X Ten Biennial, Homegirl Cafe, Artist Bailout, T-Shirt Revival and Avenue 50 Studio

Last Sunday afternoon, ten creative visionaries got up on stage as participants of X Ten Biennial, a collaboration between Big City Forum founder Leonardo Bravo and writer Jeremy Rosenberg.  This insightful event took place in the Atwater Kitchen portion of the Atwater Crossing complex.  The participants were a mix of artists, writers, designers, an architect and even a puppeteer, among others who each had ten minutes to present their top ten favorite artists and explain why.

Puppeteer Ronald Binion giving us a puppet show at X Ten Biennial

This Biennial gave the audience an opportunity to learn about who and what influences our local LA artists.  It also allowed for the art community to come together in a very inspiring, educational and fun way.  Before the presentations began, Jeremy and Leonardo made each member of the audience say their name, profession and why they were there.  By the time everyone had spoken, it became apparent that the group was quite an interesting bunch: artist, designers, teachers, writers, photographers, etc…and how everyone had something in common: the love for art, culture and knowledge.  Here are three artists whose work I admire and found their influences to be very important in better understanding their practice.

Carolyn Castano's Drug Lord (Angel Garcia Urquiza) & Beauty Queen (Miss Sinaloa, Laura Zuñiga), 2009 from http://cola2011.lamag.org/castano/past_pix1.html

Carolyn Castaño is an LA based artist whose work I saw and loved in LACMA’s Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement.  Her recent work deals with Narco Venus, which explores the role of women in the male-dominated culture of narco-trafficking.  Her list of influences included Sonia Delaunay’s use of geometric shapes; Chris Ofili; Lari Pittman; Henry Matisse’s depiction of women; Mickalene Thomas’ reclining ladies; Sonya Fe’s paintings of old-fashioned chicas; paintings by Aaron Douglas; French artists Pierre et Gilles; Brazilian artist Alberto de Veiga Guignard; the prehispanic pyramids and structures in Mexico (such as Chichin Itza and Tzompantli); and golden prehispanic objects from The Gold Museum in Bógota, Colombia.  Castaño is going to be in a group show on Jan. 14, 2012 at Charlie James Gallery.  She is also having a solo show on Feb. 25, 2012 at Walter Maciel Gallery in Culver City.  I’m super excited to see her new work and how all her influences play a role.

Shizu Saldamando at X Ten Biennial

Shizu Saldamando is another artist whose work I seek out (and who was also in LACMA’s Phantom Sightings).  During her presentation, Shizu first mentioned Mexican artist Minerva Cuevas and her project Mejor Vida Corp, a facetious, virtual company that helps people save their pennies by offering free fake metro tickets, fake barcode labels to lower the price for fruit and vegetables, fake student ID cards, and self-stamped envelopes among other services.  Check out this website and order something, or just go to it for a good laugh.  Shizu then mentioned Judy Baca’s paintings; Ester Hernandez; Ruth Asawa’s sculptures; potted flowers; cholo tattoo art; Sandra de la Loza’s Pocho Research Society (PRS); Doris Salcedo (Yes, that amazing artist who made Shibboleth, a 167-metre-long crack in the hall’s floor of the Tate Modern in London); Graciela Iturbide’s photographs of cholas in LA; Andrea Bowers; and one of LA’s original punks, Alice Bags.

Tanya Aguiniga from http://aguinigadesign.com/menu.html

Tanya Aguiñaga is a LA based furniture designer originally from Tijuana, Mexico.  Her work is inspired by border experiences.  Some of the influences she mentioned include Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square; his wife Anni Albers’ weavings, prints, fabrics and jewelry; Robert Irwin; Charles and Ray Eames (who she aspires to live like); Tara Donovan’s ability to use everyday manufactured objects (such as rubber bands, paper plates, Styrofoam cups, buttons); Magdalena Abakanowicz’s monumental sculptures; Tokujin Yoshioka’s minimal and poetic installations; Sheila Hicks; French designer Matali Crasset; and German textile artist Gunta Stolz.

Although this is only a tiny peek into this incredible evening full of references and information, now you know that you must make it to the next one.

Diego Cardoso from http://cardosoart.com/?q=image/tid/1

The next morning I found myself eating chilaquiles for breakfast at Homegirl Cafe, a delicious experience, but also visually enticing too… and I’m not just talking about the beautiful ensalada de jicama y chayote but rather Diego Cardoso’s paintings.  Cardoso’s work is about urban life in Los Angeles.  Many iconic buildings and recognizable streets are the main subjects: Panoramic views of downtown and freeway scenes.  Speaking of influences, in Cardoso’s artist’s statement, he mentions that Gabriel Garcia Marquez inspires him to rework reality with hints of magical realism.  Diego Cardoso’s work will be featured in the café until February 2012.

Diego Cardoso from http://cardosoart.com/?q=image/tid/1

Now it’s time for all of you readers to get involved.  Two of my favorite art organizations, Outpost for Contemporary Art and Slanguage, are going to be presenting this Saturday at Artist Bailout along with five other groups.  This community driven event is a way to raise funds for the arts during the current economic crisis.  Patrons can contribute donations on a sliding scale ($10 to $10M!) and receive a delicious meal and a ballot.  While eating dinner, seven LA-based art organizations will present proposals for funding which will benefit their current programs/projects.  At the end, everyone will vote for the best one and the two highest winners will split all the money donated at the door.  So let’s all go and vote for our favorites!  The participants include Outpost for Contemporary Art, Slanguage Studios, the Mobile Museum of Riverside Chinatown, Actual Size LA, Knowledges, Mobile Pinhole Project and Signify, Sanctify, Believe.  (Saturday, Dec. 10, 6:30-9:30pm at Human Resources, 410 Cottage Home, Chinatown)

And if that’s not enough for you on Saturday, head over to Highland Park for T-Shirt Revival Night at Outpost for Contemporary Art with featured artist Ismael de Anda.  Grab some of your old shirts and let Ismael silk-screen them with his original artwork.  ¿Y por qué no te compras algunas para la familia tambien? Tio Chucho would look muy guapo in one this holiday season!

Fork In The Road - Robert Palacios from http://www.avenue50studio.com/pages/dreamsandvisions.shtml

Once you picked up your new and improved printed shirt, head over to Avenue 50 Studio for the opening of Driven by Content, featuring the works of eight LA artists: J. Michael Walker, Robert Palacios, Khalid Hussain, Susanna Meiers, Stephanie Mercado, Fabian Debora, Raquel Martinez and Richard Scully.  I love this organization and how it incorporates the Latino community of Highland Park.  It’s full of positive energy and good vibes.  Driven by Content ends Jan. 8, 2012.


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