I met Ely in late July. They were taking a workshop next door, in the Photography department. It was exciting to learn that they are also from Atlanta and also attended Georgia State University. After being in the west for nearly two months, and right around the time I was getting a little more homesick, it was a blessing to meet someone from home.
Eliza Aviña is an artist who contributes to Chicana / Latine representation through photography. For this photo session, Ely was interested in combatting the sultry, exotic, and hot-tempered stereotypical light that Latina women are often depicted in. Never having identified with that stereotype, I was thrilled when they asked me to be part of her photoshoot for their last assignment in Ryan Pfleuger’s workshop.
I was still in my work clothes, and since I don’t live at the ranch anymore she had to work with my natural state on a Thursday evening at 8pm, which meant no make up that day and no way for me to brush my hair. Ely brought out two matching shirts (except in color) for us to wear throughout the shoot. Ely took photographs of us together, running back and forth between the camera and the stool we were sharing, and directing the composition and line in the photograph while still allowing me room to by myself and comfortable in the shoot. I hadn't thought about the shirt assignment until I saw the photographs recently: the warmth from Ely's hair color traveling down the photograph through the shirt the had me wear, and the darkness of my hair and her shirt balance the color versions beautifully.
It was interesting and exciting to be involved in a shoot with a person I met a couple of days prior and leave feeling like good friends.
Below are some photographs from the shoot :
A couple of weeks back I stepped in to help cover a teen class for a couple of days. They were focusing on drawing from life and had been doing still lifes the first part of the week. My director and I came up with a syllabus for the final two days where I did a portrait demonstration for the class one day and I took them outside to draw the next day.
They were all incredibly focused, talented and did amazing work.
Below are some of the drawings they produced:
The past couple of weeks have been packed!
At work we had a Recognition Dinner for Yinka Shinobare and an art auction to raise funds for scholarships. I was able to drive Marilyn Minter, John Valadez, and Anna Katz to and from Aspen after sitting in on their Critical Dialogue on photorealism.
It's been amazing to be in such close proximity to so many accomplished artists, through these events and through our weekly workshops, hear about their career trajectory, how their work has changed and evolved, and overall how much rejection is such a part of an artist's journey. Hearing them talk about their work has helped me connect the dots and find verbage for the ideas I explore in my own, and find more confidence in how I speak about and consider about those ideas.
This past week we jumped back in to workshops and I had a lot of fun and learned so much assisting artist David Antonio Cruz. His workshop included a lot of reading, discussion, and time to make work. He was also so willing to share information and knowledge for his students (and so generously, I as well) to succeed and improve.
Wrapping up the weekends are a little tough, saying goodbye to the faculty is difficult sometimes between preparing to turnover for the next week (it's difficult anyway because I spend so much time with them over the course of 5 days!), putting things away, and making sure students have everything they need before they go.
Art-wise, I moved out of the intern studio last week, helped out a couple of photographers this week, and in the woodshop, started carving a spoon as a gift for someone.
Today on my day off : I got some errands done and grocery shopped (sort of), drank a smoothie, made quesadillas, napped, sat in a hot tub, and am considering what the future may hold.
It's been well over a month of being in Colorado and working at the ranch.
I am so much more comfortable with the facilities and making my way around, which is awesome! The familiarity I'm gaining here is giving me a little more confidence.
I have started to get a little homesick, but I have starting meeting more folks who either live in Atlanta or have loved ones there, which helps a little.
I got some leftie art exercise in and I am BACK!! Back to physically altering photographs and experimenting in how I do it. As well as what I'm changing. I'm learning how to mess with Polaroids, both by lifting the emulsion and seeing what heat does to them (which I tried in 2017, but I'm doing it a little differently now).
The experiment below is from a Polaroid I took about a week after my heart started beating funny. After trimming the borders and blasting it at about 1000 degrees (F), the plastic came off with some emulsion (without me) and left most of my figure on the backing- which was something that was on my mind a lot during that time- what void (if any) would I leave in my environment or on my loved ones, and what did I do to deteriorate so badly (at the time). The image happened to peel off this way, I didn't plan it, but boy what a time to think about my mortality again :')
Not work/art stuff / thoughts:
I'm practicing being more vulnerable around some of my new friends. I think I have a hard time achieving depth sometimes out of not wanting to make people uncomfortable, but that's going to change I hope!
I am also trying to figure out the best way to grow so I can help my family.
All in all I feel pretty good. Tired some days, but good tired and like I can handle my own, my emotions and insecurities, and my art much better than I could a few months ago. I'm sure the hot tub is helping lol.
oopsie. I think I've been using the title text for everything.
Anywho, if you don't know me very well, you can check out my Canvas Rebel interview here (or click on the picture below) to learn a little more about my recent life and thoughts: canvasrebel.com/meet-yari-mena/
I would love to know what you think! Chat me up in person or email me!
Two other intern friends of mine and I visited Moab, Utah to visit the Arches National Park.
We finished training last week!
Hello friends! I will be blogging about my adventures, thoughts, feelings in Colorado while I am away from home. Not quite in real time, but close enough. Visit this page to stay semi-caught up on what I’m doing!