The World’s Gone Beautiful with Dorian Wood


August 5, 2020 – During the Covid 19 pandemic creating art was difficult, especially if your practice is based on community themes and engagement.  Performance Artist Dorian Wood came up with a great idea.  Calling on friends to film him from inside their house, he created a beautifully pieced together musical film on longing and solitude.

Victoria Delgadillo was part this project, shooting her gate shutting on Dorian with a gust of wind.  Be warned, you may be tempted to google Dorian Wood to see his other stunning art projects.

Centennial: 100 Years of Otis College Alumni

[NOTE: Victoria Delgadillo is not a graduate of Otis College, but her collaborative film project with Raul Baltazar called “Califas” was screened as part of this exhibit celebration.]

September 7 – December 7, 2019. Celebrating Otis College’s one hundredth year, Centennial is a group exhibition of selected works by notable alumni spanning the 1920s to the 2010s. Centennial offers a glimpse into both the range of artists who attended Otis College, as well as work that has come to represent a specific historical moment, focus, and aesthetic engagement. While the exhibition brings together artists working within diverse histories, places, and experiences, each work has a relationship to the present. Centennial is a nod to artistic process, as well as the 100 years of artists’ work sharing space in the Ben Maltz Gallery.    

Alumni artists in the exhibition include the following: Bas Jan Ader (’65), Mary Sue Ader Anderson (’65), Kelly Akashi (’06), Michelle Andrade (’07), John Baldessari (’58) (in collaboration with Meg Cranston), Raul Baltazar (’13), Billy Al Bengston (’57), George Chann (’45), Katy Cowan (’13), Kohshin Finley (’12), Kim Fisher (’98), Teresa Flores (’13), Kristen Foster (’09), Gajin Fujita (’97), Kio Griffith (’86), Judithe Hernandez (’74), Dakota Higgins (’17), Noah Humes (’17), Sara Hunsucker (’02), Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia (’07), Dorothy Jeakins (’36), Joseph Mugnaini (’42), Sandeep Mukherjee (’96), Alan Nakagawa (’86), Ruben Ochoa (’99), Rick Owens (’81), The Perez Bros (’16), Kour Pour (’10), Ken Price (’57), Pamela Ramos (’16), Vincent Ramos (’02), Steve Roden (’86), Alison Saar (’81), Forouzan Safari (’17), Eduardo Sarabia (’99), JT Steiny (’84), Masami Teraoka (’64), Daveion Thompson (’16), Kent Twitchell (’77), Jeffrey Vallance (’81), Mark Dean Veca (’85), Tyrus Wong (’32), John Weston (’07), Bruce Yonemoto (’79), Liz Young (’84), Milford Zornes (’27)

 

The MexiCal Biennial presents: CALAFIA (el fin del parai­so) / Final Round

“Know then, that due east of the Indies there is an island called California, very near to the locale called the Terrestrial Paradise. It was populated by Black Indigenous women, without men among them. They possessed strong and firm bodies of ardent courage and great strength. Their island was the strongest in all the world, with steep cliffs and rocky shores. Their arms were decorated with gold, as were the harnesses of the wild beasts they tamed and rode.” Garci Rodri­guez de Montalvo, Las Sergas de Esplandián

Thus began the creative narration for Mexicali Biennial’s 2 year project called CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise. Raul Baltazar and Victoria Delgadillo’s film collaboration for this exhibit with the title of Calafia was called dystopian in the press and at the University of Paris a student asked, “Is it ok to laugh while watching this film?”

In the end, the Mexicali Biennial closed the 2 years of programming and exhibits with echos between Calexico, California and Mexicali, Baja California. There, among the historical exhibits of bones and time elapsed graphs at the Institute for Cultural Research Museum in Mexicali, was an installation of all the props and costumes used in the filming of Calafia.  The Cultural Research Institute’s Director was elated.

Below are the border event offerings and locations during the closing of CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise in Calexico and Mexicali

Friday, January 17, 2020
Steppling Art Gallery, SDSU, Imperial Valley Campus
CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise. Visual Arts exhibition

Friday, January 17, 2020
Planta Libre Galería Experimental
Mexicali, Baja California MX
Films screenings, followed by Q&A

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Institute for Cultural Research Museum (IIC Museo)
Mexicali, Baja California MX
Installation and film screening of Calafia by Victoria Delgadillo and Raul P. Baltazar
Runs through February 2, 2020

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Workshop: “My face hurts from being so white”
A metaphorical intervention process of internal and external whiteness using colored t-shirts

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Tianguis del Caballito, I21 Art Space. Local I21
Mexicali, Baja California MX
A site specific solo project to connect diverse Mexicali audiences to multidisciplinary art practices.

Sunday, January 19, 2020
In front of Toyota Car Dealership, Calzada Cetys
Mexicali, Baja California MX
A billboard project

Sunday, January 19, 2020
A border fence performance
Calexico Side: Parking lot at 426 E. 1st St, Calexico, CA
Mexicali Side: Heroes de Chapultepec Park Avenida Madero, Mexicali, B.C.

Images: Courtesy of the MexiCali Biennial and the artists.

Library of Congress

In 2007, Georgia Fee and Catherine Ruggles launched what would become a twelve-year commitment to emerging artists, arts writers, and critics. Beginning in LA as a network for local artists, ArtSlant Magazine ultimately expanded to fifteen cities and countries around the world, bringing on board fresh writers, editors, and artists to critique, unpack, reflect on, and generally chronicle art and its engagement with contemporary culture. For nine years, ArtSlant also awarded the ArtSlant Prize, celebrating outstanding work from emerging artists. From 2013–2018, ArtSlant hosted a Residency for artists and writers in Paris, founded in honor of Georgia Fee following her passing in 2012.

Georgia Fee helped to advance many with her resources, building open pathways to success in an industry that can be hard to break into. ArtSlant Prize winners had their work evaluated by respected gallerists and curators, and exhibited at art fairs in Miami and New York City. Many have gone on to have major gallery representation and exhibit their artwork widely. Likewise, countless writers cut their teeth in this small company to go on to edit and write for mainstream arts publications, a trajectory that made her very proud.

Archive and legacy

Now the good news! ArtSlant will live on as a resource in the digital archives of the Library of Congress

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress welcomes ArtSlant as “an important part of [its web archive] collection and the historical record.” Initially, the ArtSlant archive will be available to researchers at Library facilities and by special arrangement. After one year, the Library may also make the collection available more broadly by hosting it on its public access website. Learn more about the Library’s Web Archiving program goals here , this is where ArtSlant’s digital archive is stored click here and check out the other numerous web archives

Victoria Delgadillo

Victoria joined the ArtSlant project in 2008, where she maintained a profile page for 10 years. Below are her 36 art images that will be inducted into the Library of Congress web digital archive in 2019.

La Moda

Still from “La Moda”

La Moda was created for “Caught Between A Whore and an Angel,” a women’s performance exhibit at Regeneración/The PRC in Highland Park.  This video La Moda (1996), shot on VHS with a separate cassette sound track was filmed in 1 hour, with the soundtrack taking 8 hours to construct to compliment the footage.   

Mexican Spitfire, Victoria Delgadillo filmed La Moda in a straight shot, no edit format (mainly due to a lack of resources).  Each time she began to shoot a segment, the borrowed camera rolled back the tape, sadly losing some of the action. The sound track was edited from a jazz musician-boyfriend’s left-behind collection—except for The Last Poets on the closing credits.  The sound became Victoria’s presence in the story line of a neighborhood cabaret-style beauty pageant.

La Moda was made in a Direct Cinema style, characterized by a desire to directly capture reality and represent it truthfully, and to question the relationship of reality with cinema.Captured were Marco Trejo’s love of Elvis practicing karate (opening credits), Patricia Valencia dancing flirtatiously and kissing the camera (a huge hit at the premiere) and Elizabeth Delgadillo wearing clothes with sales tags still on it, an early hip-hop fashion statement about the “haves and have nots.”

Victoria studied Video Filmmaking at UCSD, during the growth in popularity of the Cinéma Vérité and the early stages of the portable video camera.  Drawing from personal experiences as a non-reactionary feminist, her artwork and ideas have been profoundly influenced by growing up in a predominately black neighborhood in San Diego, California during the civil rights era, as well as by a word-of-mouth Mexican cultural experience in America on the border.

Gloria Anzaldua Paris Symposium/Conference, May 16-17, 2019

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua (1942-2004) is a major figure in many inter-disciplines, disciplinary areas of scholarship and art. She was born in the U.S., in the Rio Grande Valley at the border of Texas and Mexico into a family that had been in the U.S. for six generations, and died in Santa Cruz, California. Anzaldua contributed foundational works to Chicana/o/x cultural theory, feminist theory and queer theory. She is one of the first if not actually the first to construct queer theory within the academy in the 1980s. She co-edited the ground-breaking book on women and queers of color feminism, This Bridge Called My Back. Anzaldua is a major writer of literary essays, poetry, short stories and children’s books. Her illustrations have been the subject of art exhibits. Her most renowned sole-authored book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, has been translated into multiple languages and is currently being translated into French. It is a multi-genres book including auto-biography, auto-historia, auto-historia-teoria, political essays, literary musings, and poetry. In it, Anzaldua performs the process of decolonizing language by shifting from English (the main language of the book) into Tex-Mex Spanish and into Nahuatl, an indigenous language, to create what she called an infant language, this bastard language, Chicano Spanglish which is not approved by any society.

The Anzaldua Paris Symposium conference honors both the thirty year anniversary of Borderlands/La Frontera: La New Mestiza and its forthcoming translation into French. The main unifying thematic is the question of B/borders as conceptualized by Anzaldua, and its multiple situated potential interpretations and elaborations. For Anzaldua borderlands with a small b signals the geographical space of national division, such as the space of her birth at the U.S.-Mexico border. When she writes Borderlands with a capital B the concept-term signifies many other dimensions including psychic, sexual, spiritual, energetic divided spatialities as well. In sum, together the notions of borderlands and Borderlands up a world of possibilities for feminist and queer theory, literatures, historiographies, arts, which are invited to converge in this conference.

Victoria Delgadillo, co-directed and co-wrote the film Califas in 2018, which premiered as part of the MexiCali Biennial at the Fullerton Museum of Art in California. Victoria will screen and discuss this short film at the Gloria Anzaldua: Translating B/borders, Paris Symposium.  Califas, a 15-minute story presented in a traditional Chicanx Rasquachismo genre, will speaks on the 500 years of colonialism that has never ceased. Califas is a mashing up of time, not as something that occurred in the past but rather it reveals the threads that expose our current position in America, and our continual need for resistance. Our participation as Chicanx in this clash/cataclysm of cultures is noted in a truthful, comical and even a hopeful way. Victoria will discuss the process of creating an historically elevated art form (film) on a budget and why Chicanx art is never controlled by a financial aspect.

This gathering is co-organized by University of Paris VIII (France), University of Paris VII (France), University of California, Berkeley (USA), Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldua (USA), University of Texas, San Antonio (USA), and Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico).

Currently Scheduled Exhibits – Some Virtual

Xican-a.o.x. BodyCecilia Fajardo-Hill is an independent curator and art historian based in Southern California and New York. As a 2019-20 CSRC research scholar, she conducted research for the upcoming touring exhibition Xican-a.o.x. Body, organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Phoenix Art Museum. Over the past year she worked in the archives at the CSRC and at UC Santa Barbara and made studio visits to and conducted investigations of Chicanx artists in California, Texas, and New York. She and collaborators Gilbert Vicario and Marissa del Toro began compiling the exhibition checklist, which will include approximately 200 works by sixty-five artists.  In spring 2020, Fajardo-Hill was a visiting lecturer and fellowship visiting research scholar in the Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS) at Princeton University. She co-taught the first Latin American art history course at Princeton to include Chicanx art in the syllabus. Victoria Delgadillo will exhibit her suitcase multi-media sculpture “American Manufactured Vacation, Juarez Suitcase, 2004” in this grand exhibit. Due to Covid19 opening dates and venues may be changed.  Please get updates here

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Nuestras Historias: Stories of Mexican Identity from the Permanent Collection is open year round.  Plan a visit  Victoria Delgadillo’s painting of Laura Berenice, a disappeared young woman of Ciudad Juarez is in this permanent exhibit and museum collection. View the exhibit at Galeria Gilberto & Dolores Cardenas, The National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608.  read more

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Just Added! To the Library of Congress

34 of Victoria’s artwork images are inducted into the Library of Congress digital archive read more

Bolsa de Mercado, 2013

Bolsa de Mercado prints are in these collections: Los Angeles County Museum Print Department, University of Notre Dame Latino Studies (Notre Dame, Indiana), UC Santa Barbara Library-California Multicultural Ethnic Print Archive (Santa Barbara, California), National Mexican Museum of Art (Chicago, Illinois), AltaMed Health Services Art Collection (Los Angeles, California), and Self Help Graphics & Art Archive (Los Angeles, California).

Entre Tinta y Lucha

Entre Tinta y Lucha
45 Years of Self Help Graphics & Art
January 31 – March 9, 2019
Exhibition opening January 31, 6-8pm

California State University, Bakersfield  – Todd Madigan Gallery
9001 Stockdale Highway
Bakersfield, CA  93311-1022

On January 31st, the Art & Art History Department will host a public opening reception for an art exhibit entitled Entre Tinta y Lucha: 45 Years of Self Help Graphics & Art at the Todd Madigan Gallery.

Delgadillo’s Print, Bolsa de Mercado, 2013 part of Entre La Tinta y la Lucha.

“CHICANO ART — During its 50 years of existence, Chicano art, always in transformation, has revolutionized itself into one of the main currents of the American creative canon. Based on four cultures-the pre-Columbian, the invading Hispanic, the Mexican and the American-Chicano art is inspired by these and develops from both its roots and the decades of oppression suffered by those who practice it and their families.

Since the violent confrontation in the streets during the 1970 Chicano Moratorium, Chicanos have progressed economically, socially and politically. Nonetheless, Chicanos and Latinos continue to be a marginalized group – foreigners – in their own home in the United States, and even in Mexico. This happens, even when the percentage of the Latino population in the main cities of the United States (such as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago) has grown tremendously, both in size and in political power.

Born in the mid-1960s, along with the protests of the Vietnam War and the Black Power movement for civil rights, the Chicano movement challenged the categorization and mocking stereotypes widely spread among the Anglo-Saxon population, as well as the public schools, plagued with desertion and proclaimations that they were too inferior to achieve a middle class standard of living.

These problems became the central themes of the first Chicano artists. The expressionist and frank realism of their works appealed to an art audience that had grown weary of the successive tendencies of the system established in unrepresentative paintings.

With highly developed skills and great originality, these artists of dual origin, Mexican and American, directed the eyes towards the Latin American culture, not only highlighting the conflicts with the Anglo-Saxon society, but also boasting, celebrating and elevating the elements of the Latin American culture and tradition, that the Anglo-Saxon world marginalized.

Both the advances and the difficulties of the last five decades have helped to shape the evolution of Chicano and Latino art. These artists expanded their creative expression and demonstrated great dexterity to develop and represent their mythologies, methodologies and philosophies. They introduced an outstanding and original school in the history of art.” – Julian Bermudez

MexiCali Biennial

CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise, 2018

“Calafia” is a group exhibition featuring 30 artists from California and Mexico that seeks to explore the spirit of California by using the mythological Black female warrior who is the namesake and ruler of the fictional island of California, as a source of inspiration and artistic departure . From Garci Rodrigues de Montalvo’s fifth book of his sixteenth-century opus The Esplandian Sergas (The Adventures of Esplandian), the story of the great Queen Calafia and her army of Amazon women is told with that wonder not only establishes her place as a powerful influence on California, a region which spans both sides of the US and Mexico border, but also as a reflection of the ongoing history of the area. The story tells of the rich island of California and its powerful women,

The parallels between the myth of Calafia and current day inhabitants of the great state of California do not stop at its etymology. From the cinematic glamor of Hollywood to its identity as a fertile paradise, to its association with gold and riches, the story and character of Calafia can be a point of critical interrogation used to explore and critique California’s stories, contradictions, and identities.

Artists: 
Nicole Antebi, antenna, Abraham Avila, Raul Baltazar and Victoria Delgadillo, Juan Bastardo, Carlos Beltran, Chris Christion, Artemisa Clark, cognate collective, Yutsil Cruz, Nikki Darling and Dean Erdmann, Jorge R. Gutiérrez, Xandra Ibarra, Jane Chang My, Kristi Lippire, Keaton Macon, Maya Makrandilal, Ruben Garcia Marrufo and Maximiliano Martinez, chinwe okona, Noe Olivas, Monica Rodriguez, Sandy Rodriguez, Julio M Romero, Luis Alonso Sanchez, Andrea Sofia Santizo, #SNATCHPOWER, Mariangeles Soto-Diaz, Sergio Teran, Diane Williams and Jenny Yurshansky

In conjunction with the 2018/19 MexiCali Biennial programming, a special exhibition titled “Reclaiming Myth” will be on display at the Dutton Family Gallery, housed within RAFFMA. This exhibition is part of a Summer Research Grant sponsored by California State University, San Bernardino, Office of Student Research and is a collaboration between the CSUSB Department of Art, RAFFMA, and the MexiCali Biennial. The project was organized by Assistant Professor of Art Ed Gomez and includes artwork by distinguished Artist in Residence Mely Barragan and artists (CSUSB students) Ryan Clark, Paul Garcia, Melora Garcia, and Juan Nevares. “Reclaiming Myth” will open alongside Calafia on Thursday, Oct. 4, 6-8 pm and will be on display through Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018.
Know then, that there is an island called California, very near to the locale called the Terrestrial Paradise. It was populated by black women, with no men among them, for they lived in the fashion of the Amazons. They possessed strong and firm bodies of ardent courage and great strength. Their island was the strongest in all the world, with steep cliffs and rocky shores. Their arms were decorated with gold, as were the harnesses of the wild beasts they tamed and rode. 
– Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo,  Las Sergas de Esplandian, Calafia

Curators:

Ed Gomez

Ed Gomez is an artist, curator and educator who received his BFA in Painting from the Arizona State University in 1999 and his MFA in Painting from the Otis College of Art and Design in 2003. Since then he has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally. and Curating several art exhibitions that deal with the region of California and Mexico as an area of ​​aesthetic production.

