Monday, December 21, 2015

Otis College of Art and Design: Completion of 1st Semester in MFAPP

This, my friends, is the mini recap of my first semester as a graduate student at Otis College of Art and Design, in the Public Practice program. I have been looking at Otis since I was 16 and words can not describe how grateful I am to be right here, working my ASS off. :) Enjoy the photos below and let me know if you have any questions or if you are looking for some community loving, my thesis is next year!

The above artwork is from the Otis basement!
Below are the first seeds to bloom in the alley garden.

I enjoyed my last few weeks of calm, before the MFA storm hits.
I took 17 units this semester and had the great opportunity to TA for Michele Jaquis's Radio as Public Art class. This is my first time helping out in an undergrad course. I got to teach an experimental radio class (YA, it was cool and kinda weird) I was ready to perform, use a lot of hand gestures, but I found out, undergrad student are polar opposite to that of, let's say 6 year old  children in an after school art program (both are awesome and both are different). I had an amazing time with this creative group of artists. Everyone has their own ideas and thoughts and brings their experiences to the classroom to work together, using radio as public art. One of the cool projects I was introduced to in this class was the work of : LINGA Radio Ballet: 2002-03

Below is the entrance to the MFA studios.

 Some of the books that we would have the opportunity to read during the semester with Patrisse Cullors.

 Suzanne Lacy (Department Chair of Otis MFA Public Practice), Patrisse Cullors  and Andrea Bowers, just a snippet of the faculty line-up for the first semester! Next up is an image from the bull ring in Quito. Suzanne was giving a presentation of current work, little did I know I would be standing right there, in that ring a few months from taking this photograph.

In the spirit of my love for community, documentation and unity my cohort created a logo and a manifesto!

Cohort #9 in YR . GI . RA . MA order
GI: Gina Valona
 I had the get chance to go on a great hike in the Santa Monica mountain area. Now back to work... mind mapping for a class with Bill Kelley Jr. Where I would get to take a research case study. Here is a brief overview from Bill Kelley Jr.'s website:

Bill Kelley Jr.
Lead Curator & Researcher for Talking to Action
Otis College of Art & Design, Getty Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
2014 - 2018
Organize Otis College of Art’s research, curatorial and publication proposal for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: L.A./L.A. initiative. The upcoming research phase of Talking to Action will collaborate with institutions, artists and theorists in different cities in Latin America, while collaboratively investigating the core methodologies within community-based art practices. Talking to Action will culminate in 2017 with an exhibition and publication.

I chose to research the work of Iconoclasistas.

 Patrisse Cullors, Cece McDonald and Jennice Gutierrez talking, making history, right here at Otis.

Up next is a visit to LMU, where the Radio as Public Art class will have their radio shows, broadcasting live!

 A few of the books I would read this semester. O, below, because it ain't all rainbows and sunshine here in LA.

Here is the small but Mighty cohort #9!

Ah....more books. I forgot how much I LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOVE school! Even taking a crap load of units, moving to a crazy busy city and no time to relax, I freaking LOVE school!!!

More school love, foreground Otis Campus, in the back is a park across the street.

This image is from our cohorts first time working together as a group (we created our manifesto shortly after). We would create a homage to Judy Chicago, and have people who came to enjoy their day at the 18th Street Art Center, create their own plate for someone that made an impact in their lives. Check out the full post [here]. 

I get to go to three different campus, each day, a new one! This is Main campus!

Here we are at CSU, Long Beach, where I had the great fortune to go the Far-Sited Conference. I also got to see this fluxus artist, William Pope L. in full swing , uh, was amazing! Check out that blog post [here!]

Moving on, back in the Organizing for Change class, where I learned about the Gender Unicorn, what does it mean to identify with a gender or not. I want to spread the love, check it out, fill it out,  tell your friends and family! This was designed by Landyn Pan and Anna Moore, Thank You!

Above are more books I would be friends with for most of my semester. I found most of all of my research for different classes all stemming from graphics, politics and how to use humor to create change. This idea of humor not being sophisticated and completely dismissed is absurd and a model, like that of the Guerrilla Girls, Barbara Kruger and Sister Corita Kent (less humorous and more whimsy and love with Corita's work) is what I would like to follow. All of these artists are activists and using art as the catalyst for change and social justice.

The Mobile Mural Lab! Yaaaaa! What fun! I have been able to work with this great team for a few community projects and each time, I just fall in love with the community I get to work with! It is real fun to get to answer the question..."You mean, we get to paint on a truck?" I look at them with a big smile, say yes and ask them what color they would like, grab a brush and get creative! Check them out :here:

 Read, read, read, all day long, read, read, read while I sing this song. Karen Moss!!! What more can I say!

O gosh, the Engage More Now Symposium at the Hammer was interesting. Lots of questions from the audience. It has been really awesome to have so many conferences and talks take place in such close proximity and to be able to go to them all as well, it's  great. Check out that post [here. day one] and [here. day two]

Off to Quito, Ecuador! I had the  INCREDIBLE opportunity to get to be a small part of Suzanne Lacy's De Tu Puño y Letra project. Check out that blog post [here].

 Now field trip to the Getty to get a personal tour by Bill Kelley Jr. ! After that it was another field trip to the desert for a personal tour of Andrea Zittel, Noah Purifoy‬, and Palm Spring Art Museum!

We are back to main campus for our FINAL! Here is the spunky and fresh radio class getting ready for their final. They have thought of different ways they would use the low powered FM transmitter. Below is just a snippet from one of the groups projects. They went to the Fine Art patio and banged out some collaborative music during the most stressful time on campus! One of the fun parts about this, was that students who were churning away in their studios flew outside and started banging with the rhythm!

