Friday, June 11, 2010

Sop It All Up

I discovered this Oakland political artist (Favianna Rodriguez) while I was still in Amsterdam and just now found this video of her and a local DC artist (Cesar Maxit) discussing Art as a Political Tool. Watch here to listen to Cesar and Favianna discuss Shephard Fairey.

I have gravitated to Chicano art since I was in college where I would sit on the floor of my library (the basement) and turn page after page after page of books on Chicano and Chicana art. I just couldn't drink, inhale, sop, love it all in enough, which led to the giant skull and garden that is now permanently on my body. And the drafting of my next piece. Being in Oakland and meeting local artists have helped made what I fell in love with on those pages real. It has also allowed me to envelope my activism into my journey as an artist, which I've never had the faith to do before.

In just two months I've come to love Oakland more than any other city I've lived in. I've met so many people who are going for it, who aren't held back by what they are told they should be doing, but are doing what they are meant to be doing. I feel very grateful and inspired for it.

This week has been especially lovely sprinkled with the very not lovely, like all good moments. I reconnected with some old friends, met many new friends, participated in conference calls for work while laying in the sunshine in my own backyard, and took 7am hikes plus many other wonderful things I wasn't able to do or even think about less than a year ago.

I took an incredible chance on my ability to land on my feet last September and though I'm still tending to some bruises gained along the way, I'm rather proud of the experiences I've had over these 10 months.

Enough sap. Check out this video on the mayor of Tirana, Albania. The New Yorker had an excellent piece on him last year. He is this incredible artist who worked in the student democracy movement and used color as a way to empower the citizens of his town. My favorite quote of his: "Poverty should have a dignified face. It should look beautiful. It should look towards the future."

Renee Claire

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