The interdisciplinary practice of Ed Gómez’s art revolves around the interrogation of exhibition practices, institutional framework and historical models of artistic production. In 2006, he co-founded the MexiCali Biennial, a binational art and music program aimed at the border region between Mexico and the United States. He is currently the director and co-president of the program. This project serves not only as a curatorial project but also as a satirical declaration of the abundance of biennials that occur around the world and the impact they have on the artistic community. Mr. Gómez is also the director of GOCA, the Galería de Arte Contemporáneo, which is an itinerant and independent exhibition space humorously located in his suitcase. He has presented emerging and established artists from Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York and Mexico. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at California State University San Bernardino.

Luis G. Hernandez

Luis G. Hernández is an artist and curator who lives and works between southern California and Mexicali, Mexico. The aesthetic production of Hernández consists of sculptures, paintings, drawings, collages and installations that respond in a subtle way to the space where they are exhibited. The artist makes provocative associations, humorous and often absurd associations between context, materials and language, working through these elements as if they were sculptural spaces, and incorporating themes that point to the history of art, politics and business. border.

In 2006, Luis G. Hernández and artist Ed Gómez co-founded the MexiCali Biennial, a non-profit event that gives exposure to artists and places that are often overlooked in the contemporary arts of Southern California and Mexico. The MexiCali Biennial remains to serve not only as a curatorial or artistic project, but also as a satirical platform to question the abundance of biennials that occur around the world and the impact they have on the artistic community. The last edition of the MexiCali Biennial took place in 2013 and was held at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles; Jaus Gallery, Santa Monica; Mexicali Rose: Arts / Media Center, Mexicali; And Faculty of Arts, UABC, Mexicali campus.

The individual exhibitions of the artist include: A Temporal Thing, Artere-a, Guadalajara, Mexico (2016); Untitled # 53, Proxy Gallery, Los Angeles (2015); Variants, Robert and Frances Fullerton Art Museum, San Bernardino, CA (2012). Recent group exhibitions include: Personalization Language, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2016); Elías Fontes Collection: History and Story, El Cubo, CECUT, Tijuana (2016); Punk Povera, WUHO, Los Angeles (2016); REVISION GLOCAL / REVIEW / BEIJING-TIJUANA 2012-2015, Cecut, Tijuana (2015); Territorial Actions, Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City (2014).

Luis G. Hernández is the current director of Steppling Gallery at San Diego State University-IV Campus. He obtained his MFA from Otis College of Art in 2003.

Daniela Lieja Quintanar

Daniela is a Los Angeles-based curator whose study interests include contemporary art and curatorial practices that explore the political and social issues of everyday life. She currently serves as Project Coordinator and Contributing Curatorial Adviser for the upcoming exhibition and publication “Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action” in the nineties Mexico at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, as part of PST LA / LA . He recently worked with the artist Teresa Margolles, as coordinator of art projects, for her contribution to the Biennial of Public Art CURRENT: LA Water. In addition, he worked as a research assistant in the Urban Transfer project (s): At the Getty Research Institute: Building theLatin American metropolis from independence to the threshold of modernism . In 2014, he cured Territorial Acts (Territorial Actions) at the Ex Teresa Museum in Mexico City, with two weeks of daily public programming. The master’s thesis of Liège The territories of resistance : the impact of the Zapatista rebellion on artistic practices in Mexico City, 1994-1995, is the basis of his ongoing research on the territories of resistance in Latin America through the arts and politics. She was the coordinator of the LUGAR_CERO research center in the Historic Center of Mexico City since 2011-12, a traveling project that explored the complexity of public space. At the same time, she was the editor of the Bunker arts section for the MXMagazine Registry. Liège has a BA in Cultural Studies from the University of the Cloister of Sor Juana, Mexico City, and a Masters in Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere of USC.

Project and Research Coordinator:

April Lillard-Gomez

April Lillard-Gómez is an independent curator, arts administrator and arts advocate. She has been a member of the board of directors and is currently an administrator of the MexiCali Biennial since its creation in 2006. She specializes in the solicitation of funds, in relations with the media and in fostering opportunities for collaboration between artists and artistic organizations. Research topics and curatorial interests include New Americana, the frontier as a means of aesthetic production and art as protest. Previous curatorial projects include Mass Emergencies at the Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, which focused on the post-apocalyptic crisis and disaster protocols of Long Beach and SOS (Save Our States),


Entre Tinta y Lucha – Self Help Graphics & Art’s 45th Anniversary Exhibition

Entre Tinta y Lucha: 45 Years of Self Help Graphics & Art Exhibition on view at Fine Arts Gallery August 21 through September 29, 2018
A partnership between Cal State LA and Self Help Graphics & Art, with support from Cal State LA’s Fine Arts Gallery

Lounge inspired by Wayne Healy’s 2002 print “Bolero Familiar”

Entre Tinta y Lucha celebrates the 45th anniversary of the East Los Angeles cultural and community art organization, Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG).  The exhibition looks back at over four decades of the organization’s artistic innovation and excellence, organizational resilience and expanded activity, by featuring a display of over fifty fine art prints from throughout the organization’s history. Inspired by the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and the rise of printmaking as a legitimate art form during the same period, SHG was founded by Franciscan nun, Sister Karen Boccalero, and local Chicano artists Carlos Bueno, Antonio Ibañez, and Frank Hernandez in East Los Angeles. Since its incorporation in 1973, SHG has produced over 1,000 art print editions, including 54 Atelier projects and exhibitions all over the world. The organization remains dedicated to the production, interpretation and distribution of prints and other art media by Chicana/o and Latinx artists; and its multidisciplinary, intergenerational programs promote artistic excellence and empower community by providing access to working space, tools, training and beyond. Click here to see prints by Victoria Delgadillo and Dalila Mendez selected for this this exhibit representing the women printers of Self Help Graphics.

The exhibition also looks forward to an exciting evolution of Chicana/o and Latinx aesthetics. Undeniably, Self Help Graphics & Art has continued to represent the heart of the Chicano Art Movement in Los Angeles. Before major art institutions began exploring community engagement in the arts, SHG understood the power of art to affect change in our communities and that this shared experience defined how people from diverse backgrounds related to each other through their creative practices. Now, nearly a half century later, SHG continues to foster emerging Chicana/o and Latinx artists through its world-class printmaking studio and supports the role of artists as leaders, both within its organization and the community. A series of artist-led panels from the perspective of SHG’s print studio will accompany the exhibition to get perspective from the artists themselves about the history and value of the organization to the community and the greater Los Angeles art world.   

On Thursday, September 27, 2018 at CalState LA:

Panel Discussion on “Las Maestras”
6-7:15pm  | FREE

Victoria Delgadillo (Moderator)
Yreina Cervantez, Barbara Carrasco, Dalila Mendez, and Judy Baca

Artists will discuss the barriers and opportunities that female printmakers encountered in working in the screen print studio at SHG and the significant role that they played in shaping the program and organization.  In addition, after the panel discussion tour the gallery with a Maestra to view their print in this exhibit.

Gallery images on 9/27/18

Entre Tinta y Lucha marks a historic collaboration between Self Help Graphics & Art and Cal State LA– two community institutions with roots in the Eastside of Los Angeles. The exhibition, panel discussions and workshop hosted at Cal State LA’s Fine Arts Gallery are curated by university faculty members Michelle Lopez, MA/MFA and Victor Hugo Viesca, PhD., in partnership with Self Help Graphics & Art. 

The exhibition is FREE and open to Cal State LA students and the public beginning August 21, 2018- September 29, 2018. The Fine Arts Gallery is located at Cal State LA’s main campus and is open Monday-Friday, 12pm-5pm. The gallery will be open extended hours, 6pm-9pm, during exhibition programming on Thursdays: September 6, September 13, and September 27, 2018.

Glasgow Print Studio

Graphic Impact: Our Lives in Print Exhibition

Due to the Covid-19 this exhibition was forced to close prematurely in March, 2020. Graphic Impact: Our Lives in Print reopened August 4, 2020.

Graphic Impact: Our Lives in Print (featuring women in print), 2020.  Glasgow Print Studio in the UK was established as an artists’ workshop in 1972.  The Studio is now an internationally acclaimed centre of excellence in fine art printmaking, promoting contemporary and innovative printmaking. Victoria Delgadillo’s print made in 1996 is part of this studio’s collection which contains over 4,500 items made by Scottish and international artists and dating from the 1970s to the present day. These include fine art prints and related material (blocks, plates, stage proofs, preparatory material). Graphic Impact: Our Lives in Print is a two year project which began in April 2018. The project focuses on the early days of Glasgow Print Studio (1972- 1989), in particular the role of women who have contributed to the growth of the organization in a variety of ways. View Victoria’s print in this exhibit here

 

Victoria’s statement on this print for the Glasgow Print Studio Collection:

I am a Chicana artist that was born in Southern California,  USA, 1951. Self-identifying as a Chicana is a political stance, in that I am of Mexican descent, born in the United States, but I am not comfortable saying I am Mexican-American, the term that my government uses to identify someone like me.

At one point in the history of the conquest of the Americas, the area where I was born was Mexico. If you visit California, you will see that Mexico continues its presence here—in the names of the towns and streets, the prominent percent of people living here, Spanish spoken everywhere, but especially in the cuisine and Mexican traditions.

From 1969-1973, I attended the University of California, San Diego to study English Literature and Video making. After graduating, I could not afford an art studio and migrated north, to ELA to partake in a large growing community of Chicano artists that were forming.

Since 1979, I have been a part of a print studio collective in East Los Angeles (ELA) called Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG), founded in 1973.  SHG is an organization rooted in the Chicano community that intersects print art with social justice, with the ultimate goal of engendering new print artists. They also partner with art spaces/museums in the US and internationally to exchange cultural ideas and artistic expressions.  At Self Help, I studied printing though mentorship and professional print making classes.

One of the important cultural works that the SHG collective has developed is a platform for a community and family peaceful celebration that marks an annual time when the living and the deceased are as one. It features the importance of living together. This is a traditional Mesoamerican blend of pre-Columbian rituals and Catholic traditions called El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

In the 1990s there were many reasons to find outlets for a united community: the Los Angeles Riots, excessive Police brutality with no-tolerance laws, historical gang truces, the CIA involved cocaine trafficking into low income areas of Los Angeles, and Proposition 187, a discriminatory law against undocumented immigrants of Hispanic and Asian origin that required any person employed by the government to monitor immigrants and report their suspicions to the police.

El Día de los Muertos, brought everyone together to quietly reflect in unity about our deceased, living and extended families.  Over an artistic altar of photographs, decorations and food; shared story telling honored every beloved deceased family member, friend and pet.

My print Festivity features my friend Marco Trejo (now on the other side) and my sister Elizabeth Delgadillo Merfeld (still on this side) with their faces painted in the traditional skeleton motif.  This is not meant as a scary matter, we are purposefully celebrating all the levels of the living experience, by mocking and accepting death. We are all part of the beautiful earthly transition, just like the plants, the animals and all of nature.  This celebration has become a national event all over the Americas.

Festivity is a silk screen mono-print, also an invention started at Self Help Graphics & Art.  The drawn image placed under the screen, allows the artist to transfer the image to the screen with silk screen inks and brush.  Usually it is a 15 minute only process, the inks must remain wet in order to be pushed onto the paper with the squeegee. I used liquid screen blocker applied with a brush, which gave me a longer image transfer time. After my image was transferred we poured a good amount of black paint at the top of the screen and pulled it down with the squeegee to fill in all the areas that had not been blocked.  A second ghost print can be made at this point, but I only made the one pass. I was quite content with the Andy Warholesk photographic pop-art quality it has.

 

 

Regeneracion: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology

Regeneracion: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology examines the transnational exchange and circulation of revolutionary and activist ideas through which political protest intersected with experimental artistic practices across generations, and between the U.S. and Mexico. The exhibition centers on three instances of political and cultural production, each called Regeneracion, and the interconnected ideas and relationships between them. The term regeneracion was first used by the Los Angeles-based, Mexican anarchist Flores Magon brothers in their revolutionary-era political newspaper Regeneracion (1900 – 1918); subsequently adopted in the cultural and political journal Regeneracion (1970 – 1975), which was an important collaborative site for the Chicano avant-garde group Asco; and later evoked in the experimental space Regeneracion/Popular Resource Center of Highland Park (1993 – 1999).

These groups and sites of production were incubators for transnational political thought and forms of resistance that linked Mexico and the United States from the site of Los Angeles, stimulating the creation of journals, print media, plays, music, film, satirical cartoons, drawings, performances, and poetry, and contributing to the convergence of art, community, and politics across the span of one hundred years. Tracing political and artistic modes of cultural production rooted in counter-hegemonic practices within Latino communities in Los Angeles in the twentieth century, Regeneracion: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology aims to shed light on nuanced aspects of Southern California’s regional history.

This exhibition was organized with extensive collaboration from advisors, artists and historians. It reflects collaboration with, contributions from, and works by Lalo Alcaraz, ASCO, Raul Baltazar, Barnet, Jacinto Barrera Bassols, Alberto Beltran, Akira Boch, Ludovico Caminita, Oscar Castillo,  Zack de la Rocha, Elizabeth Delgadillo-Merfeld, Victoria Delgadillo, Richard Estrada, Lysa Flores, William Flores, Diego Flores Magon Bustamante, Roman Gabriel, Joseph Galarza, Diane Gamboa, Harry Gamboa Jr., Antonio (Willie) Garcia, Javier Gonzalez, Gronk, Colin Gunckel, Romeo Guzman, Sara Harris, Sergio Hernandez, Willie F. Herrón III, Marissa Hicks-Alcaraz, Blas Lara Cazares, Jesse Lerner, Manuel Lopez, Ruben Martinez, Lara Medina, Marisol Medina Cadena, Menoman Martinez, Claudia Mercado, Joseph (Nuke) Montalvo, Shawn Mortensen, Mujeres de Mai­z, Leo Ortiz, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, Raul Pacheco, Martin Quiroz, Omar Ramirez, Rudy Ramirez, Nicolas Reveles, Gregory Rodriguez, Seymour Rosen, Fermin Sagrista, Aida Salazar, Jeniffer Sanchez, Elias Serna, Humberto Terrones, The Mexican Spitfires, Edgar Toledo, Mark Torres, Adriana Trujillo, Patssi Valdez, Patricia Valencia, Arnoldo Vargas, L. Villegas Jr., Marius de Zayas, Sergio Zenteno and others.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a robust public program series, including art and music performances, film screenings, a symposium, and art workshops for families, in addition to a gallery sound booth for online radio station programming and conducting oral histories. In an effort to continue to gather materials related to this history, the Vincent Price Art Museum welcomes communication from those invested and engaged with these iterations of Regeneracion to deepen the research of these important periods.

The programming for Regeneracion: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology takes place at the Vincent Price Art Museum, East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754.

Read more on Terremoto Art Magazine

Mexicali Biennial / Califas

 

The MexiCali Biennial 2018/2019. Raul Baltazar a trans-disciplinarian artist and Victoria Delgadillo filmmaker, fine art printer and organizer premiered their film “Califas”  at the MexiCali Biennial 2018/2019. Colonialism has never ceased and thus we have mashed-up time in our film, not as something that occurred in the past but rather revealing the threads that expose our current position in California, our need for resistance and our participation in this clash/ cataclysm of cultures. Scroll below to view the complete version of  “Califas.”  After the credits, check out some out takes.

Lysa Flores prepares for her scene with Raul Baltazar.

“CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise,” exhibit opening: Thursday, October 4, 2018, running through December 15, 2018  at Robert & Frances Fullerton Museum of Art, as part of the MexiCali Biennial exhibit.  “CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise,” included work by US & Mexican artists. Read a write up from TERREMOTO/Contemporary Art in the Americas Magazine here.  They liked our film!! (Although it seems as if the author Arden Decker was moved by the images in our film, the sound quality in the exhibit was not the best.  Much of the language was in Spanish and the story line was moved by the music and the words, as well as the images.  Still, we are glad to have been featured in the article!)  www.mexicalibiennial.org/ #LysaFlores #EndyBernal #RamonGarcia #ReinaPrado  Read more on this exhibit through the MexiCali Biennial

CALIFASULTA2018 from Victoria Delgadillo on Vimeo.

Mi Sereno

 

Raul Baltazar invited Los Angeles cultural workers, friends, family and neighbors to unite at Ascot Hills Park in El Sereno for two Sundays of processions, picnics and performances. Mi Sereno was a pair of ritual events honoring many generations of cultural workers, as they came together to form a larger body on two special days. Baltazar set a tone that was relaxed, playful, and introspective, with ephemera, games, picnic blankets, ritual trail hikes and group portraits observing the visual commons of the LA cultural worker. Those who were attending were encouraged to wear all Red or Blue outfits (comfortable walking/hiking attire), and to bring water, picnic blankets and food to share with others. This performance took place on January 14 and 21, 2018 – 11 am to 2pm. LOCATION: Ascot Hills Park, 4371 Multnomah St, Los Angeles, 90032

Victoria Delgadillo participated as a storyteller in Mi Sereno at Ascot Park, a beloved place of Raul Baltazar’s childhood.  The space is a breathtaking reserve of native plants and Los Angeles views.  Baltazar’s themes of family, nature, urban home and connections to native ritual echoed throughout the hiking trails of this performance.

