Juny Ardon: Artist Without Boundaries

Juny Ardon is a junior here at Colgate and is one of many vibrant artists on campus. Her art takes on many forms, ranging from charcoal painting to multimedia poetry, but all of her creative work provides a view into Ardon’s inner self.

“I come from a working class family from South Central L.A. [and] I’m the eldest. So I always have been a mule in a way, I had to carry my family and work all the time on top of being a student and everything. And so I’ve never been for myself. And so the places that I have been for myself have been through being an artist and creating stuff.”

Alongside her art, Ardon also incorporates writing into her creative endeavors. Visiting her Instagram art page @junytoones, one can find her multimedia artwork woven together with her poetry, both in Spanish and English. 

“I have been journaling forever. I love talking about what I see during the day, the people I meet, what I observe, what I smell, like everything; I just love recording that down. I started drawing, probably in elementary school, because I had this art teacher that really changed my life. … She just was like, don’t give a [expletive] about what you do. She just gave us materials to do anything, and I really love that. … I found that I was creative, and I’ve been using that ever since for salvation.”

Ardon’s art is expressive, unique and knows no boundaries – which is kind of the whole point of art in her eyes.

“I think [art] just stands outside of a structure, like a capitalist way of living. And so that’s why I’ve taken one art class, which has served me well. … But other than that I haven’t tried because I feel like everything I’ve learned about art has been outside of school. … I think I’m an artist in the way I am, the way I speak and the way that I move around. And so I feel like Colgate doesn’t serve that.”

When asked to try and define her work, Ardon returned to the exploration of identity.

“Everything that I draw or write about is about my identity because I know myself best and can speak, write and draw about that best. But I also like telling my story and drawing my story. Who I am could resonate with other people and that gives me a lot of comfort, too,” said Ardon.

She continued, speaking about her identity within her family and how it makes her feel connected to others.

“I’ve always written about being the eldest in my family, being a woman and what that means, being part of an immigrant family and being part of a single mother household. I love writing about that because a lot of people have experience with that, and then we could sort of hear each other. My art is for myself and for my community. That has helped a lot, being able to solidify who I am, my identity and my confidence; [it’s] like walking along the road, not being blinded by other things, and just being centered and comfortable with who I am.”

Ardon had one final message to those just beginning their journeys here at Colgate:

“I’m a junior now, and I wish that in my first year someone were to tell me to just be and to not put all these masks on. Now I feel like this is the first time when I’m just living for myself.”