Carolyn Castaño | Notes on Looking

New mural in Culver City for Siqueiros, Papel y Madera, Fabian Debora at Homeboy, Frida Kahlo está en Wonderland, Carolyn Castaño’s Narco Venus & Mi Familia

On a quiet Sunday morning two weeks ago, about 30 muralists got together to create a meaningful and beautifully designed mural in Culver City titled Siqueiros: La Voz de la Gente! as an homage to iconic Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros.  Lead muralist Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, along with a team of artists which included Raul Gonzalez, Anna Siqueiros (great-grand niece of Siqueiros),  Willie Herrón and Ernesto de la Loza, creatively enhanced a calm, dull alley behind some apartment buildings near the art galleries.  Anna Siqueiros was able to secure the wall and these five main muralists collaborated and discussed ahead of time on how they would bring this mural to life.  It was a word-of-mouth event, and those lucky few who had heard about it got to witness LA history take place.  Thanks to United Painters and Public Artists (UPPA) and a donation from Chiquele Studios, this mural was able to be created.  It is this exact attitude of collaboration which is at the soul of La Voz de la Gente!; these muralists came together to paint and give each other support because they know a new chapter of muralism in LA is now beginning to happen. As I entered the alley and approached the wall, there were at least three scaffolds and many of the artists busily painting.  Some of the muralists that I saw in action included Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, Anna Siqueiros, Carlos Callejo, Fabian “Spade” Debora, Cale, Joseph “Nuke” Montalvo, Blosm, Raúl “Chose” Gonzalez, Cesar “Slye” Hernandez, Duke and Vox.  Other artists who participated include: Kopye, Randy “Relic” Legaspi, Defer, Rock, Judo, Above, Luke, Chubs,...

Go Tell It on the Mountain, Papel Tejido, JC Muñoz Hernandez, East LA Photos, Paper Fashion, Ave 50 Chicanos & Brinco

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit the studio of artist and curator Nery Gabriel Lemus.  Lemus, who was raised in Los Angeles by Guatemalan parents, combines fine art with social and political beliefs and bi-cultural issues.   Through his use of drawing, painting, installation and video, Lemus is able to discuss issues of stereotypes, immigration, poverty, domestic violence, and prejudice. Many of the works he shared with me revealed the division between African-Americans and Latinos, such as in his series Black is Brown and Brown is Beautiful which focuses on the prejudices Latinos have toward African Americans, and in his barber shop series Fallen Nature and the Two Cities, in which Lemus documents a stylized haircut shared between African Americans and Latinos. In his series Friction of Distance (which was shown at Steve Turner Gallery), Lemus juxtaposed and appropriated images to make the audience compare and contrast birds and humans as a way to challenge the issues of immigration. Fortunately you can check out Lemus’ current show, which he has curated at Charlie James Gallery.  But you have to hurry as it ends February 18th. Go Tell It on the Mountain appropriately opened during the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as the show stems from the inspiration Lemus found in James Baldwin’s 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain.  The novel reveals the double-sided role of the Christian church for African-Americans.  On one side, the church could be viewed as hypocritical and a vehicle to oppress people, whereas on the other side the church could be seen as a place for community and social awareness. ...