“Baltazar sees the hills as a temple for the city’s Eastside Chicanx community, and said he wants the performance to serve as a moment of healing in the current political climate. ‘The piece is creating a space for people to congregate in a safe space, especially for us, as people of color, who are facing this really intense, violent time,’ he said. ‘I want to create a space for us to have leisure, to recuperate, and strengthen ourselves spiritually to create a connection with our network . . . and for this to create an impetus for future networking, workshopping, and community.’ - ArtNews, Maximiliano Duron, November 11, 2017

“Raul Baltazar’s Mi Sereno is an interactive, ritualistic experience over two Sundays honoring multiple generations of cultural workers.

The public is encouraged to wear red or blue, a collective costume that he sees as representing lava and water flowing through the hills. Participants are also encouraged to bring food to share at the picnic, where Danza de Compton will perform the Mexican folk dance La Danza de los Viejitos wearing traditional wood masks representing resistance to colonialism.

‘The first Sunday is focused more on the elders,’ Baltazar said, ‘our roots, how we migrated here, the foundation of where we come from. The second Sunday is more geared towards the children, the future, what we’re aspiring towards.’

The inspiration for the piece came last year when Baltazar visited Mineral de Pozos, near Guanajuato, Mexico, an old mining town his grandparents had migrated from. He learned of a custom in which the miners met once a year for a celebratory picnic.

Baltazar sees the El Sereno location of Mi Sereno as integral to the piece. Mi Sereno translates as My Peace, but as someone born and raised in the neighborhood, he also means My Sereno.

‘The trails end up becoming a microcosm or metaphor about how our ancestors have migrated throughout the continent,’ he said. ‘In the midst of this political climate where we’re meant to feel like lawbreakers or guests in our own home, this little sanctuary in the park is a place to celebrate the fact that we’re alive, and moving along the continent. We’re here, we all ended up here no matter what our stories are.’

Baltazar’s work breaks down the relationship between the audience and the artist — because you’re invited to participate in the midst of a community ritual that celebrates and claims a sense of belonging. It acknowledges connections between the land here and the land south of here. It’s a celebration of a neighborhood as home.” - Los Angeles Times, Devorah Vankin, January 11, 2018

 

“Anger remains in explorations of feminism, immigrant rights, environmental and economic justice, Mark Murphy (Executive Director of REDCAT) said, but he credits performances such as Raul Baltazar’s Mi Sereno with the transformative effect of activating, connecting and celebrating communities.” – LA Weekly, Beige Luciano-Adams,  January 24, 2018

 

 

Con la Casa a Cuestras

[Nota: Esta descripción se encuentra en Español a continuación.]

“Mi historia, tu historia, nuestra historia” and “Con la casa a las espaldas: miradas migrantes” are an initiative of Proyecto Caracol. Migración y patrimonio cultural and the International Seminar Con la casa a cuestas, a donde los pies me lleven, organized by the Pablo de Olavide University, Seville (Spain), the Benemérita Autonomous University of Puebla (Mexico) with the collaboration of the National Autonomous University of Mexico-Los Angeles (United States).

In life, there are those who constantly migrate, those who seek, those who displace themselves; and there are others that remain, that stay or travel without moving from place. It is important to recognize that, although we are of those who decide to remain, migration has a place, sometimes hidden, sometimes at the edge of the skin, in each and every one of our histories, because movement is an intrinsic part of the human being.

Nowadays, massive movements of large distances and stories that hurt us are prioritized, but if we start to recognize that displacement is an essential part of our own history, we may stop looking at ourselves from distance and start seeing each other closely and with empathy; because after all we are all the ones who live together day by day, the ones who run into each other on the street, the ones who travel together on the public transport, the ones who transform cities, the ones who live in a world in constant movement.  Visit UNAM LA


“Mi historia, tu historia, nuestra historia” y “Con la casa a las espaldas: miradas migrantes” son una iniciativa que forma parte del Proyecto Caracol. Migración y patrimonio cultural y el Seminario Internacional Con la casa a cuestas, a donde los pies me lleven organizado por la Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla (España), Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (México) con la colaboración de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México-Los Ángeles (Estados Unidos).

En la vida, hay quienes migramos constantemente, quienes buscamos, quienes nos desplazamos; y hay  otros que permanecemos, que nos quedamos o  viajamos sin movernos de lugar. Es importante reconocer que, aunque seamos de los que decidimos permanecer, la migración tiene un lugar, a veces recóndito, a veces a flor de piel, en todas y cada una de nuestras historias, porque el movimiento es parte intrínseca del ser humano.

Hoy en día se priorizan los movimientos masivos,  a gran escala, de grandes distancias y de historias que nos duelen, pero si empezamos por reconocer que el desplazamiento es parte esencial de nuestra propia historia, es posible que dejemos de mirarnos con distancia y desde la diferencia empecemos a vernos de cerca y desde la empatía; porque finalmente somos todos quienes convivimos día a día, quienes nos cruzamos en la calle, quienes viajamos juntos en el transporte, quienes transformamos las ciudades, quienes habitamos un mundo en constante movimiento.  Visita UNAM Los Angeles

 

Nuestras Historias, National Museum of Mexican Art

Victoria Delgadillo’s painting of Laura Berenice (above), a disappeared young women of Ciudad Juarez (found in Lote Bravo irrigation ditch with 7 other murdered women, 2002) is in the inauguration exhibit of a new 1363 square foot gallery, Galeri­a Gilberto & Dolores Cardenas, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608. 

Nuestras Historias (Our Histories) highlights the Museum’s Permanent Collection to showcase the dynamic and diverse stories of Mexican identity in North America. The exhibition presents cultural identity as something that continually evolves across time, regions, and communities, rather than as a static, unchanging entity, and features ancient Mesoamerican and colonial artifacts, modern Mexican art, folk art, and contemporary works from both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. The vast diversity of Mexican identities demonstrated in these works defies the notion of one linear history and a singular identity. Curated by Cesareo Moreno.  Read more here


Home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, the National Museum of Mexican Art features more than 7,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present. Guests will be immersed in the rich culture and immaculate art pieces that span 3,000 years of creativity. Many of the museum’s pieces and exhibitions have traveled to other institutions around the world, showcasing the quality of the collections. The museum is always free and open to the public. Check their website for times and days.

Orange County Library Tour 2017

Memories of Migration: Telling our Stories & Connecting our Journeys

Dates:  July 3 – August 31, 2017 in Fullerton & September 15 – October 15, 2017 in Anaheim.
Curators:  David Lopez, Barbara Miller, Irma Morales, Brenda Ramirez, and Saidy Valdez
Location: Second Floor East Terrace
Description:  The project chronicles the migration stories of migrants in the Orange County area. While primarily focusing on Latino history in and around Orange County, the project has collected hundreds of migration stories from individuals from all walks of life to demonstrate that migration is a universal part of the human condition. The exhibit is a collection of various media from artists throughout the country exploring the theme of migration through their own interpretation.
Takes place at:  Paulina June & George Pollak Library, California State University, Fullerton, 800 North State College Blvd., Fullerton CA 92834-4150 &  The Anaheim Public Library (APL), 500 W. Broadway,  Anaheim, CA  92805.

Victoria will screen her film “Border 2007” in this exhibit

Friday, August 11, 2017, from 8:30am to 6pm: Cal State Fullerton – Pollak Library will held an all-day conference geared to librarians, historians, academics, students, artists and community members who would like to learn more about the migration stories of local and global people. The conference and art exhibit is open to the public.

Gregorio Escalante Gallery July 2017

Victoria Delgadillo’s print Bolsa de Mercado was on display during the month of July 2017 at the Gregorio Escalante Gallery (in the upstairs Salon), 978 Chung King Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90012. The gallery space had an impressive array of artists and exhibits!

NOTE:  Due to the passing of Greg Escalante on 9/8/17, The Gregorio Escalante Gallery was permanently closed in 2017.  Read more about the importance of Greg Escalante’s work.

Los Four Meet Los 40

Press

Runs April 1 – 11, 2017
Gregorio Escalante Gallery • La Bodega Gallery • Zack de la Rocha Gallery
In collaboration, is pleased to announce
“Los Four Meets Los 40”

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 1, 2017. From 5 – 10 PM
Location: La Bodega Gallery,  a few blocks from the historic Chicano Park in Logan Heights/San Diego

Los Four Meets Los 40 is a group exhibition of contemporary Chicano influenced artists who continue to pave their independent paths while also honoring a legacy spearheaded by Los Four.  In 1969, a group of Mexican-American artists – Frank Romero, Carlos Almaraz, Roberto de la Rocha and Gilbert “Magu” Lujan – became the art collective known as Los Four. They went on to participate in a ground-breaking LACMA exhibition in 1974. (Immediately after the LACMA exhibition, Judithe Hernández joined and made the collective a party of five.) The dedication of Los Four ushered in a new era for Mexican-American artists as they raised an intellectual vanguard and furthered the visibility of the Chicano community.

This exhibition aims to pay tribute to the original four while featuring forty additional artists working in a similar vein. We invite you to witness today’s dynamic, contemporary and stimulating art, inspired by the direction of Los Four. Today’s artists utilize the same vibrant and passionate color pallet to depict the old neighborhoods and faces of the community. The aerosol, which was utilized in the 1974 LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) exhibition, remains part of the Chicano aesthetic; yet, spray painting has matured in scope and breadth. New narratives are executed with (and without) the rattle of the spray can. Others continue to fill the many nuances of the Chicano identity with purpose. The story only grows, from national and cultural amalgamation to LGBT voices. Present-day Chicano artists advance a conversation with imagery analogous to the work of Los Four.

Cesar Chavez once said, “We need to help teachers and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens our community and our nation.” These artists will carry the torch into the future as we renew our commitment to our cultural legacy of richness and diversity. Please join us for this moment of celebration.

Exhibiting Artists include:
Los Four: Carlos Almaraz, Roberto de la Rocha, Gilbert “Magú” Luján, Frank Romero
Los 40: Abel Alejandre, Antonio Pelayo, Barbara Carrasco, Block, Bonnie Lambert, Brian M Viveros, Chaz Bojorquez, Checho Perez, CiCi Segura Gonzalez, CR Stecyk, Daniel Gonzalez, Eriberto Oriol, Eric Almanza, Gregg Stone, Gustavo Rimada, Jaime Guerrero, Jose Lozano, Leigh Salgado, Libre, Linda Arreola, Linda Vallejo, Man One, Margaret Garcia, Mario Ybarra Jr., Nacho Chincoya, Oscar Castillo, Pavel Acevedo, Rafael Cardenas, Richard Salcido, Robert Palacios, Roy Gonzalez, Ruben Esparza, Sandy Rodriguez, Saner, Shizu Saldomando, Sonia Romero, Surge, The Beast Brothers, Victoria Delgadillo and Yreina D. Cervantez

This exhibition was inspired by a conversation between Juxtapoz’ co-founder Greg Escalante and Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha and is curated by Joshua Ben Paskowitz & Abel Alejandre. The public is invited to join the artists and many VIP guests from the Mexican-American community on April 1, 2017 from 5-10 pm. Traditional music and refreshments will be served.
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Contact Information:
Chris Zertuche
La Bodega Gallery
http://www.labodegagallery.com
2196 Logan Ave. San Diego, CA

Panuelos Rosas

(Arriba) Foto de la V-Day Protesta en Ciudad Juarez, 2004, con el proyecto Panuelos Rosas de Rigo Maldonado y Shakina Nayfack. Los panuelos que totalizaron 370 representan las mujeres desaparecidas en Chihuahua, Mexico en 2004. Estas desaparecidas son relacionadas con mas de 10 anos de femicidios en el norte de Mexico con impunidad.

(Arriba) El video Arena y Sangre, 2004 fue filmada por Rigo Maldonado durante la semana de la protesta de V-Day en Ciudad Juarez. En el video, Shakina Nayfack realiza un baile Butoh en El Lote Bravo, Ciudad Juarez. Los panelos rosas, que fueron sostenidos por los marchanistas de la protesta, se convirtieron en parte de este performance acerca de espacio y cuerpo. La pista de sonido en la peli­cula son los marchantes gritando “Ni Una Mas.”

Al sur de Ciudad Juarez, cerca del Aeropuerto Internacional de Juarez, El Lote Bravo fue un cementerio con el  proposito especi­fico de botar las victimas de las guerras de drogas. Esta zanja de irrigacion es tambien el lugar donde los cadaveres de 8 mujeres asesinadas y mutiladas fueron descubiertas en 2001. Los asesinatos se conocieron como “los feminicidas del campo algodonero” de Ciudad Juarez.

Shakina J. Nayfack, Ph.D. Escribio en 2009: “. . . Butoh Ritual Mexicano remodela y reconstituye el sitio de su ensenanza y los cuerpos de sus estudiantes, estas transformaciones confrontan y complican la realidad del imperialismo y el capitalismo global a nivel corporal y social, a la misma ves, puede ser que esta forma de danza obtiene un modo alternativo de supervivencia y renovacion.”

(Arriba) Despues del V-Day, los panuelos rosas fueron utilizados como parte de varios talleres sobre los Femicidios en Juarez, dirigidos por Rigo Maldonado y Victoria Delgadillo. Materiales e imagenes de las mujeres de Juarez (recopiladas por Rigo y Victoria) fueron entregadas a los participantes de los talleres para crear arte de protesta. El arte es una manera fuerte para discutir y elaborar estrategias para problemas sociales que son dificiles.

En 2010 Victoria Delgadillo co-organizo  un mes de eventos internacionales de activismo arti­sticos sobre el tema de los feminicidios.  Los eventos tomaron lugar en Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Fort Worth, Quebec, Ciudad de Mexico, Nueva York, Sydney, Los Angeles y Albuquerque con la colaboradora de cineasta / poeta Pilar Rodríguez Aranda que estaba en DF y por la comunicacion exclusivamente a traves de Internet.

(Arriba) El proyecto de los panuelos rosas se movio al DF en 2010 con Pilar Rodriguez Aranda, quien organizo varios meses de eventos sobre los feminicidios en Mexico.  Logro que suficiente miembros de la comunidad local hicieran instalaciones de arte publicos como una forma de protesta y usando el modelo de Rigo Maldonado y Victoria Delgadillo.

Bordamos Por la Paz, despues de haber visto el proyecto de los panuelos rosas en Mexico, iniciaron un circulo de costura de protesta en lugares publicos en todo Mexico (ahora en expansion por todo el mundo). Los asistentes discuten la violencia en sus comunidades y hacen declaraciones bordadas sobre ella para crear una exhibicion esontaneos en parques y cafes.

4.

Digital Posters

Ayotzinapa to Ferguson, 2016

Lola La Trailera vs La Reina del Sur, 2016

La India Maria in Bollywood, 2016

Dame Dolores, 2016

Kung Fu Raza, 2016

La Prensa, 2016

V-Day Protest in Ciudad Juarez, 2004

 

 

 

 

 

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(Above) V-Day Protest in Ciudad Juarez, 2004. Photo of Pink Square project by Rigo Maldonado and Shakina Nayfack. The Squares which totaled 370 representing the women who had disappeared in Chihuahua, Mexico at that time, were related to over 10 years of femicides in southern Mexico with impunity.

(Above) Arena y Sangre, 2004 was filmed by Rigo Maldonado on the weekend of the V-Day protest.  In the film, Shakina Nayfack performs a Butoh Dance in El Lote Bravo, Ciudad Juarez. The pink squares held by V-Day protesters became part of this space/body healing performance. The soundtrack is of the V-Day protesters yelling “Ni Una Mas,” (Not One More).

Just south of Ciudad Juarez, near Juarez’ International Airport, El Lote Bravo, was an ad-hoc cemetery for victims in the area’s lethal drug wars. This desert irrigation ditch is also the place where the bodies of 8 murdered and mutilated women were discovered in 2001. The murders became known as “the cotton field murders” of Ciudad Juarez.

Shakina J. Nayfack, Ph.D. wrote in 2009: “. . . Butoh Ritual Mexicano reshapes and reconstitutes the site of its teaching and the bodies of its students, how these transformations confront and complicate the reality of US imperialism and global capitalism on a bodily and societal level, and what, if anything, can be gained from this dance form as an alternate mode of survival and renewal.”

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(Above) After V-Day the pink squares were used as part of various Juarez Femicide workshops led by Rigo Maldonado and Victoria Delgadillo in 2004 and after. Materials and images of the women of Juarez (collected by Rigo and Victoria) were provided to participants to create protest art. Art is an excellent way to discuss and strategize for difficult social issues.

In 2010, Victoria Delgadillo co-organized an international month of femicide art activism events in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Fort Worth, Quebec, Mexico City, New York, Sydney, Los Angeles, and Albuquerque with collaborator, filmmaker/poet Pilar Rodriguez Aranda in Mexico City and by solely communicating via the internet.

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(Above)  The pink square project moved to Mexico City in 2010 with Pilar Rodriguez Aranda, who organized several months of femicide art activism events in Mexico, encouraged many to create public art installations as a form of protest by using the model from the US.

(Below) Bordamos Por la Paz (We Embroider for Peace) having seen the pink square project in Mexico, began a protest sewing circle in public places throughout Mexico (now expanding all over the world). The attendees discuss violence in their communities and make embroidered statements about it to create a protest display.

