Monthly Archives: March 2010

Talking to Santiago Forero

Q: Tell me about “I want to Live in America”

As an artist, I work with images of immediate recognition and with moments left in my mind from being a spectator of visual media, in order to reflect upon how society molds its beliefs and ideas about itself and about different cultures. My research is directed at exploring how this phenomenon generates superficial judgments about cultures and societal typecasting.

My objective is to create pieces that reflect upon concerns about the superficiality of the visual image transmitted through the media and how the visual image affects society in the recognition of culture, as is the case in stereotyping. I employ the techniques used by the moving image to recreate pictures of current events, trying to remove part of the original message conveyed in the language of mass media and to transform each image to produce a reading that is not obvious and that is charged with characteristics that alter the initial assumption.

Like many Latin Americans, I was exposed to a lot of U.S. visual media all my life, and in away, cultures like my own have an understanding of what happens in their own culture and also of what is happening in the U.S. However, this understanding of culture is mediated by stereotyped images that are as fictitious as, for example, the image of what the U.S. media has defined as a terrorist.

I work with the language of cinema to question the assumptions by generating tension and uncertainty, reflecting ideas related to self-struggle of the characters I photograph with their own stereotypical role in society.

One of my concerns is exploring prejudice as revealed by stereotyping through the visual image. I work with the idea of stereotypes as made up of attributes on the physical surface that are easily recognized and usually oversimplified. I use visual elements to produce this kind of judgment in the viewer, and then substitute them to create confusion and make that prejudice more evident. I begin by amplifying the visual attributes and making them over the top. The image is recognized immediately, but thenthe viewer will notice inconsistencies: I swap characteristics and leave gaps to generate an ambiguous character that sometimes steps out of the initial assumption.

Q: Tell me about “Action Heroes”

As an artist, I work with familiar media images in order to reflect on how society molds beliefs and ideas about itself and different cultures. In my research I explore how this phenomenon generates superficial judgments about the “other”.

In my recent series, entitled Action Heroes, I’ve been photographing myself as heroic male characters, stereotypes that have been exploited in mass media for years. My exploration addresses issues of identity and masculinity by portraying myself in roles I would never be able to inhabit in real life because of my physical characteristics. By projecting my own image, a body type considered outside the average, I hope to question not only what is considered normal but also the prevalent visual imagery representing idealized masculine, heroic characters in fiction and daily life.

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Talking to Alexa Meade

What type of artist are you? I would not classify my art as belonging to a specific genre. In this project there is interplay among such diverse art media as painting, installation, performance, photography, and video.

Natural Morta, Live installation:Acrylic paint on found objects,walls and flesh

How long does painting take?The amount of time it takes to paint an installation has to do with the complexity of the scene. A simple head and shoulders portrait may take a couple of hours, while a full body portrait with a painted scene takes longer. The most challenging part of this project is that all of the painting and photography has to be completed within a day. It’s not like I can send my model home covered in paint and say, “see you tomorrow!”

Timmy on the Metro, Acrylic on flesh

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Talking to Glennray Tutor

Question:Tell me about “QUARTET (SEE FOR YOURSELF”
The painting is an oil on canvas, 48″ x 48″, completed at the end of November 2009, and is now in the globally respected collection of Butler Snow. It is part of my Comic Book Series. The composition consists of intellectual, emotional, and physical elements. Strictly visually speaking, the painting is about the energy of the objects depicted. Further, however — metaphorically, for example — the painting is about many other things. It’s about the similarities of and the differences between childhood and adulthood; the wonder of being alive in the universe; the possibility of something else beyond what we can perceive; and it deals with the concept of painted illusion, or lack thereof.
Essentially, I wanted to take several parts of reality that fascinate me, and manipulate them into a work or art.

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Talking to Rhonda Dee

Question: Can you tell me about “The Only Moving Thing”

‘The Only Moving Thing’ was from a series of paintings I did on heads. The title and part of the concept came from a Wallace Stevens poem “13 ways of looking at a blackbird”. The images are all characterized by intense movement, and cavernous passages that suggest passing through the forms. The other inspiration for this image was the back of my father’s head in his old age. I spent alot of time looking at him in his later years, ‘drawing’ him over in my mind’s eye.

Question: What kind of music you listen to when you paint?

I love listening to Nina Simone, Ben Harper, Chavela Vargas, John Lee Hooker, Billie Holiday, Phillip Glass and Wynton Marsalis particularly, but have alot of mixed stuff in the studio. I also listen to audio recordings of poets while I work.

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Talking to Anthony Lister

Question: What is your least favorite beer

my least favorite beer has cigarette butts in it and i drank it last night.

