We recently sat down to an email interview with Antelope Valley Artist & Painter AJ Currado. Her work is currently on display at the LM/AG 25th Annual Juried Art Show in downtown Lancaster as well as at Sagebrush Café in Quartz Hill.
Describe the AV “art scene” in a few words.
Surprisingly growing and healthy! We have a lot of talented artists in the area and they are tired of driving far away to enter somebody else’s art scene – which is often elite or pretentious anyways. I think they’re finally rising up and creating a vibrant community here, locally. The city of Lancaster is actually (finally) doing some great things for the arts as well with the new artists’ lofts/gallery and new LMAG opening up next year. even in this economy the city is keeping an open budget for fine art.
What has been your personal experience with shows in and around the Antelope Valley?
Hit and miss. I’ve shown at the Cedar Centre, at LMAG, at AVC as a student, and in various coffee shops and a few of our art show/festival opportunities. Most prestigious and largely attended is the Annual Juried at LMAG and it is always encouraging to see my work up with local artists I admire like Glen Knowles and Frank Dixon. The Fair is a joke as far as art is concerned and isn’t worth the bother. I think the most fun and vibrant experience I’ve had has actually been at Sagebrush. I’ve met fascinating people, had great conversations, made connections, and have had excellent sales. I’ve enjoyed the other artists who have shown there as well and even made art purchases myself. People aren’t caught up in creating their own “artsy image” but rather by being part of an artistic community.
Will you be submitting works to the juried show at the LMAG this year?
Haha! I didn’t see this question before… Yes, actually, I did submit works. I submitted three and two were accepted. I went to the opening tonight and had a fantastic time running into lots of people I know, have met at Sagebrush, and meeting new artists.
What are some specific challenges to showing art, producing art, etc. in the Antelope Valley?
Showing is the hardest part. Driving down to LA to get a load of supplies for a series of works is an enjoyable field trip, but attempting to show down there is a pain. I’ve shown at a few galleries and it hardly seems worth the trouble. As far as showing locally, the hard part is getting the people to see the work.
What are some specific benefits and opportunities to showing art, producing art, etc. in the AV?
Local! It’s so much more enjoyable to meet the people looking at/buying your art. Creating friendships and connections not only is good for sales but also getting inspired by regular interactions with artists. Artists out here are more relaxed and often humble. Some of the pros will go out plein air painting with anybody who wants to join and offer tips. They aren’t snobby about their success. It’s that small-town vibe where everybody knows at least a friend of yours if not you.
How has the AV influenced your art in terms of subject?
Hmmm…I don’t know. I use a lot of travel photos and memories for reference. But I am also obsessed with leaves. I like the desert, I like our sunsets, our buttes, our winters and autumns and springs, our explosion of wild flowers and delicate greenery in spring. I suppose I am influenced by the openness, the delicate details that you have to look for, else it’s swallowed up in the vast brown. You can hate this place and complain about it, but if you really look at it, up close, quietly, if you really explore, it is beautiful. And that’s how I like my art. I want people to go up close to it, to look at it quietly, one-on-one. To discover it’s understatement. I don’t want it to scream for attention, but to wait for attention from those who are willing to pause.