Self Help Graphics: Aztlán, the Permanent Collection, and Beyond

shg-permanent-collection-and-beyond
Exhibition: August 28, 2016 –January 15, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 6, 2016, 6 p.m. –8 p.m.
Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG), a community art center based in East Los Angeles, has been an integral part of Chicano art production since its foundation in 1970. SHG played a critical role in the Chicano movement and the art of printmaking was a means to expand activism around civil rights and ethnic pride. The deployment of printmaking as a vehicle for grassroots organizing and political and social commentary was profoundly influenced by Mexican artists of the 1920s and 1930s, such as Jose Guadalupe Posada, Leopoldo Méndez, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, as well as art collectiveTaller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City. Drawing upon these influences, Franciscan nun Sister Karen Boccalero formed SHG, joining a wave of other Chicano printmakers in Chicago, San Francisco, and Sacramento. Sister Boccalero’s roots in activist art can be traced to her education at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles where she studied under Sister Corita Kent, influential printmaker and social justice advocate of the 1960s and 1970s. Sister Karen Boccalero, along with artists Carlos Bueno, Antonio Ibañez, FrankHernández, and others held their first exhibition in 1971.
Established in Boyle Heights, SHG was enormously successful in promoting Chicano artists and outreaching to young Latino artists throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and was a means to celebrate Chicano culture, to empower a political voice, and to generate art that was rooted in Mexican tradition and that bypassed the mainstream art world. The Chicano self-empowerment movement drove the vision of SHG. Artists created art, held their own exhibitions, and sold their work on their own terms.
SHG became a critical gathering place in the local community and was a site of art making, activism, and music. During the 1970s, SHG brought the traditions of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, to Los Angeles as means to reclaim indigenous identity and to engage the local community in the cultural practices of making papel picado and altars, and holding printmaking workshops for the community. In 1974, SHG also launched Barrio Mobile Art Studio, a vehicle equipped with art supplies that went directly into Latino communities “to develop the individual’s aesthetic appreciation, to provide an alternative mode of self-expression, and to increase the individual’s appreciation of Chicano culture.”
In 1982, SHG began its seminal Experimental Screen print Atelier, a workshop program that allowed artists to create high-quality limited edition prints using methods such as serigraphy, intaglio, and lithography. This new direction offered Chicano artists a foray into the mainstream art world and art market. During the 1990s, SHG sought a more outward-facing posture and began seeking to disseminate Chicano art to a wider audience. SHG organized the traveling exhibition, Chicano Expressions, and donated numerous artworks to archives and museums. In 1996, a year before her death, Sister Boccalero donated 42 prints to the Riverside Art Museum (RAM) to be held in our Permanent Collection.
SHG continues its legacy of bringing art to the community through its programs. Día de los Muertos remains a significant cultural celebration for SHG and in Los Angeles, and the Barrio Mobile Art Studio is still active today and was recently brought to Riverside’s Eastside by RAM and the Riverside Community Health Foundation. An exhibition of prints created with Eastside residents and the Barrio Mobile Art Studio is on view in the Taylor Family Gallery.
The atelier program is now the internationally acclaimed Professional Printmaking program that invites 10-20 printmakers as artists in residence each year to address a range of themes, including SHG’s traditional themes of culture, religion, politics, and Day of the Dead, as well as evolving themes of ecology, female empowerment, and gentrification.
Over time, SHG has broadened its approach to art making from strictly Mexican-American heritage to the broader pan-Latin-American community, as well as to other cultures and communities that have shared aesthetic political goals. SHG, in partnership with the Museum of Latin American Art and the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, organized an international artist ambassador exchange program with the Taller Experimental de Gráfica in Cuba. Earlier this year, SHG co-produced with Social Public Art Resource Center, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, and Art Division, a traveling exhibition called Ayotzinapa: A Roar of Silence of works by international printmakers from Mexico, Iran, Poland, Spain, Portugal, China, Greece, and other countries that call for justice for the 43 disappeared students in Guerrero, Mexico.
Self Help Graphics: Aztlán, the Permanent Collection, and Beyond includes selections from RAM’s Permanent Collection by some of the iconic artists and master printmakers from SHG that were created in the 1980s and 1990s, such as Victoria Delgadillo, Diane Gamboa, Gronk, Leo Limón, Roberto Gutiérrez, José Alpuche, Patssi Valdez, and more. On loan from SHG are works by Margaret “Quica” Alarcón, Poli Marichal, Dewey Tafoya, Miyo Stevens-Gandara, Dalila Paola Mendez, Yamylis Brito Jorge, Carlos del Toro, Dairén Fernández, Aliosky García, Octavio Irving Hernandez, Pavel Acevedo, and others.
Related Programming
*Pochoir and Oil Resist with Cynthia Huerta|
Saturday, September 10, 12 noon–3 p.m., Free with paid admission or membership.  Artist Cynthia Huerta will be leading visitors in a printmaking workshop that explores pochoir, a sophisticated stenciling technique. She will also be teaching oil resist to produce prints in this workshop/taller.
*Chine-collé with Pavel Acevedo
Thursday, September 15, 5 p.m.–7:30 p.m., Free with paid admission or membership. Artist Pavel Acevedo will lead this workshop/taller in chine-collé, a special technique in printmaking, in which the image is transferred to a surface that is bonded to a heavier support.
*Talk and Tour with Joel Garcia of Self Help Graphics
Saturday, September 24, 12 noon –1 p.m., Free with paid admission or membership. Join the Director of Programs & Operations at Self Help Graphics & Art Joel Garcia for a talk about the history, legacy, and ongoing efforts to create Latino art in East Los Angeles and beyond, and tour our Self Help Graphics: Aztlán, the Permanent Collection, and Beyond exhibit with Joel as he discusses the artists of Self Help Graphics’ past and present. Last minute addition: Victoria Delgadillo, Artist/Curator  of  2013 “Communication Threads & Entwined Recollections” Print Atelier LV will speak on the print process and vision of selected prints by Victoria Delgadillo, Patricia Valencia and Dalila Paola Mendez included in this Riverside Museum of Art exhibit.
*Self Help Graphics: Aztlán, the Permanent Collection, and Beyond
Opening Reception + Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration
Thursday, October 6, 6 p.m.–8 p.m., Free.  Please join us for the Opening Reception of
Self Help Graphics: Aztlán, the Permanent Collection, and Beyond during the October Artswalk. Come celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with SHG and local artists, as well as with the Riverside County Mexican American Historical Society’s “Roots of Our Family” pop-up exhibition and speaker Professor Raymond Buriel at 6:30 p.m. Professor Buriel will be speaking on Mexican Culture and the Citrus Industry in Riverside.
*Alebrijes with Cosme Cordova
Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16, 12 noon–3 p.m., Free with paid admission or membership. Join Cosme Cordova for this special two-day workshop and learn how to make alebrijes, brightly colored Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. Though these sculptures are traditionally made of wood, Cosme will be helping visitors create fun papier mâché alebrijes.

Chicano Dream

CHICANO DREAM at the Museum d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France

DATES: Friday, June 27, 2014 & Sunday, October 26, 2014

This is how it goes . . . much of the art exhibited here was part of the Cheech Marin art collection.  However, due to the space and presenting a more complete view of what a Chicano Dream is, art from the collection of Self Help Graphics & Art in East Los Angeles was added.

 

A card stock paper skull designed by Daniel Gonzalez and assembled/decorated in red duct tape by Victoria Delgadillo was part of this Chicano Dream exhibit (see image above).  Over the skulls mouth is “desaparecidas” –  for the disappeared woman of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. This red skull is from the collection of Self Help Graphics & Art.

Read more

 

Musee d’Aquitaine
20 Cours Pasteur
33000 Bordeaux
Tel: 05 56 01 51 00

This Machine Kills

11/14/16, Fine Arts Complex had protesters at This Machine Kills, post-election drama related .  On 11/13/16  the artists were told that this exhibit would come down, due to threats against the gallery.  Read the details here from the curator, April Lilliard-Gomez.

by Robbie Conal

On 12/2/16 Fine Art Complex 1101 announced via Facebook that “This Machine Kills ________” would remain on view through December 10 as planned.

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tmk-show-poster-2016November 1 to December 10, 2016, “This Machine Kills _____” curated by Ed Gomez, April Lillard-Gomez and Luis G. Hernandez. This Machine Kills_____ seeks to explore the relationship between art, music and politics during a volatile election cycle. Featuring artists from Arizona, California and Mexico, the exhibition utilizes the historically significant function of protest art as an opposition to technologically prolific forms of media. Most works will consist of propaganda style posters and prints, though there will be several types of media represented. Topics such as election fraud, terrorism, political corruption, economic insecurities, xenophobia and civil rights issues among many others will be explored in an artistic interpretation. The title of the show directly references American folk legend Woody Guthrie’s iconic guitar text “This Machine Kills Fascists,” itself a protest piece reflecting the musician’s political views. “This Machine Kills _____” takes place at the Fine Art Complex 1101, 1101 West University Dr. Unit #103, Tempe, Az 85281.

Here is my poster for “This Machine Kills . . . .” a critique on the media called “La Prensa.”

La Prensa, 2016

La Prensa by Victoria Delgadillo

Trump Bully Culprit by Robbie Conal.

Trump Bully Culprit by Robbie Conal.

Phoenix New Times (11/7/16) : “For more than a year now, the national conversation has been dominated by talk of presidential politics. Several artists have been inspired by candidates including Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump. Others have addressed hot topics on the political landscape, such as civil rights, immigration, and reproductive rights. Here’s a look back at more than 50 artworks we spotted on the metro Phoenix arts scene during the most recent election cycle — all with a political or social justice twist.”

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Read the Press:
English
Spanish
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ChIFF, Chicano International Film Festival 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016 Chicano International Film Festival (ChIFF) will take place at Plaza de la Raza, 3540 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA  90031.  The day long film festival begins at 10am and includes live music, an art exhibit in the boat house, food and drink, various panel discussions on historical and contemporary Chicano filmmaking and a red carpet ceremony.

On Sunday, September 11, 2016 ChIFF moves to the Arclight Hollywood Theater, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 for a special screening of  feature film, “The Other Barrio.” This special screening is followed by Q&A with the filmmakers, a ChIFF Awards presentation, live music and a VIP reception.

chiff

Two fictitious film posters created by Victoria Delgadillo for the exhibit are  “Kung Fu Raza,” a Mexploitation style theme on good vs evil.  “Dame Dolores,” a movie poster on the loves of Golden Age of Mexican Cinema star Dolores del Rio.

My 2nd piece in this exhibit "Kung Foo Raza"

"Dame Dolores" is my piece for this exhibit

Indigenous Women and Creative Traditions: Transforming Lives through Radical Practice

Indigenous Women and Creative Traditions: Transforming Lives through Radical Practice

“I’m very honored to be a part of such an inspiring and important exhibition of Indigenous ceremonial art at Queensland, Australia’s University. Programming will be on The Spiritual and Healing Aspects of Art, Ritual and Ceremony.  Many thanks to Prof. Yreina D Cervantez for recommending my work.” – Victoria Delgadillo.

 

This exhibition was curated by Alma Cervantes and Megan Darr and ran from June 21  to  July 7, 2016. Read More

From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson Protest Exhibition

From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson Protest Exhibition
May 1 through June 10, 2016

Self Help Graphics & Art in partnership with Social Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, and Art Division launch of a series of exhibitions and activities regarding the governmental systematic murder of youth of color in the United States and Mexico.

“I made a special digital poster  (above) for this important art activism exhibit.  The title is “A2F.” Please join in solidarity with the youth in America and Mexico who are being erased systematically from our world. “ –Victoria Delgadillo

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Self-Help Graphics & Art, Inc. is a community arts center in East Los Angeles, California, USA. Formed during the cultural renaissance that accompanied the Chicano Movement, Self Help, as it is sometimes called, was one of the primary centers that incubated the nascent Chicano art movement, and remains important in the Chicano art movement, as well as in the greater Los Angeles community, today.
Self-Help Graphics & Art, Inc.
1300 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Edges of Chaos: Promoting Madness & Dissent in the 90’s

chaos

PSSST Gallery in Boyle Heights opened with Edges of Chaos: Promoting Madness & Dissent in the 90’s – a series of events and two dance parties curated by the current resident artist Guadalupe Rosales & guest curator Adrian Rivas opening Friday June 3 and running until Friday June 9, 2016.

The events were:

CONVERSATION & VIDEO SCREENINGS
Friday June 3, 7-10pm
Artist-in-Residence Guadalupe Rosales and independent curator and PSSST Director Adrian Rivas host a video screening and conversation about artistic practice, (sub)culture, and politics. During her residency at Self Help Graphics, Rosales began an ongoing archival project called “Map Points.” At PSSST, she continues to work on this project developing an archive of photographs, objects and ephemera related the 90’s SoCal Latino party crew scene. Rosales will also open her studio to anyone who wants to learn about her current projects and residency.

BUST FREE: DANCE PARTY
Saturday June 4, 7-Midnight

DJ Sessions with DJ Dose Manuel Corral (Swing Kidz Crew), Carlos DJ Hi-C (The Valens / Head of Strictly Hardcore Ent.), Rob Free (Nice Dreams), DJ Boogieman (East LA / SGV), DJ Marvel from City Terrace and DJ Mixxo (SGV) spinning that Jungle House, Techno, and KROQ.

BEER BUST: DAYTIME DJ SESSIONS
Sunday June 5, Noon-5pm

Oskar De La Cruz (Owner of Luxe De Ville), Liz O, and Rob Free (Nice Dreams) spinning 90’s familia (LGBTQ).

SPOKEN TEXTS
Wednesday, June 8th, 7-9pm

Readings from 90’s diaries, Guadalupe talks with Leon Donjuan on the subject of 90’s Party Flyer Design. Presidential Campaign reading by Rosales and video by Raul Baltazar.

POR VIDA PRC (Public Resource Center): ART PRACTICE & POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Thursday, June 9th, 7-9pm
Sound Performance by Joe Galarza of Genetic Windsongs of Truth and Revolt, and rare 90’s videos by Raul Baltazar and Victoria Delgadillo (The Mexican Spitfires).

PSSST
1329 E 3rd Street, 

Los Angeles, CA 90033

 

Cinema Directo

Steppling Gallery 3
     My solo exhibit: “Cinema Directo” (February 12  to March 20, 2016)
took place at Steppling Art Gallery,  San Diego State University Imperial Valley Campus, 720 Heber Avenue, Calexico, CA  92231 (760) 768-5536.  It was curated by: Luis G.Hernandez.
     On Thursday, March 17, 2016, I traveled to Calexico for a student lecture, Title: “Separate Reality: A Journey through Chicana/o Art” in Room N-101 at noon and an Artist reception in the gallery from 5pm to 8pm.   Both events were well attended and I received some very engaging questions by the students (a majority being young women).
     On Friday, March 18, 2016 I was interviewed about Cinema Directo at Radio Formula 1150 in Mexicali, Baja California.  Each Friday afternoon in the 3pm to 4pm spot Rubén Gómez (twitter.com/ruhgr) features art in the Imperial Valley. I struggled through the 15 minute moment in Spanish–but it was fun!

Featured in the Exhibit were short art films and movie posters:

“LA Woman”, a selected entry for “Out of the Window,” the first and highly revered Transit TV Film Festival on the Los Angeles Metro.  Through the solitude of driving across Los Angeles, there can be a spirituality of visual offerings, some spontaneous and others purposeful.   Influenced by Film Director Jean-Luc Godard of the French New Wave movement (i.e., no script or storyboard, and letting the narrative evolve on set), I wanted to communicate the experience of a heavy car culture ride in Los Angeles.  In “LA Woman,” the film’s subjects, women on billboards, are invoked to tell their own interconnected story.

“Ms 40oz”, a documentation of a larger exhibition on the gentrification of businesses in downtown Los Angeles, was a performance that I scripted and directed.  Drawing from archetypes of gang violence in the media and feelings of agitation by the sudden media approval of singer Gwen Stefani dressed as a Chola, “Ms 40oz” was a self-determined humorous street intervention.   In the style of “ribbon-cutting,” which was comprised of mariachis and mural unveilings when my family opened a new business, “Ms. 40oz” celebrates the festivity of a street blessing for prosperity without forgetting those who came before.  Ms 40oz is portrayed by Jennifer Salinas, a former Miss Illinois and also a Miss America contestant.

 “báwrdər”, a joy ride in Tijuana to the beach with swept-away-by-a-wave music by Baja Californian Ceci Bastida. “báwrdər,” the phonetic pronunciation of the word border, features separated families, lovers and children sitting on both sides of the US/Mexico border sharing food, documents and letters through a chain-linked fence.  On the Tijuana side, there are restaurants with beachside panoramic views that are disturbed by the sudden lunge of a speeding immigration van pushing someone back for getting too close to US land. When this happens, diners in the restaurants jump up from their meals and everyone gasps. In Calexico I learned that the footage I filmed is no longer how that section of the border looks. 

“Bridge Love”, a film about The 6th Street Bridge Viaduct in East Los Angeles, a city monument that has appeared in numerous films, television shows, music videos and video games since 1932. “Bridge Love” was shot in Super 8 film and contains the elements of timelessness that I aspire to obtain in most of my work.  The sense of timelessness is achieved through a studied selection of clothing, props, sets, make-up, color choices, and though the refusal to use the latest popular film embellishments.   

