Throughout history, female authors have been known to conceal their identities by taking up a pen name (nom de plume) so that their voices, through their writings, could be heard and distributed uncensored. It is under this premise by which I began to write with light, using photography as a vehicle to open up and discuss issues that are difficult to verbalize: issues of identity, illness, addiction, abuse, death and recovery. This is a series of discoveries, connections, and reflections with self and with others.
You live in a plastic city… you so fake…
Blue Jeans and Friends
I use a child’s ragdoll in the series Blue Jeans and Friends to examine wasteful practices and promote the ideals of sustainability and creative reuse. In artistic protest against mass consumption and textile waste, this work preserves my maternal grandmothers legacy and the cultural heritage of the craftswoman, venerates tradition, and speaks to the belief of those who maintain that goods and their utility should ideally last for generations. The materials used to make the dolls are discarded fabric deemed no longer in fashion or usable. Repurposed and transformed through creativity and ingenuity, the artisanal process signifies an ideology that promotes sustainability and reuse.
Fabricated Notions/Constructed Realities
FRCN examines the doctrine of materialism as it intersects with fashion, textile waste, high capitalism and identity.
The project uses the polyvalent lexicon of sewing as a metaphoric foundation for the art making and stitches together personal histories of my grandmothers craft and the rag dolls she created from fabric remnants to a present the challenges society faces presently. By re-contextualozing the terms to confront constructs of gender norms, class, labor, and waste, I examine the ways in which those constructs inform, shape, define and threaten our social relationships and eco-system.
A multi-media installation accompanied by a performance includes poetry, photography and video. The project investigates the negative impacts blind consumerism takes on personal and environmental realms and challenges audiences to think about and take action to solve these issues.
The project was done with support of I:CO Spirit and artist Derick Malander
Plastic Remains was made in collaboration with 18th Street Art Center on-going collaboration with artists and community in the 90404 area of Santa Monica.
Since the 1900’s, the city of Santa Monica has gone through massive transit transformation; businesses have been torn down, residents displaced. In large part, this has shaped the city more than anything else.
A community staple since 1956, Hastings Plastics served Santa Monica’s residents, businesses and artists for over 50 years. In 2011, its doors were forced to close due to eminent domain for the expansion of the Metro Expo Line station at 17th Street and Colorado. After demolition, employees Eric Warren and Bruce Zelesnik found themselves jobless. Not knowing what to do next, Eric and Bruce, together with Eric’s wife Claudia, salvaged what little remains they could of Hastings Plastics. With their own skills and talents, a sign and a table saw, they opened shop in a garage a few blocks over. Like the mythological Phoenix, their resistance to being displaced from the community led to the birth of what is today known as Santa Monica Plastics.
In keeping with the trajectory of this project, I began the process of sifting through the remains of my personal history and connection to Santa Monica, the history of Hastings Plastics and my connection to the people at Santa Monica Plastics. The result is a series Portraits B, D, &, are montage story-telling portraits using oral histories, plastic remnants,and artifacts. The Hastings Blueprint is a photographic rendering of a rare historical Hastings photograph circa 1960’s. Plastic Apocalypseis the first in a three part series inspired by the closure of Hastings Plastics and ephemera found after demolition with the words catalyst, parting and remains. These word describe the transformative process community members experienced when displacement and occurs and is also the basis for Label Series. Trains in Transition is a collaborative sound piece created with Bruce Zelesnik, synthesizing the emotional journey of destruction and rebirth.
The work pays tribute to those who embrace change but resist erasure through the acts of memory, story telling, and preservation of cultural ephemera as a way to stay connected to the past and community.
Gina Valona and Chantal Lemoine, 2017
24”x36” Eco-Textile, recycled materials
Artists Gina Valona and Chantal Lemoine have collaborated to create an imaginary landscape featuring recycled yarn, fabrics, and ribbon, utilizing a variety of techniques including appliqué, knitting, felting and embroidery. Allowing their imagination free rein, they express their concern about pollution and the belief that the landscape is something that lives inside of us, healing both the earth and its inhabitants. The woman dreaming under the trees represents the spirit of the earth who is mourning the pollution of the stream while dreaming of gardens and renewal... almost disappearing into the trees symbolizing our unity with Mother Earth. The bird woman represents freedom and perspective as she sings messages of hope to the dreamer. The work, consider a dreamscape by the artists, is based on the rivers, flowers, trees and skies of the California Landscape and their own gardens while the circling butterflies represent a metamorphosis in which society heals of our relationship to the Earth.