A couple of things that may have slipped past…

3 Jul

El Mundo, Linocut, 2006

I’ve been really busy lately.  Working full-time plus as an educator and administrator both at the Museum of Latin American Art as well as the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, wrapping up my MFA (the second draft of my thesis is due at the end of the week) and generally trying to balance life, relationships, etc. while still having a bit of fun.

I am attempting to catch up on everything and am doing a decent job about it, but a couple of things may have slipped that you’d be interested in:

I had a review of my MFA show (or rather the work in my MFA show) in the District Weekly of Long Beach. Kevin Ferguson, a friend of mine and a journalist, wrote the article.  It was a very kind article, and allowed me to really read new things into my work that I had not necessarily acknowledged before.  You can read it by clicking here.  The title is “Telling Stories.”  Quite apt.

The second thing that I almost forgot about, was the fact that I was honored with a Beverly G. Alpay Award for Working Visual Artists this year.  This is very exciting, as I am in dire need of a few things (such as flat files, paper, ink, etc.) and this cash award will alleviate the pain establishing a new little studio can inflict upon an emerging artist.  I receive this on July 25th at the Palos Verdes Art Center.

Speaking of emerging as an artist, I was lucky enough to make another sale over the weekend at the Catalyst Summer Art Annual in downtown Los Angeles.  Heidi Spring, a painter and member of the collective made this connection for me, by showing my artwork to curator Liz Brizzi.  I was thus invited to participate at the last minute and actually almost didn’t do it!  Thanks to a conversation with Suzanne Justice, another painter who I happened to run into at Costco while taking my passport photos, I decided to just go ahead with it.  

The results were the sale of a copy of “El Mundo,” which is based on an actual photograph of me and my sister dressed in our “ballet” leotards, a favorite costume of ours when we were kids.  We are pointing at a globe in which only Los Angeles exists.  The freeways, river, ocean, our church and apartment are shown.  Holding the globe is the calavera of Mrs. Bowden, our downstairs neighbor from Highland Park.  She gave us the globe in order for us to expand our knowledge of the world and to see what lay beyond our little neighborhood.  It did put a curiosity in us to explore the world, and gave my mom the itch to travel.  Thus began our adventures in a small apartment in front of the 110.  

It is a piece that is dear to me, and I am happy to let it go.

Lastly, I have found time to read again and am making my way through Across the Line, a catalogue of the complete works of Jacob Lawrence.  Lawrence, an African American artist that came of age during the height of the WPA projects in Harlem, is my absolute favorite artist.  He tells stories and depicts everyday situations in the lives of black folks in the US in the 20’s and 30’s.  Whether relating the plight of black working women in New York, or telling the story of lynching in the south, his work is not only sincere but also technically sound and aesthetically pleasing.  A true Modernist, his compositions appear to be simple yet are extraordinarily well thought-out, his shapes are bold and engaging with a complex tension between the background and the foreground.  Most importantly (to me), his work relates a narrative of supreme importance:  the history of African Americans in the United States in a beautiful way.  It would be my true dream to become as relevant and prolific an artist as Jacob Lawrence.  

The Whitney has a great and informative site on him: www.whitney.org/jacoblawrence.

That is pretty much what is going on right now.  Things are moving, as usual.  And moving in the right direction.


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