“Santa Perversa in Cuba” was filmed on location in 2008.  This film is a poetry video of Los Angeles performance artist Reina Alejandra Ibarra as she is offering her message of ardent love.    A bootleg cd of Juan Formell y los Van Van that I purchased in a covert transaction on a Havana street flavors the video with an authenticity of the moment.  Shot during a time when Americans traveling to Cuba could be prosecuted severely by the US government, “Santa Perversa in Cuba” is an entertaining time stamp of a moment in history.

reception poster direct cinema

Cinema Directo will featured “what if” code switching movie posters that I created such as “What if La India Maria starred in a Bollywood film?”  These movie posters were inspired by my favorite film genres and themes, my artistic collaborators and by the following movie titles by Mexican Director Ícaro Cisneros:  Las Sobrinas del Diablo (1982), El Triángulo del Crimen (1983), Gente Violenta (1977), Las Cabareteras (1980),  Vividores de Mujeres (1981), Las Fabulosas del Reventón (1982), Disputas en la Calle (1979), La Golfa del Barrio (1981), and Esos Viejos Raboverdes (1982). 

“The Space,” Regeneración

An historical overview of Regeneración art space (1992ish -2000) was presented for the Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time at The San Diego Museum (May 2, 2015).  Attendees commented on the interesting history of this collective and their international work in social justice–how exciting it was to hear of events of such scale occurring in a seemingly quiet area of Los Angeles.

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“Caught Between a Whore and an Angel,” the first women’s exhibit at Regeneración was produced by Patricia Valencia, Aida Salazar, Elizabeth Delgadillo and myself (Victoria Delgadillo) in 1996. The idea to have a women’s show at Regeneración was Patricia Valencia’s — inspired by Subcomandande Ramona, Cecilia Rodriguez and the other Zapatista women in Chiapas coming to the forefront in leadership.

caught between a whore &

The show’s concept of “living art” as opposed to the usual paintings hung on the wall, complimented “In the Red,” and was that of Elizabeth Delgadillo.  Elizabeth also created the publicity image from a backdrop Patricia and I painted on cloth, using a photo projected image of a 1910 Zapatista soldada.  Aida was the brilliant show organizer/producer.  I established written and verbal communication updates with the participating artists, helped them problem solve administrative matters, as well as persuaded everyone to include men in the show. It was a tremendous amount of work to put this show together, using our only resource: a network of friends.

Artist girls go cbwa Collage

Later, Claudia Mercado and Felicia Montes, the founders of Mujeres de Maiz noted that “Caught Between a Whore and an Angel,” inspired the inception of Las Mujeres de Maiz. Its interesting to see how art can grow.

Regeneración had many participants and many stories of art, music, words and resistance.

See the entire “Caught Between a Whore and an Angel” program book with details on the artists that participated below:

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“The body of a woman is also a battleground . . .” -Cecilia Rodriquez, EZLN (1995)

A poetry stage designed by Victoria Delgadillo used to fundraise for the children of Chiapas.

A poetry fundraising stage designed by Victoria Delgadillo for Zapatista children of Chiapas.

 

 

 

Scotch Tape Cinema

One afternoon in July of 2015 I took a studio class at the Echo Park Film Center on experimental film making.  This is a very interesting technique on making looping films and looping sound tracks with no camera.

Basically, the film: is a transparent lead of 16mm film about 6 feet long with the beginning and the end taped together to create a loop.  The images are magazine clippings (soaked in warm water to detach the pulp, leaving transparent images). The transparent images are adhered to the film lead by sandwiching the clippings between a 1/2 inch wide piece of transparent scotch tape to the film.

The sound: is an old music cassette tape made into a loop by opening the case and cutting out a piece big enough to make one circulation through the “play” process and scotch taping the beginning to the end to create a loop.  The rest of the tape is taken out and the case is re-closed. Note that this can only be done on music cassette tapes that are sealed with tiny screws.

The above experimental film was created by Margie Schnibbe, Ariel Teal, Anna Ayeroff, and Victoria Delgadillo.  The Scotch Tape Cinema and Sound class was taught by Mike Stoltz. He also digitized and edited the final version.

My film is the last section with the sound track of “Depeche Mode” on a loop. Enjoy!

The above image is from Mike Stoltz’ Scotch Tape film.

Here’s another experimental film I made a EPFC (May 2016)–all on computer–“Vortex.”

Democratizing Food in Boyle Heights

From a paper written by Prof. Enrique C. Ochoa February 2014, Democratizing Food Policies: Community Activists and Reclaiming Mexicana/o Food Cultures and Health in Boyle Heights: 

“PUBLIC ART
The arts, public art in particular, have been important forms of resistance by marginalized communities and a way for (re)claiming space and cultural identity. Chicana/o artists have long been working to ‘flip the script’ on aspects of culture and community that have been subjects to disparagement and erasure by colonial culture.  Since the Zapatista uprising in 1994, maize has been a growing subject (and medium) in the eastside art community.

  • Much of this work has focused on cultural symbolism and the reclaiming of maize and tortillas as key symbols of Mexican and indigenous identity. for example, the artist Joe Bravo uses tortillas as the canvas of his paintings of a wide variety of Chicana/o cultural icons, thus literally centering tortillas.
  • There is also a growing body of work linking capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy and their impacts on traditional diets and cultures.  For example, many Chicana feminist artists such as members of the artist collective Mujeres de Maiz, are engaged in visual and performance art that examines, class, gender, and cultural resistance.  The exhibit ‘100 Years of [Mexican] Food and Revolution” curated by Victoria Delgadillo and Leslie  [Gutierrez] Saiz at Self Help Graphics in September and October 2010 captured the dynamics of food, culture, gender and revolution in Mexicana/o communities.”

100 Years of Food & Revolution postcard.  Concept: Victoria Delgadillo. Image: Leslie Gutierrez-Saiz

Read the entire paper by Prof. Enrique C. Ochoa here

Loteria La Victoria

In 2011 my friend, designer and fellow artist Leslie Gutierrez Saiz made a special birthday party game for me–Loteria!  It came complete with frijolitos and a pine box to hold the game in.  The box exterior was inscribed with  “La Victoria” on top of a blue star.  Such a sweet treat!  At the party Raul Paulino Baltazar helped me call out the cards and we both had fun inventing names for each of the images.

Below are the Loteria La Victoria game cards with images of my art on them.

Visit Leslie Gutierrez Saiz at her Etsy store here.  She has great merch for you or any special event you are planning.  Her store Ex-voto Design is also on Amazon.

 

 

 

Loteria La Victoria Card 2

 

Introspection

my casa 4 14 14 026

After having attempted every avenue available in the United States to find success, the racism that prevails appeared at the end of each path for my family, leaving them idealizing that a university education would be the key to gaining access to that promised life of equality and democracy.  Never having experienced the landscape of the institutions, they encouraged it as a goal for me.

Political awareness heightened for me at the university.  I sought to identify with who I was—instead of trying to hide my origins, as many educated Mexican-Americans had done through marriages with European descendants. I embraced the new culture identified from a Mexican experience in the United States, called Chicana.

Being Chicana begins for each woman from various life epiphanies, however the common bind is social alienation, either due to language, origin, color, sex, opportunities and finally through an awareness of a system of exclusivity that is unobtainable.  Having attended only public schools in an urban setting, I did not experience racism until I attended the university.  It was in the English Literature Department when my professor, treated and graded me as if my presence in his class was an affront to the English language.  The youth of my era and background had to possess a great inner strength to climb over obstacles in life.

I had been approached to participate in the white feminist movement of the late 1960s and 1970s–including the new women art movements in California, but I have always found the counter-masculine agenda ineffective to my ideal of one-humanity.  Ultimately feminism is about the freedom to act and think in various personal expressions: denying the male role in humankind or clinging to it, with the conclusive goal of being able to enjoy all the freedoms that others in society enjoy.  This is not to say that there is no value in knowing oneself deeply through like-minded groups, but it is only one aspect of defining oneself in the world.  How I arrived to my place in this society and how I would externalize my manifestation, is my own personal journey of discovery.

Once I graduated from the University of California, San Diego, I went on a quest for experience.  My cautiousness to proclaim that I was an artist was a result of wanting to find a higher purpose for creating, not just a means of livelihood, fame or elitism.  While the white Women’s Art movement stimulated civil right actions by challenging the art institutions in California and internationally, I sought others who knew my legacy of Mexican art, music, literature and their cultural institutions.

This is why I love LA!

I am a transplant to LA, but have lived here longer than I have lived anywhere else.  I suppose I am a native now. My story is that I am a love child of two native Angelenos.  I think the love of LA and the love of the unconventional, was somehow planted in my DNA.

I’m not kidding when I say that I can pass by the same place several times a week and see it differently each time.  Today I went through the 2nd Street Tunnel going east and it was such a magical experience, I had to take pictures.

See what I see:

SSPX00521

 

Two Trees

 

Stop ahead?

I went to Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades for a cranio sacral and polarity bodywork alignment appointment. Its a very rustic park in that nature is unbridled and bending to the environment.  I grew up in San Diego, California where the environment was manipulated and sculptured to adhere to the rule of a few.  Balboa Park is beautiful through, or was beautiful when I lived there.  I am not sure if things are the same.

Still, rustic and natural foliage is beautiful too, even if there is  draught, flood or infestation—its all part of nature rebuilding and reclaiming.  I took some pictures of dirt roads and over grown trees in Temescal Gateway Park.  Then,  I saw this sign that struck me as an interesting ecological juxtaposition.  A tree that was cut down to make a sign, nestled and embraced by a living tree.

Nestled

 

Photos

I recently got my Nikon digital camera fixed.  I am so happy, because (for over a year) I have had to use other cameras for taking pictures.  The camera repairman said I should never try any settings outlined in the Nikon manual.

Taken with my Samsung telephone

The Annual Holiday Hustle 2013 in Boyle Heights.   Above: taken with my Samsung telephone camera

 

 

My hand while I drive home.

My hand while I drive home 2014. Above: taken with my Samsung telephone camera using my right hand.

 

 

Chain link fence in Boyle Heights.

Chain link fence in Boyle Heights 2014. Above: taken with a borrowed and very basic Kodak.

 

 

Waiting for Vickie Vertiz in Aix Provence 2013

Waiting for Vickie Vertiz in Aix Provence 2013.  Above: taken with a Canon Elura digital video camera.

 

 

My companion Frankie, who is always sleeping.

My companion Frankie, who is always sleeping 2014.  Above: taken with my readjusted Nikon!

 

 

My living room, my work shop.

My living room, my work shop 2014.  Above: taken with my Nikon.

 

 

Why only one brand at Target?

Why only one brand at Target?  Above: taken with my Samsung telephone camera 2014.

 

Rehab/Downsize

Part of downsizing my work, expenses, possessions –entire life was finding a small home and rehabbing it.   My 850 square foot home in Boyle Heights got a paint job this month!  I have been working on my casita project since 2005, its been  slow, but transformative for the whole neighborhood.  Some exterior shots:

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Another Kind of Woman

En Mictlan_Delgadillo1

I had been approached to participate in the white feminists movement of the late 1960s and 1970s–including the new women art movements in California, but I have always found the counter-masculine agenda ineffective to my ideal of one-humanity. Ultimately feminism is about the freedom to act and think in various personal expressions: denying the male role in humankind or clinging to it, with the conclusive goal of being able to enjoy all the freedoms that others in society enjoy. This is not to say that there is no value in knowing oneself deeply through like-minded groups, but it is only one aspect of defining oneself in the world. How I arrived to my place in this society and how I would externalize my manifestation, is my own personal journey of discovery.

Being Chicana begins for each woman from various life epiphanies, however the common bind is social alienation, either due to language, origin, color, sex, opportunities and finally through an awareness of a system of exclusivity that is unobtainable. Having attended only public schools in an urban setting where the majority of students were black, I did not experience racism until I attended the university. It was my English Literature professor that used all his power to humiliate and diminish me.

 

báwrdər

bawrder-2

In 2007 I made a short film on the Tijuana side of the San Diego border. I called it báwrdər, the phonetic pronunciation of the word “border”. It was interesting to hear people struggle to pronounce the title whenever it was mentioned, as difficult as the concept of an imaginary line that one must not cross. In the film, I featured the people that go to the border to look at the other side through the fence and are intimidated by American immigration officers driving vans quickly up and down the beach, close to the fence.

Most striking are the families visiting between the fence along the beach, some just chatting, others having picnics. Separated families, lovers and children sit on two sides of the border, sharing food, documents and letters through the chain-link fence. It has the sense of being in a prison, such as those experienced by weekend prison visitors who chat by telephone or through a hole in a glass barricade.

On the Tijuana side, there are restaurants with beachside panoramic views, that are disturbed by the sudden lunge of a speeding immigration van pushing back someone on the border, who may have gotten too close to the American side. People in the restaurants jump up from their meals and everyone gasps. It is a very peculiar group experience.

2014!

Heart in Hand

 

2014 has already started off with a bang.  I have been extremely busy (as usual) with the woes of 2013 in a far distance.  Money is coming in for some major projects to be completed.

Strange how getting past worries and believing in a perfect universe–summons the resolution.  I am not lucky, I just have faith in the world and my journey.  Getting caught up in mundane life problems, can become a barrier towards tomorrow.  I see those stumbling blocks in others, as they cannot forgive, forget, release, move-on.

In the past few years and especially the last few months, I see that all matters have a logical resolution.  It does not matter what the problem is, with patient research, networking and dialogue–the answers are there–somewhere close.

Many artists fall by the wayside because they give up on themselves and their destiny.  They do not believe that it is their fate to create art.  There is a silly notion from books and movies that informs us as to what an artist life should be: being born with a “gift” to create art, going to art school, feeling tortured, getting discovered, making lots of money.

In truth, being an artist is not wanting to do any other thing, and not knowing what else to do.  You get lost in creating the work,  doing the research, not thinking of much more.

 

Glamour Shots

Glamour Shots, A transformative store front beauty shop and performance–where you are the star:

In 2005, Glamour Shots was part of a larger exhibit on gentrification. Gentrification is defined as the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents and artists.

The entire exhibition was called The Store Front Project, curated by Adrian Rivas at Gallery 727, located in downtown LA.  Adrian was inspired by the writings of Grant Kester, a Professor of Art History in the Visual Arts Department at UCSD. Each week Adrian’s store front gallery space would become a different business, mimicking the drastically changing downtown area of Los Angeles. The original concept of a Puerto Rican Pride photo studio business was that of photographer, Vanessa Sepulveda (aka Vanessa Shaushkin).  Multi-disciplinary artist Raul Baltazar added the self-scripted and impromptu political performance aspect to the store as the store front security guard, greeter, club barker and host.

Rigo Maldonado and I were agitated with the sudden American media approval of Gwen Stefani (lead singer of No Doubt) dressed like a Chola. A Chola is a Mexican/Chicano term used to refer to a teenage girl who is closely associated to a street gang and dresses in a unique (non-mainstream) style of make-up, hair, and clothing.

The Chola style has been common in California barrios, since the 1930s. In California, teens dressed in a Chola/o fashion who are walking on a public street are photographed by the police and placed in a gang member file, even if they are not in a gang. Public schools punish teens who dress in this fashion. To witness a media campaign on Chola attire being acceptable, because a white woman is wearing it, is offending to decades of Latino teens in California (and Mexico) who have been persecuted for this style.

As the two principal curators, Rigo Maldonado and I scripted the various scenarios that would transpire in this beauty make over photo studio called Glamour Shots. We wanted the gentrifiers to wear the Cholo style, because it was our way of “returning the gaze” [Anna Everett, Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film Criticism, 1909 -1949 – March 12, 2001.] Rigo created the above promo piece made for Glamour Shots.

Our attempts at engaging people passing by to agree to a free make-over failed, because they were uncomfortable wearing the gang style. Yet, people lingered with curiosity outside and across the street, to view the process through the store window. Fortunately, our community of artists loved playing the roles and getting their glamour shots, they also created some of the makeovers. Ms 40oz, Jennifer Salinas was an actual Miss Teen America contestant from Chicago, who performed a gang style blessing for all the fallen hommies (gang members), with a pseudo ribbon-cutting ceremony for the the Glamour Shots storefront. Victoria’s family owned businesses in San Diego where she grew up. The two elements that they always had was a mural unveiling and a grand opening—the latter with mariachis.  Victoria brought these ideas to Glamour Shots. See segment above “Ms 40 oz.”

Cruella GS

glamour shot young couple

After a Glamour Shot

Before Glamour Shots and after

[Note: “Aztec Gold vs Glamour Shots” a documentation here by Victor Payan and Pocha Pena recaps the scenarios and store front space as it was conceived by curators Rigo Maldonado and Victoria Delgadillo. The beautiful mural “Fallen Cholo” was created and painted by muralist/artist Midst for Glamour Shots. The mural made a perfect backdrop for our urban transformations.]

Whew!

I am still trying to catch my breathe from the past few months.  Back in my Los Angeles home base, I am looking forward to what 2014 will bring.  I am ambitiously thinking of some new art projects.  Funny when you see your artwork spread out in front of you, it begins to make complete sense.

Anyway, here is a film I made in 2006 for an exhibit on dessert fetishes and the excesses of being American. Performance artist Maria Elena Fernandez is captured on a provocative summer day.

Institut des Amériques’

Titel

These past weeks, I have been too busy to blog. Someone noted last night, that I am like everyone in LA “keeping extremely busy to feel that I am having a full-life.” Work, a flu and more work are my only excuses. Financial woes too and cramming everything into some time allotment.

I submitted an application for a grant, and tried to file more, but on the other applications I was either too late or too early. It seemed like destiny was saying, “move on to the next thing.” It is said that there is some easy flow, when things are meant to be. I am still trying to experience what that might feel like. My life is struggle, struggle and then some more of the same.

