variety of themes in my work. For example, while I attended the University of Washington, I wanted to have better understanding of the difficulties that my family, friends and overall community experienced in Yakima. As a result, I created several pieces and topics that ranged from gender expectations to the exploitation of my ethnicity.”
Several of Mercado’s pieces showcase political and social issues. She feels it’s important to help make information accessible to everyone in a variety of ways.
“I believe that art is a tool to spread information to the masses. Visual art, musical art and performative art are ways to spread digestible information to a diverse audience not limited to their education or economic status. In my art practice, I tend to think critically on social and political injustices that are affecting my community. In response, I do research into these subjects and share my findings and thoughts through my visual art,” shared Mercado.
She believes it is vital to share artwork like hers with others because it allows people to develop larger dialogs surrounding challenging topics and opens the door to social political change.
Ultimately, she hopes to combine her interest in community organizing with her passion for art with the goal of creating a community center that gives low-income individuals the opportunity to master an art form and learn the skills to be a successful artist.
Mercado also encourages students considering a career in art to not let others dissuade them.
“I’ve had friends, some family and plenty of strangers question my abilities as an artist and try to convince me to find a different career path,” she said. “I believe people question artists and their career paths because art is a field that has many avenues. Those avenues are also not widely discussed compared to other careers.
“As for an artist there are many ways you can become a professional and there are many art forms for you to pursue. As an artist, you can be instructor, a sculptor, an illustrator, art organizer, graphic designer, animator, videographer, interior designer and much more.”
View more of Mercado’s work online.