That Grant Street Mural is coming to life! We finished 3 of 20 5x5 panels working from right to left and top to bottom. This allowed us to jump in with big areas of paint to get our feet wet. We've left the white borders that I can take care of in studio along with the map lines and some gradients that I'll add in glazes. We'll continue alternating Saturdays and Sundays into January, take a break and assess, and get back to it. Here is the sign up form if you're interested in painting with us! Note: We do require all participants practice safe Covid-19 procedures including vaccination if possible and mandatory masking.
I'm excited to share the final render for the CMCL Grant Street Mural project!
After sifting through all of the feedback from the late summer community engagements, I found a few common threads that I wanted to uplift in the final drawing. Folks were really interested in the parrot and wanted to see it bigger. We talked about the parrot's significance to the CMCL congregation as well as the connections it has to many communities often not represented in public artworks. Parrots are found in South and Central Americas as well as Africa and the Carribbean geographically. They're loud and colorful and hard to miss. I felt that it was important to have a colorful representation that is at once specific to CMCL and broadly recognizable/unifying. I also included a vintage map of the block. The map is a 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance map that lists the names of companies that once populated the Concord and Grant intersection. Visible just below the halo on the right side you can see "Conn & Slote" printing company. Just one of the iterations of the building. Below the map is a simplified rendering of an aerial shot of the intersection taken during our last community engagement! Pictured are folks walking their dogs, riding bikes, twirling, and scootering about! The reference image shows the original image and the render in the drawing below is my interpretation. I chose to eliminate some power lines and poles to clean up the image and focus more on the people in the space. On the left side is a simplified render of a pawpaw tree! Pawpaws are a fascinate native fruit that remind me of Quenepas from Puerto Rico. Many folks find them to be similar to bananas and mangos. They're like a taste of home for many and yet they're native to this region. I included them as a nod to the land we're on and the persistence/resilience of indigenous heritage. Some folks shared that the feathers swirling felt like the parrot was molting but they liked the movement. In the final render I used the paw paw leaves as a way to capture the upward movement of the parrot. The segments of the pawpaw have images of a period printing press, community members riding bikes and playing in the lot, Susquehannock pottery, and more! I wanted the viewer to be rewarded for getting close to the image. Lastly, the overall aesthetic I chose to work with is inspired by stained glass. I like the way it simplifies shapes and allows space for broad areas of color. I hope this final render resonates with the community! I'll be announcing paint days throughout the late fall and winter at CMCL and additional details as we solidify plans with cold weather and the holidays coming up.
I'm rounding up comments from the last two community engagements and Art Office Hours! Tonight we will look at two sketches I created based on all of the feed back. Here is a summary of the feedback (starred comments reflect multiple comments in the mind maps, conversations, and worksheets):
I am excited to announce that I will begin working with Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster and Grant Street neighbors on a brand new mural! The mural will be located here once the building renovations complete:
Our plan is to meet with community members and the CMCL congregation to discuss potential themes, ideas, and designs that would inform the final design of the mural. When I do community based projects, I like to have at least five sessions of input and exchange to get to the know the community, find points of convergence or shared values amongst stakeholders. This Saturday will kick-off our first round of community engagements with an Ice Cream Social! On Saturday the 24th from 6:30-8pm we will meet in the parking lot with ice cream, frozen treats, coloring pages, a mind map and visioning activity as an ice breaker and kick-off to this exciting project! I will continue to update on progress and insights here as we go.
Hi friends! Starting this up again :)
I will share some of the things I'm creating. I am leaning into the things I've loved all my life and have tabled to be busy with work and life. I'm taking solace in the stretching of time and have been reading to escape and to weigh down differently my thoughts. Here are the books I've read since we've been sheltering in place. What are you reading?:
Above is an image of a some new work/experimentation. I've been really interested in playing with wax again. I had a load of the fleshy colored wax I made a while back at a residency and have been thinking a lot about layers and what embedding matter into them means. This is what I wrote after making this:
Serving:flesh tones in wax, hair, vela wrappers de saint jude, lace que compré en el dollar store, more hair, more fleshy wax from old velas, prints of Puerto Rico and a vejigante.......
Then I made this one (below) to set some intentions during the most recent eclipse. I'm still learning a bunch about what all this means and really trying to reconnect with something inside me that craves spiritual/somatic healing. You can read more about what I mean by this on my Latinx Lancaster posts.
This one has layers of flowers my fiance (oh yeah I got engaged!) bought me on one of our first dates, the number 5 because it's my favourite number and I've learned some stuff about what that means, flowers from a Latinx event that I loved, butterflies because transformation, and the words who and enough because I like that I've become more comfortable with the idea that who I am as an artist and human is always changing and I can always work on knowing that I am enough and the work I make- even during dry spells- is enough. I'm learning to embrace the idea that even music needs rests to make a melody.