Latched onto someone’s else’s star, I have been invited to present my art work at a conference in France this December. Institut des Amériques’ “Women in the Americas” conference in partnership with, the Centre for Mexican and Central America Studies (CEMCA) in its 11th edition of organizing this conference—this year taking place in Marseille, France. The congress will analyze the continuities and changes in roles, identities and representations of women in the Americas. It will be held in English, French and Spanish and will lead to several international publications.

Publication(!) Yes, I am writing like crazy, trying to document what my art is about in 6000 words, English and Spanish. My mind wanders with all the ideas that I have and sometimes contradicting my panel: “Feminist Interventions: Art and Community Building in a Transnational Era.” Writing about what one does, when one likes to be behind the scenes is a mega challenge, coupled with getting the finances together to travel and find accommodations–a race that is neck and neck. Wish I had people, like other artists do.

It occurs to me that maybe I have “let go” as an artist, and it’s only in my mind that I think I am such a controller (even when behind the scenes). I am going to ponder that more. My mind is all over the place these days. Anyway this is the spot  look  for us in “Axe 8 Arts” —I am getting ready to make my European debut. Wish me luck!

Photograph: Richard Armas

 Through an introduction by a close UCSD friend,  I became part of the Richard Armas’ photography studio clique in San Diego (1973-ish).  Ricky (to everyone) was a very methodical photographer who had at one time been the booking clerk and composite photographer at the San Diego Police Department. Although never revealed formally, connecting the dots that his father (the Sheriff of Downey) had facilitated such an interesting civil servant job for his son, was obvious to his friends. The fact that Ricky was somewhat secretly gay at the Police Department, gave him an interesting insight to the cruelty police perpetrated towards the LGBTQ community. He related these work stories with a matter-of-fact attitude, a loud scripted HA HAAAAAA somewhere in between, followed by a head nod of pity.

Even though he did not look obviously gay or Mexican, he lived an open life with a nonchalant air of always being on the right side of the law.  Speaking middle class Downey, California English, Ricky related culturally as an American, however, he was drawn to all things Mexican, which could be noted in the make-up of most of his friends, his lover and his diet.

Upon making the big move to Los Angeles, because ‘its where the industry and opportunities are!,”  Ricky converted a large commercial space on Hudson and Santa Monica Boulevard into his living and work studio. I followed my pied piper friend to LA too. His space was the first loft style living situation I had seen in person.  He worked weeks on sanding the floors, creating separate living/work spaces, a kitchenette and a full bathroom out of an old storage warehouse with a freight elevator.  Now his old loft lies in small theater district, a colander for the Hollywood overflow. Here is where Ricky created his full time photo studio, along with many LGBTQ entrepreneurs –a sort of Castro Street in Los Angeles, that morphed into West Hollywood, then into WeHo (pun intended).

One thing that tied us as friends was our love of Rhythm and Blues (R&B) music.  Living in LA gives the unique opportunity of attending music showcases in bars, little theaters and public places where musicians are on a descend or ascend.  Totally star-struck, Ricky loved to pass his business card onto R&B musicians after a set, beckoning them to sit for a photo in his studio.  His love of this music and these artists reflected in the work he produced in those years.  Pulling out all his skills and associates to recreate a poorly represented climbing/falling idol for a few pennies, seemed to bring him so much joy.

His “for profit” work consisted mainly of studio fashion product shots, that used models, hair stylists and make-up artists.  From these years of close friendship with Richard, I learned the process of starting a professional photography studio, marketing, networking–which enhanced my knowledge of the other side of photography and film as a job. Eventually, I lost interest in commercial art and sought artistic camaraderie in East Los Angeles. I hungered for art work that had political substance, that spoke to my culture and was spiritual.  In retrospect, I know that I was also affected (at that time) by the overwhelming number of deaths from AIDS in my circle of friends and my inability to cope with such helplessness.   When I left the Richard Armas circle (early 1980s),  I never saw him again.

Ricky Armas’ selfie

Gilberto Torres from Tijuana lived with Ricky for  37 years as his life partner and business representative.  He made the move to Los Angeles and toiled along side with Ricky to make their business work. In the last 30 years together, Gilberto styled Julie Newmar, Carmen Electra, Madeline Stowe, Eric Estrada, Shannon Doherty, Matt Cedeño, Barbara Carrera, Laura Harring and Constance Marie for photographs and magazine covers that were used in Play Girl, Vogue (Mexico), Women’s Wear Daily, Passion Magazine and the Advocate.   Gilberto is to this day an HIV community activist in San Diego and Palm Springs.  Ricky (Richard) Armas died in April 24, 2009.  He was 58.

Textile Stories in Print

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Tradition by Rocky Ormsby-Olivares

I curated a print series, Communication Threads & Entwined Recollections, that will be unveiled on Sunday, June 30th at the studios of Self Help Graphics & Art an internationally prominent producer of fine-art, silk screen prints.

The series is based on a concept of creating personal stories about textiles from artists who use fiber in their own disciplines. It was at once an appealing idea to me as the curator and a challenging one for the artists to create the flavor of fiber art in 2 dimensions. Drawing from a grand textile history of basket weaving to catalytic cloth with built-in computer chips, the artists thoughtfully embraced the challenge of creating their own unique perspectives on a 22X30 inch print.

This print suite of 10 artists is comprised of 2 knit bombers, 2 filmmakers, 1 graphic designer, 1 performance artist, 1 costume designer, 1 fiber artist, 1 vintage cloth re-purpose artist and 1 mixed media installation artist. This  complete suite of prints will be added to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) print collection in 2013.

Hop on the Goldline metro, exit at the Pico-Aliso station (1 stop after Little Tokyo)—Self Help Graphics & Art is right in front of this stop. The open studio Print Fair is from 12pm to 5pm. View these prints, meet the artists, see other prints in this astounding studio, attend a panel discussion at 2pm on the series and learn about the print process through demonstrations.

Sub/Culture

Still from "LA Woman" 2011

Still from “LA Woman” 2011

Sub/Culture are video works exploring the heterogeneity of Los Angeles and the complex mix of personal, social, historical, and geographic variables that both divide and connect us. To be an Angelino is to be a part of one or more subcultures, which alternately blend and clash in compelling ways demonstrated by the communities and individuals depicted in these works.” – Freewaves

Freewaves is a library of art films, whose mission is also to promote youth filmmaking.  I was notified today that my film “LA Woman” will be screened on April  19 at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California, along with student work that was created for their theme of Sub/Culture.

I created “LA Woman” in 2011 as an homage to the billboards, signs and murals seen throughout the city which feature various ideals of what a Los Angeles woman is.  I had pondered for many months, how I would capture the  compelling images I saw while driving everyday.

Above in the photo still of my film, I captured a young woman walking by a mural of a brown girl in a brown beret. Obviously this image was  created to encourage brown-female pride.   In a saint-like exclamation, the muralist painted roses by the girl’s head.

I enjoy the fact that my art is paired with the works of new young filmmakers.  The thought that my ideas and artistic perspective is something young people can relate to, makes me feel successful as an artist.

 

 

 

Bad Girls Leave Home

 

Heartfelt & Homespun, 2004, Mixed Media

Heartfelt & Homespun, 2004, Mixed Media

There is an association called Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambios Sociales (Women who are Active in Academia and Social Change) established in 1982, at UC Davis, with the purpose of documenting the contributions of Chicanas and sharing it with other feminists. MALCS sponsors an institute on themes related to academic pursuits and world change. This year the conference takes place in July at The Ohio State University, with the theme this year of “Movements, Migrations, Pilgrimages and Belongings.”

Our panel discussion “Bad Girls Leave Home: Subverting the Good Girl Aesthetic in Prose, Performance and Art Activism” was selected as one of the presenters for the institute! Usually, I am really lame at writing proposals and getting them accepted. I cringe when I press send on these things. That is why I love the collective–there’s power in a group of heads. Even though my words were the opening for our proposal, it goes down better sent and edited by other hands.

The group consists of Maya Chinchilla, Reina Prado, Vickie Vertiz and me. For this panel presentation I am creating a Power Point. I have been attending the University of YouTube recently, getting some techniques and tips on making my presentation interesting.

Although I have presented many times on Art Activism, each version is different. I am still active and evolving in this genre. As a presenter one must be informative and brief. That is difficult, because once a devotee begins speaking about a personal passion, they become transfixed. My greatest fear is awaking from my talk and seeing that the audience is restless and bored.

Drive-by Artists

Candle, watercolor.

Candle, watercolor.

My art circle defines a Drive-by Artist as someone who invades a community or exposes a subject’s life for the sole purpose of creating art, then moves onto the next subject.

Such has been the case of some filmmakers or site-specific artists. These artists find an interesting topic, they translate the subject’s story into art, but never consider what impact the artistic retelling of highly personal stories will be for the subjects.

It is easy for an artist to move from project to project under the guise of helping to shine a spotlight on subjects that would not be brought to the forefront otherwise.

The hardship for the subject is that they do not have the resources to move onto another subject. Momentary fame in a gallery, magazine or theater does not resolve a social matter. Many times the subject has a naive illusion that a well presented artist has the ability to end their circumstance. In the end they may only receive a small recompense for their time with a Drive-by Artist.

True art activism is a continued connection with a cause by exposing it over and over in an artistic series, until the dilemma is resolved. Art activism is making a pledge to stay connected with subjects, to use all personal resources to help create change for the subjects and to make life-long friendships with the humans who inspire your art.

Inspiration

Still from "La Moda"

Still from “La Moda”

 

What inspires my art, are those around me.  If you look at enough of my work, you will start to realize that many of the models I use are people that I know, mostly friends.  I suppose all artists draw from their surroundings.

Especially, when I look at my body of film work, I realized that I am not creating a film, but more of a moving photograph of my subject.  I don’t try to write a script or make my stars do anything that is foreign to them. I pick my subjects, because I have noticed them doing a certain activity that I find intriguing and then try to capture that same action or gesture on film. My actors are not playing a role, they are being themselves–or a portion of themselves. They are playful, absurd, emotional or sexual—all the emotions that pepper my art.

I draw from the American film industry way of creating films, where ‘film star’ personalities are always the same character in any film in which they appear.  There are no surprises when you go see a favorite American film star.  You want to be transported by their  usual magnetic and truthful screen persona–which is always the same.  Great acting is more of an artistic expression–where the actor convinces you that they are someone else.  I believe that the ‘film star’ is a more truthful human portrayal than an actor.  No matter how excellent an actor is, they are still “acting”.

Still from "La Moda"

Still from “La Moda”

That is why I look to my  friends as a source of inspiration and translate that inspiration into art.  There are times when I laugh loudly and inappropriately, because I notice one of my friends in one of ‘their gesture’ modes and I am delighted. I am always conscious of the roles we all play in the stage of real life and often step outside of life-dramas as a viewer, while they are occurring.

I have been asked, “How did you accomplish that?” or  “How did you make that person do that?”  I explain that the person is being themselves or the “self” that I bring out in them.  I piece together a loose and changeable  story line, review it with my stars, create a supportive setting, leave the dialogue up to the stars or direct them to say something while I am filming.

I usually do all my own film shooting and sometimes edit while I am filming, because something occurs to me in the moment or  because some perfect change happened.  I use inexpensive film equipment to bring an element of ‘snap-shot’ culture to my work.  I think super slick color and lighting would throw me off or I’d try figuring out how to make it look less Hollywood.

LA Noir

In 2002 I was part of a Maestras (Female Print Master) Atelier called “Upraise of the Urban Goddess”, curated by Diane Gamboa. These series of women master-printers (founded in 1983) includes many illustrious artists, themes and prints. One day there will be an exhibit of these prints, maybe at LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), because they have suites of every print in this series in their archive.

For “Upraise of the Urban Goddess”, Diane gave us readings from Anais Nin, Diane Arbus, a photo essay from French Vogue called Santa Maria de los Chicanos by Peter Sellars , an essay on Great Goddesses (Chamunda, Kali, Coatlicue, Laussel, Wilendorf),  an article on an 80 year-old woman coping with mental illness in the Los Angeles County jail, the Autobiography of Bette Davis, Home Remedies from Mexico, excerpts from Carlos Fuentes book The Goddess who hunts alone and “A Novice Woman’s Quick Reference Guide to Erotically Dominating a Submissive Man” for our inspiration.

Full View

Full Print View

My print Knowingly Walking Through the Imaginary River Towards Divine Destiny, is about self guidance with help from ritual and intuition–as one travels in a world that is not always what it appears to be.

“Upraise of the Urban Goddess is an open ended concept that positions women in the limelight.  This project is an observance on misunderstood sex in a time of great change . ”  – Diane Gamboa, Curator

“Delgadillo discusses in her print an experience of female intuitiveness and a universality of spirituality, ultimately a meditation for healing.  The central image strikingly reveals the flesh-ness of the woman.  She is composed of colors that resemble the palettes of biological, anatomical drawings.  These colors also draw the eye over the entirety of the body, introducing the details of her face and neck, while slowly down the gaze at her torso and legs, as well as her arms which extend outwards in a gesture of embrace and balance. The candle and the Tarot card in the woman’s hands are gently wielded as offerings to the viewer, yet also to the city in the background. Delgadillo’s image is very much about the physical locale of the city.  As LA moor where the city figures prominently as a character in the narrative, Delgadillo introduces cityscape as an element of the goddess. Yet, over the other shoulder of the woman, we glimpse a row of five hearts on the horizon.  These hearts seem to address the notion of growth and hope for the city and inhabitants, much unlike a noir metropolis.  The hearts and the city are un-trusive to the central image, but are powerful enough details to complete the characteristics of the goddess image and remind the viewer of the urban situation of contemporary spirituality.

Crowned by the sun, or moon, the woman looms forward.  She is grounded in the element of water, energizing her with strength and the curative possibilities of woman and water. The green haze of the sky and pink clouds offer a dreamscape setting, but also call to mind the element of air and smog of LA skies.  The speckled mid-layer of the print creates energy and movement, perhaps of the city and perhaps also of the figure herself.  It is this energy and movement that the feminine force in Delgadillo’s print calls forth.  Speaking to the universality, both of body and of time, the woman’s image conjures notions of the ever present-ness of the female as a source of wisdom and intuition.

The river becomes a figure central to our intuitions and our experiences of the metropolis.  The Los Angeles River is legendary for trickling through the concrete basins along the freeways and through neighborhoods.  Yet, it remains a central figure of imaginings because it is our aqua vitae.  Although it currents diminish to threads, they are threads of history, and threads reminding us of the naturalness of life that continues.  Moreover, the woman walks through this river as a necessary aspect of her being and presence, she has perhaps become the currents of the river, a river that continues through her.” – Martina Melendez, Documentarian

Rebelde!

Mixed Media

Mixed Media

 

My first act of rebellion, according to my parents was my insistence that my clothes and shoes match.  I was 4 years old and they were perplexed by my meltdown caused by not being dressed in the fashion I liked. From the closet they pulled out dresses, shoes, socks, sweaters, skirts as I yelled an angry tearful “NO!” or calmer happier “ok” –when the  right item was found.  They smiled and he said, “Who taught her about matching?”–she answered, “I don’t know.”

I think my first act of rebellion, was in 2nd grade.  Over the summer I befriended a wispy,  pale Spanish girl named Louise.  She was the youngest child of oldish parents and the first American born in her family.  Laughing seemed to make her whole body ache. On the first day of school the kids teased her for carrying a boy’s themed cowboy lunch box.  Her short cropped curly red hair, frailness and paper skin made her stand out enough as it was.  Quietly she retreated inward, obviously affected by the meanness. The injustice of her becoming a social outcast, because of her parent’s cluelessness, upset me.

After school, my family went shopping as was our custom.  There, I saw the exact same lunch box.  Since I needed a new one, I chose the cowboys on horses in brown-orange and blue tones too.  At the check-out line there was no judgement on my choice.  The next day when Louise and I walked  to school and ate lunch together (with our identical, twin, cowboy lunch boxes)  the other kids looked at us quizzically saying nothing.  We happily ate our sandwiches in the patio and drank our juice from the  thermoses with a guns-drawn theme. Being a rebel felt pretty good.

 

 

 

When Art Makes You Go Mad

IMG_0919-1_zps88c6caf9

A few days ago I was reading a blog on how to approach Los Angeles, from a writer that no longer lives here. The writer warned about not looking at Los Angeles like a ‘real’ city, because it is many cities in one; to be open to ‘exploring’; and not to be put-off by the populace constantly networking. He wrote many stereotypes, mostly on his experiences in Hollywood and West Los Angeles–including that one must never to go to downtown LA, its a total wasteland. The blog was followed by one annoying chorus of comments after another–personal stories of evil, pretentious, shallow, over crowded, uncultured, cliquish Los Angeles. There were a few polite notes too, letting the writer know about their small successes in LA, including that downtown had been renovated–fyi.

I thought I would write something clever to squash this love-to-hate fest, but decided to mull it around in my head instead. These sort of blogs and poison penned articles about LA can be found everywhere on-line, some are even horribly racist. I pondered what the real underlying problem was.

Months ago an artist I know went mad, tearing up his artwork, shouting from his studio that he was a failure. He had been in LA for about a year. Obviously, his stay didn’t pan out the way he planned it. After, his family came from Georgia to collect him. This was not my first experience with the thin line between art, madness, alcoholism and drug addiction. I have heard of it happening many times since I have lived in LA. I almost had a breakdown once myself, because I could not comply with all the art demands during an intense moment in my life. Thank goodness for supportive friends who have seen it all and give the sincerest advice.

