You work in so many different mediums. Do you have a favorite that you focus on more than others?
Honestly, I can’t choose a favorite. I think different fragments — memories, emotions, ideas — demand different forms of representation. I enjoy allowing myself the freedom to play with as many different mediums as I want. Though I will say, I am still very new to oil painting and I find it to be both frustrating and tantalizing; I’d like to be more comfortable with it someday but in the meantime I go for acrylics over oils.
How do your skills in each medium inform each other across works?
Language is enriched by imagery, sure, but imagery is also itself a language. I try to speak with my images just as much as I do with my words. I have my own idioglossia. Instead of letters and words and sentences, I have a woman whose head is a house on fire. Woman, head, house, fire. The brushstrokes that compose each of those things, the manner in which the things are combined, the imparted meaning. I’m always learning more about my language of images, which is unique to me but which I am delighted to find speaks to others as well, translated through their own languages of imagery.
What are some of the themes that you find yourself revisiting and why?
Hearts, skin, bones, scars, blood… bodies in general. Fire, salt, and various animals have significant presence as well but in both my art and my writing, I return again and again to the human form. I struggle tremendously with living inside of a body. I’m a survivor of various sorts of violence and a survivor of anorexia, and I also have a chronic medical illness called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, so the whole “body” thing is just absurd for me. I vacillate between being trapped outside my body and being trapped inside it and I’m yet to find peace within my skin, so I’m struggling through that in my work.
As a survivor of sexual abuse and a cult-like group home out West, have you found that art helps you work through the trauma? 
Creative expression has been a way for me to validate my own reality even in times when the world around me was insane. In my experience, one of the utmost challenges presented by prolonged trauma has been holding onto the fact that I’m not crazy; that the crazy happened outside of me and that my memories, my perceptions, my feelings, my thoughts, those are all real and generally have been reasonable… in response to totally unreasonable events. I think of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart and how she kept a journal in French throughout her captivity, which her captors could not read — that journal is what my creative work is to me. That being said, making paintings and writing poems isn’t psychotherapy. Good psychotherapy is a space where you can be safely witnessed and where you can gain tools to cope with your own storytelling process. If I had magical powers, I would provide every single willing trauma survivor (including children) with free, caring, expert psychotherapy, because I think that would have an absolutely massive positive impact on every sphere of this world.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Who are some of your favorite writers/artists?
Favorite writers: Emily Dickinson, Rachel McKibbens, Jeanann Verlee, Donté Collins, Taylor Mali, Chanel Dupré, Warsan Shire, Ocean Vuong, Kristin Chang, Tim Seibles, Anna Akhmatova, Saeed Jones
Favorite artists: Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Gottfried Helnwein, Antoine Cordet, Vasily Kandinsky, Richard Diebenkorn, Rene Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Waldemar Strempler, Nobuyoshi Araki
Adira Bennet Cap
From Glass Kite Anthology, Issue 8 + 9.

>> Read more of Adira’s writing in Maudlin House and Vagabond City

What is your favorite thing to play on the cello?
I’m quite fond of this very simple piece called Moonlight Over Ruined Castle by a Japanese composer named Rentaro Taki.
Are you working on any projects/pieces right now? Do you have any projects/pieces set for the future that you are excited about?
Right now, I’m in what I call one of my “fallow” periods. It’s a creative slump, really. But I try to tell myself that underneath the soil of my brain, maybe all kinds of life is happening; maybe little seeds are bursting open and sending up shoots and I just can’t see them yet. I’m focusing on reading lots of poetry (Donte Collins, Saeed Jones, and Rachel McKibbens, among others) and brushing up on basic art techniques so I’ll be ready when my drive to create comes back.


Adira Bennett (pseudonym of E.K.) is an artist/writer/student from NYC. Adira was the recipient of a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards national gold medal in 2013, and she has previous or upcoming publications with The Feminist Wire, Maudlin House, Waxing & Waning, Figroot Press, Persephone’s Daughters, and The Glass Kite Anthology. She hopes to have one day petted every dog in the world. / / @adirabennett