Spinning Tricks

Fat Batman

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Talking to Samuel Shaw

Talking about the ‘sociological’ side of Making Place

Amelia suggested that the project fits somewhere between social practice art and sociology. Let me qualify the ‘sociology.’ I am an urban/community and cultural sociologist, so I think about the world in terms of how groups and individuals interact – how they come together, and how they differentiate from each other – in space, in the built environment and its representations; how cities are made; and how cities, then, accumulate relationships to become a template for further interaction. Or, in academic terms, how the city is both structured by, and is structuring of, human social relationships.
While people in positions of political and economic power have the greatest capacity to shape the character of the city, all individuals exercise agency on at least some level. We all shape our cities, communities, and places, in part through our patterns of daily life, representations we produce and consume, and in the relationships we make and/or avoid. We all have at least some political voice in representing what we ‘like’ and what we ‘dislike’ about our cities and communities, or what ‘makes it better’ and what ‘makes it worse’. Making place suggests that “places” are made in part through individuals who a) make their place, b) express their likes and c) dislikes.
In this way there is a sociological rationale for the project. However, at this point, there is no intention to use participant submissions as ‘data’ for sociological analysis. Rather, it is intended that the photos will speak for themselves, allowing participants to tell their own stories through photographs without imposing a sociological narrative on them.
Our greatest ambition is that the site will provide participants with a venue to connect local and global experiences. Potentially the site will connect individuals to their city, to other individuals in their cities, and to other individuals and other cities around the world.
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Talking to Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Question: Amelia can you tell me about  “Making Your Place”

Me and Sammy Shaw (a PhD candidate at Vanderbilt in the area of Urban and Cultural Sociology) decided to collaborate on a proposal for the Open Engagement Conference hosted by PSU this May.  Our proposal involved creating this website and launching the project in Portland and across the globe, in hopes of getting some really great/interesting responses.  We will then create an interactive real life tour/project in Portland based on the responses and invite both conference goers and the Portland community to participate in our project in May.  So our project was accepted and now that we’ve created the site we’re ready to start seeing what participants send our way.

The project will continue to unfold until May and then after May we have some more plans to continue doing real life events in other cities as well, so for now I’m just going to try to get the word out there and see where the participants take this project, its an interesting thing to collaborate on an art project with a sociologist, this will be a different kind of art project that is somewhere between social practice art and sociology.

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Talking to Kathryn Kelley

Talking about “Treading where no one hears the echo of her foot fall”

I breathe

I could no longer stay

Self sequestered there

In the tower of my making

There is no good way to destroy

One’s own tower

While remaining inside

There is no good why to get down

Without help

No one came

I crumbled the tower

Of my making

From within

And now

I wipe the dust from my face

And I stand in the rubble

Of this crumbled tower

I see my feet are on the ground

I reach down

Brush aside the rubble there

I am searching

Searching for my path

I breath and

I am grateful for that breath

Yet I am so grieved

That they need to tell me

I would be and will be destroyed

My breath catches deep within

“Remnant inner tubes” metal & wood, 2010

Now open through April 15 @ Women and Their Work

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Talking about “Making Your Place”

CITIES ARE GREATER THAN THE AMALGAMATION OF INDIVIDUALS THAT LOCATE WITHIN THEM. INDIVIDUALS HELP TO MAKE THE CITY, CASTING THEIR LEGACY IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, IN THEIR PATTERNS OF DAILY LIFE, IN REPRESENTATIONS, AND IN THE RELATIONSHIPS THEY MAKE. PLACES ARE MADE WHERE LIVES UNFOLD IN THE CONTEXT OF OTHERS. COMMUNITIES REQUIRE PARTICIPATION.

THIS PROJECT WILL BE LAUNCHED IN PORTLAND, OREGON IN 2010. FROM THERE IT IS INTENDED TO CIRCULATE THROUGH CITIES ACROSS THE WORLD.

A. HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PLACE? HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR CITY/COMMUNITY?

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PLACE IN THE ACTIVITIES OF YOUR DAILY LIFE? HOW IS YOUR ‘PLACE’ IN YOUR COMMUNITY REPRESENTED? HOW IS YOUR PLACE BUILT (OR UN-BUILT) INTO THE CITY? HOW ARE YOU EXPRESSED IN THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT YOU CREATE (OR DESTROY)? HOW IS YOUR PLACE/CITY/COMMUNITY CHANGED BY YOUR PRESENCE WITHIN IT?
B. HOW IS YOUR CITY MADE BETTER?

WHAT ARE THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOUR CITY/COMMUNITY? WHAT SPACES OR PLACES DO YOU GO TO? WHO IS THERE? WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? HOW WOULD YOU MAKE YOUR CITY BETTER? WHO MAKES YOUR CITY BETTER? WHAT PLACES IN THE CITY MAKE THE CITY BETTER?
C. HOW IS YOUR CITY MADE WORSE?

WHAT ARE THE BAD THINGS ABOUT YOUR CITY/COMMUNITY? WHAT SPACES OR PLACES TO YOU AVOID? WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? WHO IS THERE?
SEND PHOTOS TO: PHOTOS@MAKINGYOURPLACE.COM

a new web based project as part of Open Engagement in Portland Oregon May 2010

By Amelia Winger-Bearskin

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Talking to Marco Zamora


Question: Tell me about “2020” and the installation

2020 and the installation titled Give and Take were from a continuing series of work based off of the human condition, collecting, and interaction. For the Installation I had the gallery send out emails and flyers about a trade. I created 200 screen prints to give to the residents of Portland Oregon and in return I asked to take a belonging from them. It could have been something important or just unwanted junk. This was exciting because I did not know what i was going to receive or create due to the fact that I could have only traded 2 prints or of all of 200. I ended up collecting about 100 objects from people that I did not know which created the assemblage. They received a piece of art.

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