Many of us in Los Angeles are transplants. We come for the opportunities. I moved to Los Angeles with three friends: an actor, a hair dresser and a musician. Each of us with an artistic purpose and reason to make the big move.  After a few years they each moved back to San Diego, because LA was “too difficult,” “a town without pity,” “overwhelming,” and “too competitive.” Being in my 20s, I was perplexed by their responses to LA, because I found every part of this city exciting, nicely paced, interesting, accessible and stimulating.

I admit that I did not arrive as a big frog from a little pond—coming here to prove that I could capture this city too. I came to learn, to join collectives, to work hard, to be awed and to network with the best of them–and that’s what I’ve done.

Its not about the public transportation, the fake people, not having everything you need within a mile radius, unrequited love, the expensiveness, the shit jobs, not being recognized as amazing, not being rich enough or dressing right—all those imagined reasons Los Angeles fails in many outsider’s eyes.

Its about some Hollywood fairy tale mental expectations, that wind up being unfulfillable. When you go someplace and presume that it should be just like ‘home’ and complain when it is not—who’s to blame for that? That’s what is defined as the arrogant Ugly American syndrome.

Those who belittle Los Angeles usually do not even know this city well enough to have seen or discovered all its richnesses. We true Angelenos love those official written dismissals of this city. Like a venomous spray of Black Flag, it keeps people away and shows the writer/s waving their white flag as they retreat back to their little town/s. Thanks–it means more for us! There is no need to hurt yourself or someone else by going mad, we actually feel bad when that happens. We unwind and meditate during the bumper to bumper ride home each day and feel extremely blessed to enjoy the cruise in LA.

Silenced

I created this watercolor painting in 1998. I painted it after my bout with a fibroid tumor that made me menstruate 3 out of 4 weeks each month for a few years. I realize this is a very personal topic and one that is not meant for social conversation. However, in art everything goes, whether you purposefully want it to be revealed or if it appears in your work on a subconscious level.

Once one experiences this tumor and goes through the process–which can be a grave matter or (in my case) a routine operation in our times of modern western science–many friends come forward revealing that they also had one. For most women this tumor represents the inability to procreate. Such was the case when I was recuperating in my hospital bed. Nurses and staff members came to give me condolences and to testify about “their operation,” emphasizing that it should not be considered the end of womanhood. Oddly, my artist friends thought as I did, that it was a relief and a somewhat liberating shortcut to the usual body changes.

Before getting the operation, I tried to deal with it holistically through Chinese medicine. For more than a year, I received acupuncture treatments and would feel better, but the tumor was too pronounced.

In spite of not being a great believer in drugs and extreme medical treatments, I do have faith in a combination of nutritional therapy, ancient medicines and modern science. In our lifetime of urban stress, pollution, bioengineered foods and chemical fallouts, healthy alternatives must be actively sought out.

I created this painting with the help of my acupuncturist Arno Yap. Although a professional can see that the needles are placed artistically rather than accurately, it is a blissful painting of a natural balance of the physical body. This painting has been in storage since 1998, because although to me it is a depiction of triumph, it has been rejected by others. I think because it may represent something else to the viewer, something that was not my intent and that I have no control over. I am use to being silenced, finding out (upon arriving to a reception) that, “there just wasn’t enough room” for my art in an exhibit. I am very familiar with the euphemism.

 

 

1938, I Feel You.

“You go to my head,
And you linger like a haunting refrain
And I find you spinning round in my brain
Like the bubbles in a glass of champagne.

You go to my head
Like a sip of sparkling burgundy brew
And I find the very mention of you
Like the kicker in a julep or two.

The thrill of the thought
That you might give a thought
To my plea casts a spell over me
Still I say to myself: get a hold of yourself
Can’t you see that it can never be?

You go to my head
With smile that makes my temperature rise
Like a summer with a thousand Julys
You intoxicate my soul with your eyes
Tho I’m certain that this heart of mine
Hasn’t a ghost of a chance in this crazy romance,
You go to my head.”
J. Fred Coots & Haven Gillespie, 1938

Take-out Poetry

When the laundromat becomes a stage

There is a series of spontaneous poetry readings happening on the northeast side of LA.  Last night I went to my second installment at a laundromat–it was called Dirty Laundry.  The first reading I went to (this summer) was at a taco shop with The Taco Shop Poets coming in from their various places in California to read and have tacos.  None of the poets last night washed dirty laundry.

Both times I attended, I knew I was going to hear poetry, both times I was surprised by the venue.  In fact, each time I could not figure out the address as I circled the block various times, because I was looking for an art space, not a mom-and-pop business.  After seeing so much art, good and bad, surprises are a treat.

These take-out poetry readings are a gift of Kathy Gallegos, Director of Avenue 50 Gallery and Studios in Highland Park.  Her smile and genteelness welcomes you when she hands you a bookmark printed with the evening’s poetry selections on it.  Great keepsake.

Impromptu poetry reading at the laundromat

As a curator, I am always concerned with the affect of art on an audience.  At the laundromat, like the taco shop, patrons are there to take care of mundane duties, take a break, relax.  As one of the poets said last night, the laundromat is a sacred space, an escape from matters happening at home and a place to think quietly with the impartial hum of machines in the background. I wonder if these poetry invasions cut into the harmony of the environment or if they shake it to a higher level?

Seeing the children scurry under the poets from one side of the room to the other, the loud music score of the Pac-man game start up in a back corner, tipsy men chatting loudly about some bronca, the attendant assisting customers, the poets not skipping a beat–somehow it all worked together.

I looked away from the poets to my right and noticed two elementary school siblings sitting on the bench next to me, quietly listening to words above their age levels.  I smiled remembering my first desvelada when I accompanied my dad to Corona, California to give our elderly tia a surprise mañanitas serenade on her milestone birthday.  I remembered her joy beyond smiles when she came to open her front door in pajamas. Growing up I loved hearing my father play his guitar and my mother sing, it was the home training I received that made me an artist.  I think now, that I would have loved to have heard poetry too, even if I did not understand or expect it.

On Hero Worship

Self Portrait of John Valadez

Last night was artist Raul Baltazar’s 40th birthday house party. His circle of friends range from 20 to 60, each in the various stages of eastside art celebrity. Painters, musicians, collectors, curators, performance artists, filmmakers and strays straggled in throughout the night.

Weird that our paths should not have crossed until last night, but sitting on the porch in the dark, surrounded by eager younger artists, sat artist John Valadez. Only knowing him by his artwork and in some instances being tortured by close male friends with it, because they know I would not approve of his studies on scantily/scandalously dressed girls next to hulk-like Cholos–I now have a face to match the work. It took 2 of my 40 questions to him to ascertain who he was. He did not say his name in a condescending “don’t you know who I am?” manner, as lesser artists have snapped at me before. He was “John” in one sentence and because I walked into a chat on murals, my second question was “Are you a muralist?” he said  “Yes, Valadez”.

I have become jaded and sarcastic by life, when I have seen young people hero-worshipping artists, I have advised, “The artwork is different than the artist. Sometimes, its best to stay in love with the art and not get to know the artist too much. They are just people.” Having seen many artists in various states of being annoyingly human, I have lost the ability to place someone in the clouds above the rest. It is a self-preservation mechanism, for sure, I do not want to get let-down yet again.

I see now that I should heed my advice, that the artist is not always like the work, because it is definitely the case with John Valadez. He is an interesting conversationalist–has an amazing history and knowledge of LA, music and art, but not like some of those crusty artists you meet who are stuck “back in the days”—ho-hum so boring to me. Valadez is genuine and current, charming and understated. He knows what is going on with the younger artists, is involved with their projects, and most important he listens and really participates in a sharing dialogue. He even asks questions, because he wants to know about you. He is generous with his advise and gives compliments to other artists. Do I sound like I’m crushing? John Valadez is so unique in the art world of hundreds of self-important blow-hards, I have to pause and make a notation of it here.

I was in an artist-in-residency program under Judy Chicago in 2004. I was anxious to have her look at my work, because she was someone I admired and felt only she was qualified to critique me. She was actually very nice to me and gave me very high praise, which I will always cherish—but her treatment of others made me recoil.

It is a magnanimous soul and non-artificial human who can be considered a true mentor. This is John Valadez. I always think if you live long enough, you will lose faith and be restored over an over–this is growth.

 

The Sound of Performance Music

Click here and listen:
HareKrishPies
Jeninche and the Jaguars

Drummer du jour [heart], Maria Azteca [crown], Jeninche [green circle], James Brownie [star]

Drummer du jour [heart], Maria Azteca [crown], Jeninche [green circle], James Brownie [star]

It may seem like a weird thing to say, but those that know me will agree when I state here that I have good taste. Mainly it is limited to artistic matters. I have these strong epiphanies about an art concept, a curation, or music–whose familiarity immediately drives me to do extensive research on the internet. My personal understated art business mode is based on a lifetime of being looked at as a gold mine. When a new acquaintance gives me “that look”, I turn down my ability to spew out ideas and am glad that early on in life I learned to say no. I always felt that limiting myself to just one project or idea would keep me from growing as an artist.

In 2006, artist Rigo Maldonado and I curated a two person exhibit at Voz Alta Performance Space in San Diego. We wanted it to be something fun. He also wanted to exhibit some recent photos he had taken on sploshing. Sploshing is a sexual fetish where the participants smash food on their genitals, or collapse naked into food to reach sexual heights. In the case of Rigo’s photos it was dessert sploshing, so we agreed to exhibit art that related to dessert fetishes and called it Aunt Rita Wants Pie. The title was based on a road trip Rigo took with two women with self-indulgent appetites and their semi-comatose aunt who allegedly needed to stop at every road house for pie, “because she was very hungry”.

In addition to our art pieces on the walls, Rigo said he would perform a PG version (speedo and goggles) of sposhing at the exhibit opening. The storefront space lent itself to a live performance in the display windows, and also had a small stage near the back of the room. As Rigo practiced his sploshing at home, it occurred to me that we should have live music. But what kind of music would support our dessert fetish theme? After slight thought, I knew I was ready for something new. That’s another thing, I get bored quickly. I thought, the music would not have to be from a band with superb musicianship–in fact, the rawer, the better– but the band would have to be genuine and committed to the theme.

My friends Jennifer Araujo, Dewey Tafoya and Becky Cortez are fellow vegetarian foodies, artistic dilettantes, community activists and punk music lovers. Based on friendship, mutual interests, culinary concerns, and a hunch, I presented the exhibit concept to them and pronounced that they would be the band performing at the opening. I called them the HareKrishPies.

They took to the invitation like cocoa powder to hot water. While Dewey and Becky industrially composed original music, Jennifer wrote lyrics for the songs about the angst and preoccupation of weight and the love of food. She would be the designated front person in the band. One song, It’s Cheaper to be Fat, was a declaration of acceptance of the delicious American regime of fat-filled, fast-food diets. Another song about the 99¢ Store, praised their inexpensive offerings of cookies, candies and cakes. Each song had a charming introductory story prefacing it, as Jennifer shyly explained her work process.

Usually very soft spoken, sweet natured and chill, Jennifer’s lyric/poetry writing skills impressed on me that she had always been a secret song writer and charming emcee. Dewey (James Brownie of the HareKrishPies), and his GF, Becky from Texas are  experienced with music.   They rocked the backline, and were the techies and roadies all rolled into one. Becky and Dewey laid down some interesting music and so quickly. At each performance they have conscientiously created an elevator-ride rework of their sound. It requires a special talent to write and arrange music, I attribute that to their love of the craft and the crafters.

A few months after Aunt Rita Wants Pie opened, the group performed at a Mexica New Year festival in East Los Angeles. Armed with the same music and an additional song called The Vulture, they reinvented themselves as Jeniche and the Jaguars.

Outdoors on Chung King Road

In September (2012) with a new drum machine, the group was invited to perform at an exhibit called Narcolandia in Chinatown (Los Angeles). Much more performance-band focused, this time they renamed themselves Conjunto L@s Nac@s  (pronounced nah-kohs–or in this all gender inclusive version nah-ko-ahs ), a Mexican slang word to describe the bad-mannered and poorly educated people of supposedly lower social classes. It is equivalent to those who say ‘white trash’ in American English and culture. Narcolandia had a drug trafficking art theme. Dewey was now James Brown of  Conjunto L@s Nac@s

Bandstand on Chung King Road in front of gallery.

At Narcolandia, the group maintained the same song tunes, but with new lyrics related to the current drug trafficking wars. In Crackhead Stole My Purse, Jennifer’s pen is still humorous when she writes about being a victim of petty theft, because drug addiction has its needs. Teresa Mendoza, is based on a Mexican Telenovela drama that depicts the rise of Teresa Mendoza, a young woman from Mexico who becomes the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain. In the song, Conjunto L@s Nac@s beg Teresa to drop the high life of drug carteling and think of all the suffering she is causing in the world.

Fans!

 

Above are two songs from the group in 2006. Recorded in a very utilitarian, un-sophisticated way, Becky tucked them into one of her famous CD compilation of her favorite tunes and gave it to me as a gift. The group is 1000 miles away from their beginning, but the original concept of performing at an art show as a three dimensional live performance is bam there. Unless you know the trio, you may not recognize their sound stylings and definitely, you will not recognize them from their newest adopted band name.

Chung King Road

To get in touch with Becky, Dewey & Jennifer email them at djtafoya@gmail.com

Art Process

September 25, 2012

Here’s how my print process begins.  Step 1 - take a picture of what I want to draw.

Bolsa de Mercado

Step 2,  I translate the photo into black & white (using a basic photo editing on computer)—cropping the view to make it interesting.  My friend Leslie Gutierrez took these pictures  below for me.  She did it with a Nikon, indoors, overhead lighting, no flash.  Its hard to shoot plastic (as seen in the color version above)–it can have too much shine and blur the details.

Option 1

In Option 1,  there is a hint of bag. In Option 2, you can see the complete bag.

Option 2

Now I can see the vertical and horizontal lines better in the grey-tone version, and can plot out the separations on acetate sheets. I am doing the color separations old school, hand painting the acetates with ink. These days there is a temptation to create separations all on computer. Sure it’s faster, but then the finished print becomes too mechanical, too slick  and looses the artist’s personal touch.

I am thinking of color.  Not sure if I will use the original bag colors of red, white and green. I like blues and oranges more.  We’ll see. Choices, choices and problem solving–that is art.

November 15. Leslie is so clever, I did not have to take another photo, this is actually the red bag version.  Les suggested that I photoshop it to change the color and voila I got this look.  Love it!  So above is the color scheme I am going for in my print and the final cropping too.  I think you can tell what it is, but it is not so obviously figurative–like when you see the whole bag.  I’m going to start my separations next week.

November 17. Met with the Master Printer and talked MORE about color.  I know color only excites a few of us.  Its an art thing.  He gave me a sheet of Rubylith to cut out for my background.  The background orange will be the first pass of color. He suggested that the colors should be printed in this order:  yellow, blue and then the magenta all in transparent inks so that when two colors merge, they will create a third color.  I love transparent paint!

Below I adhere the registration targets to the my transparency sheets.

November 20.  Thanksgiving slowed down my process.  The studio was closed for 4 days!  Right before they closed for the holiday, the studio manager said my blown-up poster model was too pixelated.  He said it would be hard to see the lines well enough on the light table to transfer the design onto the separations.  Sigh. It took me forever to get the bad poster versions done too.  Staples could not get them right.  It took them a whole day to print it close enough to the size I needed.  A waste of $10 and 4 bad posters.  Urgh.

November 27. After a nice Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends—I got back to my image.  I was frustrated about it from Saturday to this morning (3 days!)   I am not sure if this works for everyone, but when I sleep on matters the very next day I have figured out a plan.  I woke up at 4:30am this morning and logically figured out what I needed to do.  I am sure it was something I did, not Staples.  After searching for the right terminology, I knew how to ask for what I needed help with.  I watched some YouTube videos on the subject and got some good tutoring.  I needed to raise the resolution, lock it in and resize the image to what poster dimensions I wanted.  Que pendeja!  So simple.  Actually I do not work on graphics that much, I don’t know what buttons to push. Visual tutorials are my best friends.  Finally I got my print model sized into a 30 X 22 poster and printed it at Office Depot.  Cost $14.  Tax deduction for sure.  To make it fit into the correct porportions, I had to change the image a bit from Option 1.  Ah ha–but now that task is done and I am REALLY ready to hit the light table and create my hand made transparencies. Exciting!

This is my final design model for my print.

December 5.  I have put in at least 6 hours on hand inking my separation for magenta and I am not even done (see what I mean in my image below).  Everything that will have magenta in it for my print (including orange and purple) require ink blocking.  Below, my photocopied image has a sheet of acetate over it and I am blocking out the magenta areas with my rapidograph pen.  I use a small color image for reference, as I count the lines over and over to be sure I am blocking the right areas.  I’ve been going into the studio at 6 in the morning, because I am fresher at that time.  I rock the jazz station alone and get into an inking meditation.  I guess I could have made it as a comic book artist.

Me, hand inking

December 14. My artist in residency begins!  I have been working on my separations non-stop for over a week now.  I had 3 separations completed–but there are always issues to resolve.  Thinking in print is difficult.  When you are inking the separation, what you ink will be the color, not the clear spaces.  Darn!  My first separation was wrong!  I did it backwards.  I had to scramble to get it ready on my first day.  We lost a day of printing–sigh.  The good thing was that we gained a separation for the color blue, which I had not done yet.  Seems the blocked separation was what I needed for the blue color with a few tweaks–whew. Glad nothing is wasted.

The master printer burnt the screen with a system very much like photo developing.  Since it is done in the dark, I could not take a picture.  A green photo sensitive liquid is coated on the silk screen, the ink separation is place below the screen on a transparent glass table.  From beneath a photographer’s light is lit for a designated amount of time.  Thereby the separation is transferred onto the screen.