O HEY! Some exciting news, I have been selected at the Otis intern for LACMA's Arts Education Program! Seriously amazing and exciting. One of their mottos is, Radical Friendliness, I will fit right in.

And there we have it folks!
I have become a more aggressive driver while maintaining my pleasantness at the check out stands.  I usually hear people tell me, "Don't let LA take away that magic inside of you!" Thank you so much for your support all these years and if you have just hopped on the studiomargo-a-go-go train, WELCOME! This is going to be an epic two years!
xo margo

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Field Study with Suzanne Lacy in Quito, Ecuador

I had the great fortune to be a small part of this project. It would be my first time in South America and assisting Suzanne Lacy. Some of you know that I am coming from California State University, Monterey Bay, where Suzanne was one of the founding faculty members of the university and it is an amazing journey to be obtaining my MFA at OTIS College of Art and Design, where Lacy is the Graduate Public Practice Chair.

The images below are from my personal journey within the project. This project has been in process for over a year and I got to see the fruition of all of the hard work, dedication and passion of the many people and communities that came together all in the name of this project, De tu puño y letra: Diálogos en el ruedo. 

The following is an excerpt from A Blade of Grass, where Lacy was awarded a fellowship to support this project:
raduate Public Practice Chair
Graduate Public Practice Chair

A Blade of Grass: " Her ABOG Fellowship will support De tu puño y letra: Diálogos en el ruedo, which will intersect public, legal and educational institutions’ efforts to fight violence against women with a populous organizing project in Quito, Ecuador. Working with the City government, colleges, non-profits, leaders, volunteers and youth to address the dimensions of violence against women, it will culminate in a public performance on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The project is built on a prior, well-received 2014 national campaign, “Cartas de Mujeres,” that invited women to publicly submit their testimonies on experienced violence. Produced by the Fundación Museos de la Ciudad in collaboration with scores of colleagues in Quito, this project will engage significantly with men in the region."

Let's go! The first stop, dinner at the airport before I hop on the plane to Mexico and then shift over at 1:00AM to a new plane into Quito, Ecuador. I took this 'fortune' as advice as I would go into a situation where I knew there was going to be a big language barrier for myself and I would have to do the best that I could.


 Here we are in Quito, at Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC) at 7:30AM, just off of the plane and into the working office that was full of creative energy, talking, sharing, thinking, drawing, typing, and a little translating.

First task at hand was to help cut 800 little tickets for food for all of the volunteers for one of the rehearsal days. This would be my first time on a "set" which is different than a mural project, however there are similarities I found. One of the many things that I found so amazing, was the great care that was taken, for all people working on the project.

Onward to the bull ring. This ring is the last ring in Quito that still has bull fights. I was just hopping on to the project and getting a glimpse of how radical this work is, on many different levels.

Next task was to write real large, a quote, in cursive, in a straight line and then fill it in. My mural skills got put right to work, I had a great time dancing with the giant stick, digging into the earth.

A gather of the minds.

This is just a sample of a stencil I created to see if we could create a more graphic look with the materials at hand. After the rehearsal, this concept would later be scratched.

The men are arriving. What I found to be so amazing and impressive was the great diversity of men. Men from all ages, backgrounds and classes were there.

Another meeting to hash out more details talk about what could happen and not happen and what to do and how to do it, whats the best way possible. I really enjoy working with all different types of people for their own outlooks and ideas, it is so exciting to hear different ideas.

Above and below a little food sampling. The people I met in Quito were so sweet and wonderful. I understand Spanish better than I can speak it ( I still need a lot of practice) but all the people I met were so kind to me, even if we could not understand each other.

Safe Taxi!

Back at CAC!

Here we go! Drawing time! Next task was to create two maps that would be used as the foundation of the project for directing people where to go.

Below: My friend Pau, of Project Wallflowers, was in Quito just three days before I was. She was partaking in Warmi Paints! From the Warmi website: Warmi = Woman in quechua, the name of a people of the central Andes of South America and their language. Women of all ages from this part of the world will create a new vision of themselves, nurture their community, and reflect a powerful message.

Special guests of honor; LADY PINK, and MARTHA COOPER + 20 women will paint collaborative murals, host workshops, and present their life’s work to the Ecuadorian community.
International Artists:
Anarkia ( Brasil) Abusa Crew ( Chile ) Bastardilla ( Colombia ) Fio Silva ( Argentina ) Ledania ( Colombia ) Lili Cuca ( Colombia ) Pau (Germany/Chile) Rank ( Mexico ) Toofly ( NYC/ Ecuador ) Tysa ( Mexico ) Vero Rivera ( Puerto Rico )

Ecuador Artists:
Belu Loops, Bln Bike, Chink, Crispo, La Suerte, Lie, Maria, Males, MO, and Vera

Here we are back at the bull ring for another rehearsal!

One of the things that just can not be controlled is the weather. A large tent was placed above the ring to keep everyone dry.

Here we are, next day, back at CAC! This is the inside of their little restaurant, which is AMAZING! Everyone reading this should go there!

And onward back to the ring for another rehearsal the night before the performance.

Lacy and team above. 
Below are just a few chairs.

WOW! I have never seen so many radios in my life!
Below is the view from our humble abode.

We are ready to go!

We have arrived!

This is my great AMIGO Freddy!

AFTER the performance

Above we celebrated at a little spot, and then, just like that, I'm back on the plane heading back to Los Angeles.

This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life in all realms, travel, art, education, friendships, life experiences. We all had different experiences, with our own past memories that are inside our bodies. Even though I did not understand most of the letters that were being read, I could feel the emotions. As I looked around the candle lit bull ring, tears were falling from the eyes of many.  This is what powerful art does, it moves people. It brings about awareness and great change.  I am so grateful to have met everyone I met and to have been able to be a small part. May you all be well and take great care of yourself and those around you. xo