HAPPENING NOW: Antelope Valleys Arts new initiative, the AV ArtConvo, poetry and Multi-Media art by Edwin Vasquez.
Presenting Art & Poetry by Edwin Vasquez
SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is now live: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts is going digital.
This week’s featured artist is a substantial figure in the regional art scene in many ways: showing, helping others show, publishing, speaking and opening artistic doors – Edwin Vasquez.
Edwin Vasquez |Interview Part 1
Is there a certain emotional valence or emotional register that characterizes your work?
As an artist and writer, the term “Humanities” links my work together, especially since I was born in Guatemala, where a forty year internal political war gave the artists a voice for the voiceless. I don’t know if my work is still “political”, but it has definitely evolved because my focus is on creating art using recycled materials. I think art should include social issues because, even here, many don’t have a voice regarding political issues.
WE ARE AMERICANS
We shall not be denied the freedom,
the liberty and happiness
on which our country was built.
We are the farmer’s hands
rough like old leather
with blisters and aches from working on the fields
where your food comes from.
We are the trash collectors
keeping the streets clean
where your limousine is parked.
We are the nurses and doctors
saving your brat kids from drug overdose,
from drinking like pigs with your filthy money
because at home there is no love other than for stocks and bonds.
We are the teachers
buying school materials out of our own pockets,
and preparing the next generation
so they can attend Ivy League schools
not because they bought their way in, but because they earned the right to be there.
Yes, we deserve liberty, freedom and happiness
even-though priorities deviate us from our dreams
and only takes hateful words from powerful blindness
and arrogant men to wake us up,
your words were like a cold shower that got to our souls.
Yes sir, we are Americans too,
we came here for a better future,
we didn’t grow up with a silver spoon,
we made that spoon with our sweat and hard work,
we are the Hernandez, the Robledo, the Vásquez
we are part of the puzzle that makes America great.
Thank you for your poisonous words,
they are spreading in our communities like California wild fires
and soon you will see a tsunami wave so strong
that your wealth and your ambition will be tarnished
and like the rest of us, you, Sir
can look at the White House from the street.
Interview Part 2
What artist do you currently find yourself talking about most often and why?
The artist I am currently following is Efrain Recinos, a Guatemalan contemporary architect, painter, and sculptor. Sadly he passed in 2011, but his art legacy is of tremendous value for Guatemala and for the world. He was born in the second city of importance, Quetzaltenango, which is the city I was born in as well.
How does music influence, shape or fit into your work?
Music is an essential tool in my art life; Jazz and Latin-American are my favorites. Since the internet gives us the opportunity to listen to the beats and sounds of many countries, I find myself listening to music from all over the world while exploring mixed media in my studio.
Hollywood, the endless play with real life actors,
those with rags and riches walking among the stars
and dancing the waltz of all nations,
where all dream how awesome meeting a movie star could be.
The seasoned actors make their moves unceremoniously
across the hot concrete stage, hustling the unsuspected tourists
drinking coffee or Red Bulls, while attempting to take selfies with faking smiles
and overflowing the sidewalks like hot lava rivers from Brea to Vine,
unaware of the homeless trying to sleep because it was yet another bad day.
Hollywood, glamour and seventy-five degree weather,
where the scent of urine is overpowered by cigarette smoke,
Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, or illegal weed,
where walking the long boulevard becomes another meaning,
where it feels real and, then, it hits you —
here, poets pick the stanzas just by opening the senses and
realizing, sadly, that the golden promise is nothing but fool’s gold.
Hollywood, the endless play
with characters and fake superheroes,
Gucci glasses and skateboarders,
where Starbucks and tarnished stars
compete with IPhones and Barbie dolls…
this endless play, where actors come for a piece of the pie
and end up living a new tomorrow
for the second act and their broken dreams.