This isn't art related but I wanted to share these thoughts percolating since Wednesday in my brain space. Maybe it will help another artist/maker:
Recently I took a yoga class with one of my favourite instructors and good friend Hawa (https://www.facebook.com/events/1905063089795740/) She teaches in a yin yoga style that is slow paced and holds poses longer than many popular versions of mainstream yoga. This particular practice was designed for helpers and healers and gave so much space to allowing us to use supports when and if we needed it. Hawa did a great job at weaving a beautiful metaphor for us around literal supports in yoga practice and the supports we need to recognize we have or need when we're out in the world. It takes a lot of unlearning and practice for me as a Latina with not a lot of capital to ask for support. It is especially hard when I know that Latinas, like many non-white women, have to work many times harder to earn a living, be respected, and generally live a comfortable life. It's also especially hard coming from a family that is large and being one of the eldest. I've grown and thrived in waters that taught me these things: that the hustle is the only way-take as many jobs as you need to get to the next phase, you're siblings are watching you so be on point, don't ever drop the ball because you may never get it back, show up...to everything, because if not you, who?. All of this is valid in some ways and comes from a broader context of white supremacy, the tension around generational assimilation, and loads more. It's not any one persons fault for passing those things on. And I'm not the only one to grow in these waters. I'm at a place now where I know I need to set boundaries around these things and reframe them so that I can do the work I feel is necessary and use the tools I have acquired to do that work. I have also learned that it's time for me to listen more to my body. To know that while I can push my body with ferocity and I am capable of doing so much, that doesn't mean I need to or should.
So does this mean that I'm going to stop? Hell no. While I'm reconnecting with my body, I also know that I have tried to "slow down" in the past and it doesn't feel good. I don't believe there's a binary here for me or anyone. And I don't believe that everyone needs to move slow. I believe it's depends on the individual. And maybe that belief will change. I'm open to it. I think I'm tired of folks seeing how I've been working and giving me doomsday prophesies about how I will inevitably burn out but never offering support. I'm also tired of feeling parented by folks who really have their best interest in mind (i.e. "Damn, you do so much stuff" is code for "Damn, I want you to do something for me and I hope your life doesn't get in the way of it getting done because I need it"). I do a lot. I know I do. I am constantly reminded of this every time I open my calendar or see a friend that I haven't had time to chat with. I think what I am changing now is the frequency with which I hold space for myself in the midst of all the things I "do". It's in how I hold myself in board meetings or during my work hours or when I'm making art or when I'm volunteering. And it's in forgiving myself and others for not always running at 100% and asking for help more frequently. I know to others it won't look like what they think I need to do (quit a thing, stop doing x, start focusing on y) but like the bolsters and blocks in that yoga class, to some folks using them looks like not trying hard enough.
This all comes back to these pieces I've shared because I feel like I'm settling more comfortably into a practice of experimentation and not feeling like I need to have full control over every square inch of canvas or medium. I'm also embracing temporality and leaning in to making work that might change each time it's installed. I'm enjoying layers and the ways I can obscure and selectively reveal. And I'm enjoying the ways that my work keeps moving more and more into the personal.
So with that: Sigue siempre pa'lante,
Get ready for a personal post y'all!
I've recently started a Patreon and will be posting regularly there as well as getting this going again. To be totally honest I haven't made much for myself lately. After grad-school took off and the residency ended my focus went mostly to writing my thesis, running a successful School Board Campaign, and social justice work. Now I'm feeling very calm, though still busy, about where I am in life.
The above photos are from the two day install of the Inside Out Dreamers project. I'm on the Public Art Board and as a board member have taken on a few projects. In this position I like to not just make decisions or dole out advice but to do the work (as I do in any position really). It's been challenging and this project was definitely all I did for about a week but I'm so proud. Many thanks to Carrie Carranza, Audrey Lopez, and all of our dreamer volunteers for the work they did posting the images up. And for being willing to organize our action. Thanks also to the Emerson Collective for allowing us to take our site one step further and provide full context of why we NEED a Clean Dream Act NOW!
I've recently started a challenge for myself where I will doodle everyday for at least 10 minutes. I'm hoping to exercise my illustration skills, shake off some of the stuffy way I've been trained to draw, and also just get back into observational drawing. It's been so long and most of the drawing I've done in the past year or two is as a means to an end or very quick. I want to see what happens if I draw every day and have fun with it.
I've also been invited to lead creative workshops, talks, and host panels (feel free to email me if you want to book me!), and I've occasionally gotten paid for that work! This makes me so happy because I feel affirmation from my community. It's also a challenge when I desperately want to help and educate or share but there's not always funds available and it requires so much time and energy from me. Still working on those boundaries.
At work we've moved out of our old building and into our satellite spaces. We allowed students, faculty and staff to add a touch of graffiti to the walls before the building is torn down. These are mine.
So this is where I am now. Below is the link to my Patreon (cafecito's aren't free!), some shots of Etsy products, and a screenshot of my first official School Director photo!
This blog functions as a space for me to articulate what goes into making my artwork.