Power washing the burnt screen

Power washing the burnt screen

Above the screen is then power washed to remove the areas that were ink blocked. Exposed are the areas where the ink will be pushed through on the paper with a squeegee.  The white areas on the screen are open, the green areas are blocked.  Note that the image is upside down.  This run will be the first color–a peach shade for the background.

Below, the master printer is blocking any areas that may have been exposed in the wash, to make sure there are no pin holes.

Blocking any pin holes

Blocking any pin holes

Then onto the printing. . . . .

Dec 15 Inking the screen

Dec 15 Inking the screen

Dec 15 First print

Dec 15 First print

Dec 15 Pulling out first print

Dec 15 Pulling out first print

Dec 15 First color "peach"

Dec 15 First color “peach”

Dec 15 Seventy more to go

Dec 15 Seventy more to go

Dec 18 (after the weekend) the 2nd color is "blue"

Dec 18 (after the weekend) The 2nd color is “blue”

Dec 19 Third color is "yellow"

Dec 19 Third color is “yellow”

Dec 20 The 4th color is added "magenta"

Dec 20 The 4th color is added “magenta”

Dec 21 Last color is "black", but it is too muddy. Bag looks dirty and dull. Yuk!

Dec 21 Last color is “black”, but it is too muddy. Bag looks dirty and dull. Yuk!

Dark blue final color.  Love it!

Dec 22 Dark blue is REALLY the final color. Love it!

December 22.  Voila! My print is done and just like I wanted. It was loads of work, but so worth it.  Could I improve it?  Of course, each subject is an opportunity to learn and each time you translate your image, it is changed and made better.  After the prints are created, the separations and bad prints are destroyed by the studio.  Yes!  It keeps dumpster divers and thieves from recreating and selling the prints. This is true.

My print is a tribute to the working class people that use these recycling bags for everything from grocery shopping to laundry washing.  When my friend Becky Cortez saw it –she said “This image reminds me of you!”    Perfect.  These types of bags are reoccurring themes in my art and even though it is a common still life, it is an over looked powerful icon of our times.

 

Anarchist Book Fair 2012

The 4th Annual Los Angeles Anarchist Book Festival took place this year at Barnsdall Park (September 8, 2012). For the last 3 years I wanted to attend, but there had been an element of disorganization in the form of no advance publicity or firm location, even poor communication flow which impeded someone like me (an advance planner) from attending. After all, LA is a weekly buffet of important events.

I don’t know the anarchist credo, but ambitious scheduling and event planning do not seem to be a part of it–it is more an organic social-mutualism when a gathering occurs. There does not seem to be a drive for amassing or controlling ‘things’, instead there is simple living, healthy eating, love of books, knowledge sharing and a great deal of do-it-yourself-ism.

In 1927, Aline Barnsdall donated Barnsdall Park and her Frank Lloyd Wright designed home (The Hollyhock House), to the City of Los Angeles. The intention was to maintain an active and long-lasting arts center for the community. It was a beautiful setting for the Anarchist Book Fair, which spilled out of its Metropolitan Gallery doors into the park with tables of information, books, zines, food, educational selections, unique political history and autobiographical books, health related appeals, social justice causes, musicians, slogan patches and buttons, handmade jewelry and art. Everything extremely affordable, if not free.

According to the day’s schedule handed to me upon arriving, there was an early morning community set-up of the space, indigenous dancers, lunch, and a preview performance of “The Ballad of Ricardo Flores Magon: the unearthing of radical LA history”. There was a children’s play area in the park, as well as art and craft projects.

Shopping does not interest me. I passed up all the book tables, went straight to the vegan tamale line and to get a big drink of cold water. I think that’s when I lost my friend. Its been very hot in Los Angeles for a few weeks now. We are so spoiled with the weather, that any day not being 78 degrees, seems intolerable. After eating I entered the air conditioned gallery and took a stroll around the ample space. I imagined when this was Aline Barnsdall’s home and it amused me to think that no anarchist would ever want to live in such grandeur. The building has had such an interesting history. I also wondered if the McCarthyists had ever met there to plot against Hollywood. This sort of dichotomy is very intriguing to me.

Looking at the schedule of speakers and presentations, I spotted that the rooms in the gallery had been baptized into names like Emma Goldman Room, Ricardo Flores Magon Room, Buenaventura Durruti Room, Enrico Malatesta Room, Lucy Parsons Room, Voltairine de Cleyre Room and the Makhail Bakunin Room. These rooms hosted such topics as “Class War California-style: Riots, Occupations and General Strikes,” “Imperiled Life: Revolution Against Climate Catastrophe,” “Building Autonomous Resistance through Mutual Aid,” “Political Prisoners in North America,” “The Chilean Student Movement,” “Building Power Movements,” “Police Infiltration, Surveillance and Spying,” “Gender Strike,” “Bike Blenders,” “Palestine Solidarity,” “Anaheim Uprising & Cop Watch,” “Igniting the Revolution within a Sex-Positive Approach to Healing,” “Anarchist Parenting,” “Liberation Healing,” “ Now and Then, the Challenges in Anarchism,” and other impromptu topics not listed.

I spied my lost friend in the gallery, where he dwelled the rest of the afternoon in the cool sanctuary. Later, he even took a turn behind one of the book tables, chatting up the books and making sales. I liked the informality.

After being taunted on Facebook with a barrage of announcements about an exhibit called “Look at These Fucking Artists,” I went from word/concept insulted to realizing that this was the art portion of the Anarchist Book Fair. The title took me aback, and in truth I had to warm up to it. I suppose all new art hits one like a slap on the face, or at least it does to me–as it should be.

There was no physical art on the walls at the Anarchist Book Fair, “Look at These Fucking Artists,” were a series of engaging art discussions. I missed the art talks on “Art Labor,” “Mural Moratorium,” and “Text & Action”. As I was standing in the gallery, a young woman came up to me and asked me to join the next art talk on “Beyond LA Xican@isms,” on the balcony. Hmm–a modern version of “Chicano” with a gender inclusive spelling–I’m there! Each discussion of 12 to 15 people started with everyone introducing themselves and the moderator asking a question to the panel about art and anarchism.

In Xican@isms, Fabian Debora, a visual artist who specializes in gang intervention activism and works at Otis College of Art & Design sensitizing students to political correctness in their art work, said that the art world was more political and complicated than being in a gang. That really stuck with me as well as made me smile.

While others attended art discussions on “Institution of Social Practice” and “Propaganda”, I attended “LA Zapatismo”. Presenter Dr. Roberto Flores, had organized a group of community members in the late 90s for a trip to Chiapas called “Encuentro” (Encounter). The Encuentro was a sharing of ideas with the members of EZLN and LA artists. In the end,  art work was created and based on the concepts learned and shared at the Encuentro. After, Dr. Flores established a non-profit meeting/community space in El Sereno and focused the rest of his discussion on LA Zapatismo as it relates to the challenges of being a viable voice in the El Sereno community without being thought of as ‘problematic‘ to the local politicians, by integrating into the community through majority issue support and by being an “under the radar’ physical barrier to community changes/divisions being planned by outsiders.

Next I missed “Pussy Riot” and “Militant Knowledge” to attend “ Narcos”. Jen Hofer, demonstrated a portable radio studio she and her colleague use to provide translation services at community meetings where there are Spanish and English monolingual attendees. Her group has provided this service throughout Mexico and especially on the US and Mexico borders, because they feel communication is crucial to these national communities. Artist Raul Baltazar was there to speak of his work with the art movement in the United States that is creating criticism on Narcotraficantes. The Anarchist Book Fair being so organic, soon Raul passed the presentation to me and I became part of this panel too. I spoke of my work starting with the art campaign in support the disappeared women of Juarez 11 years ago. Something I (and Raul) had discussed was the Youtube films that cartel’s upload, in which they are torturing and killing innocents and other drug cartel members with numbing graphic violence. At the same time one must note that these films are an artistic process, with their editing, sound selection and graphic titles choices. Raul continues to question if he should be sensitive to the victims by censoring his art, or if he should be brutally honest in his cartel art, even if it (yet again) wounds the victims.

At the end of the day, I attended “MMOOCCAA”, a critique on Eli Broad’s personal hands-on recreation of the art scene in Los Angeles. By appointing key museum personnel who work against the mission of a Museum–i.e. to educate the community about art, he has declared war on the LA art community. Broad and his operatives want to reinvent the museum system into a money making enterprise by curating rave-like art events and featuring east coast artists. This money/power-fueled philanthropy has been interpreted as a hostile belittling of art created in California and the west coast. There were gallery people from LACE and the Hammer Museum in this talk. Interesting that the subject of government supported art should be desired by some of the attendees in this group, as a salvation from well meaning philanthropists. The idea of government control of art as a resolution is contrary to anarchism. Just goes to show that all opinions were valid at the Book Fair.

Next year’s Anarchist Book Fair promises to be even better. The only thing I would change is to make sure to bring my own sack lunch. It was a long, engaging day coupled with humid weather on that balcony—-it would have been good to have a little extra fuel for sustenance.

The Zen of Curating

 

Curating an art exhibit is exciting and some days, stressful.  Merging many artists into one anything is a feat.  You’ve heard of the difficult tortured artist? Well think of 50 to 100 artists, each one with their personal needs, schedules, personalities.  Sometimes the best artists have the biggest diva moments.  Yes, even some of your most beloved, down-to-earth, hommie, street artists, have their ego-melt-downs.

Meanwhile, as the curator, I need to maintain a calm poker face which evokes “Everything is fine.  I know what I am doing.  We are perfectly on schedule. Don’t worry, I got this”, to everyone involved. The curator must stay calm.  I’ve even remained calm when featured artists have shown up half-hour before an opening with wet paintings or hours late  for their presentations.  Stressed gallery staff/owners have said to me, “Call your boy. Where is the artist? What should we do/say to the guests? There’s no art on the walls!” By then, there is nothing that can be done but reorganize the schedule, calm the guests and gallery people with optimistic chatter and more calmness.  The later it gets before the artist arrives, the harder the gallery people look at me, like I am a poor judge of artists.

At a certain point, all my meditation and Zen training informs me that once an idea has been articulated—it has its own life in the universe. It is no longer mine. Like any life-form, one can only tend and facilitate an idea as best one can—and without any known formula, rhyme or reason, an idea (exhibit) is going to be what it is going to be.  Of course, one could try and dictate what every little detail will be and when it is not how one imagined, have a nervous break-down—but in Zen, you let go of control. Learning to let go, has amazing rewards and most times matters turn out better than you had thought.  Note that there is a difference between nurture and control.

A few months ago, I attended a lecture curated by Bill Kelly, Jr. who is the 2012-13 Curator in Residence at 18th Street Art Complex in Santa Monica.   I was so lucky to have a moment alone with him before the lecture room filled up.  I asked him if he ever felt like the referee between exhibit spaces and the artists.  He quickly said, “No”, adding that I probably encourage that familiarity with both entities.

This has made me think carefully about my authority rating as a curator.  In the end, I am okay with relinquishing some of my direction-rights in anything I do for the chance of learning new ways and being surprised by them.

Take Note

I suppose everyone has to have a deficit disorder of some sort. Mine is making lists.  I have little books, notepads, sketchbooks, pieces of paper, pieces of box cartons, business cards, postcards and receipts with telephone numbers, recipes, books titles, music artists, song titles, drawings, ideas, measurements, film script stories, name lists, emails, websites, grant leads, wish lists, shopping lists, to-do lists, written descriptions of various things, street intersections of places that I want to stop and check out someday, color arrangements, dyi project notes, restaurants addresses,  words & philosophies I want to look up, math summations & formulas, Spanish words I don’t know, paint chips, quotes I like, driving directions and printed clippings.

I keep these little books where they are easy to find and write in: 2 in my car console, 1 on my dining/work station, 2 in my desk drawer, 1 to 2 in my purse  and the completely filled up ones, on a book shelf.

Funny thing is that I don’t look at them that much.  I’ve processed this way my whole life, making some of the little books pretty old.  Its as if once I put something down on paper, it is inscribed in my mind.

I take pride in being very organized in most of my daily tasks and spaces–very logical on how I began every project–but the little books have no rhyme or reason.  Each page has no relation to the next, each entry is in no particular order and the only way to find anything, would be to open each one and flip/read through each page. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I will have time to read these again.

I get miffed with myself when I see artists’ sketch books that are dedicated to just art drawings and thumbnail images of a greater art piece to come.   I suppose in a way, my little books are the sketch books of my art.  Perhaps, these notations from all these little daily influences, electromagnetic ideas and sequence of  matters that pass in front of me and my eyes represent my art.

“striking appearance”

Yesterday when I saw him, he tells me that he has planned out my whole weekend and starts telling me all the things that he wants me to attend—he never says ‘with him’ though—and that un-gentlemanly behavior irritates me. My wall goes up. I feel myself getting annoyed. My mouth says, “Ok”,  but my mind says “This is it! Finito.”  You can have your way with my time, my finances (because there are split entrance fees) and my life this once—but ONLY this time. Later, still irritated—I tell him that I am going to get him a book on etiquette. Just now typing this makes me laugh—because I know its weird. How many times have I said that to men in my life? Copy-paste.  This time, he just smiled and agreed that he is ‘rough’. I tell him about a last suitor who proclaimed to have an S&M fetish—pierced nipples and all.  How he grabbed me by the neck once when he was walking behind me–firm, masculine, but not to the point of hurt. I remember it felt HOT. Damn, what am I doing? Just now writing that, I wonder if I am looking for a caveman that can fold a napkin.

Sketchbook Tour

I’m part of a nation-wide sketch book tour traveling across the US from April – November 2012.  It is being organized by Art House Co-op and will wind up living at the Brooklyn Art Library.  Those visiting Brooklyn, New York can visit the thousands of little sketch books being archived there now, books by artists from all over the world.  It is interesting to be a part of such a huge collection and collective of artists with different skills and interests.

The stop in Los Angeles took place on May 25 & May 26. 2012  at an art gallery in Echo Park called iam8bit .  I didn’t know what to expect, all my communications with the Sketchbook Project people had been on line. I was delighted to enter a foyer at iam8bit of interestingly framed sketchbook drawings that led into a larger room where an impromptu library was erected. Exciting.

After getting an on-the-spot library card at the first computer station, you were asked to go to the next group of computers to request books.  Your order was received on yet another computer (behind the crowd control ropes)  by the library staff.  In a few minutes the staff librarians called out your name and handed you the maximum amount of books you could check-out–2. Books were organized in sections, my section was “In 10 Minutes”. I did not see my sketch book, but got a text each time guests in all the tour cities checked-out my book.

People stood around or sat and enjoyed looking a the sketchbooks that are 4X6 inches comprised of 50 pages each.  I am not an avid sketcher and found the months from August to December of 2011, laborious and frustrating wrapped in self discovery.   The Sketchbook Tour exhibit was  very different from any art event I have participated in.  I liked it!

The Brooklyn Book Library got a cool write-up during the 2012 Sketchbook Tour in The New York Times!  click here

Here are some of the sketches from my sketchbook:

Mixed medium

Blue ink pen

Ink embellished print

Pen & ink

Pen & ink

Peel Here Snapshot

(Above) Peel Here 5, a photo from The Dirt Floor Magazine of Victoria Delgadillo’s sticker.

The Dirt Floor was a leading contemporary and underground arts and culture magazine dedicated to surfacing the best of street, underground art, and pop culture in its many forms.  Now its a side note here   Sticky Rick curated the Peel Here Adhesive Art exhibit and created Victoria’s sticker from the silk screen print below.

“Vickie always loves a party where the talking is good ’cause the voices get
under her skin just like the funk in the music that makes her body move and
her hands follow in a sweet sway in front of her, hands that find their way
across a canvas sometimes or destiny’s cards, so they’d tell her where she’s
at, though she’s never been no place too long, drifting through age and
mind, growing a buddhist’s bud in a shui’ed out potted garden just to see
where it takes her, maybe to a psychic surgeon somewhere in san diego or a
third eye convention in space”

..from “snapshots” a series of shorts of my friends by A. Salazar

Asi Es El Mundo . . . .

Eye Speak Tapestry Piece at LAX

Eye Speak Tapestry Piece at LAX

A few weeks after September 11. 2001, I took part in a Los Angeles project called Eye-Speak curated by Joseph Beckles & Jane Castillo.  I was given a 3 X 5 foot area to paint within a 2 week period.  There were 2 tapestries that were 150 feet each, with 115 artists painting side by side.

Bewildered by the events of those few days, many of us created artwork that related to the feelings of loss, confusion and impeding war. The  painting I did was of a woman, like myself feeling very vulnerable, yet holding her heart together during a crisis.

On January 23, 2004 the tapestry was unveiled in a plexiglass display case lining a ramp for arriving passengers out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The second 150-foot scroll was displayed near the terminal’s baggage claim area.  Passengers and some city employees who were offended by the images in my piece demanded that the city remove both scrolls.  The airport officials turned the lights off in the display case to keep it from being seen.

Under pressure from airport officials, the curators agreed to take down the work.  After receiving inquiries from The Los Angeles Times, airport officials reversed their order to remove the tapestry and decided it could remain through its originally scheduled date. Officials turned on the lights in the display case.

Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations (published in 2006)  a collection of essays addressing the relationship between museums and globalization, note that the attempted censorship of my painting at LAX was part of the George W. Bush political climate in 2004  which affected many exhibitions and artists.  Today LAX has two screening barriers artists must pass to be exhibited in their community spaces.