Sounds of Cultura (SOC): True Blue

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True Blue is a new exhibit of work from local artist Annie Lopez. The garments are made from vintage dress patterns, sewn and cut from a 19th century printmaking technique that creates blue images using sunlight . Artist Annie Lopez talks about this technique and the exhibit.

JOSE: IN SOUNDS OF CULTURA, TRUE BLUE IS A NEW EXHIBIT OF WORK FROM LOCAL ARTIST ANNIE LOPEZ. THE GARMENTS ARE CREATED FROM VINTAGE DRESS PATTERNS, SEWN AND CUT FROM LOPEZ'S CYANOTYPE PRINTS. CYANOTYPE IS A 19 TH CENTURY PRINT MAKING TECHNIQUE THAT CREATES VIVID BLUE IMAGES USING SUNLIGHT. JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT HER EXHIBIT IS ARTIST ANNIE LOPEZ. ANNIE, I LOOKED AT SOME OF THE PICTURES OF THE PIECES IN THE EXHIBITION AND THEY ARE MAGNIFICENT. VERY INTERESTING. I WANT TO PUT THE FIRST ONE UP AND EXPLAIN THE PROCESS. THIS IS CALLED FAVORITE THINGS. BEFORE WE DISCUSS WHAT IT MEANS AND WHAT IT MEANT TO YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU PREPARE SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

ANNIE LOPEZ: LIKE YOU SAID, CYANOTYPE IT IS A PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTMAKING PROCESS AND MIXING TWO CHEMICALS TOGETHER SEPARATELY WITH WATER AND WHEN YOU PUT THEM TOGETHER THEY ARE LIGHT SENSITIVE. I AM PRINTING ON THE SURFACE OUT IN THE SUN FOR 20 MINUTES, WASH IT WITH WATER AND THE IMAGE IS FIXED. THEY ARE PRINTED ON TAMALE WRAPPING PAPER.

JOSE: NOT THE CORN HUSK BUT WHAT IS AROUND IT?

ANNIE LOPEZ: LIKE WHAT YOU WOULD FIND AFTER IT IS COOKED WHAT PROTECTS IT. THERE IS 20-40 PRINTS IN EACH PIECE USUALLY. THEY ARE SEWN TOGETHER JUST LIKE YOU WOULD CLOTH AND THE PATTERN IS PLACED ON TOP BUT THE PIECES ARE CUT OUT AND SEWN BACK TOGETHER INTO A GARMENT.

JOSE: LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR PIECE. AS WE SAID IT IS CALLED FAVORITE THINGS. TELL US WHAT THAT MEANS.

ANNIE LOPEZ: I AM A FOURTH GENERATION PHOENICIAN AND YOU WILL SEE THINGS OF MY LIFE. I LOVED GOING TO SEE ROAD RUNNER AND SUNS GAMES. MY FAMILY WENT TO PANCAKE HOUSE AFTER CHURCH ON SUNDAYS. THERE IS ALSO AN AD FOR THE PLAY ANNIE, WHICH I SAW AT WHAT IS NOW THE ORPHEUM. THERE IS ALSO AN AD FROM THE FIRST 35-MILLIMETER CAMERA I PURCHASED.

JOSE: WE HAVE A BANNER THAT HAS YOUR NAME BUT IT IS BLOCKING SOME ADS FOR DAIRY QUEEN.

ANNIE LOPEZ: CORRECT. DAIRY QUEEN AND METRO CENTER IS REPRESENTED IN THERE.

JOSE: LET'S LOOK AT THE NEXT ONE CALLED "MEMORIAL". THEY ARE PICTURES OF FAMILY MEMBERS I TAKE IT?

ANNIE LOPEZ: THIS IS THE DRESS MADE FOR THE DAY OF THE DEAD AND COVERED IN IMAGES OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO HAVE PASSED ON.

JOSE: VERY TIMELY BECAUSE NEXT WEEK IS DAY OF THE DEAD. TELL US, GIVE US A SENSE OF HISTORY OF THIS PIECE.

ANNIE LOPEZ: THE WHOLE BEGINNING OF THE SERIES OF THESE DRESSES WERE ALL TEXT. JUST SOLID TEXT. THIS PIECE MEANT SO MUCH TO ME BECAUSE I WAS ABLE TO REPRESENT MY FAMILY BY USING THEIR PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES IN THE DRESS. IT MADE IT SEPARATE AND SPECIAL TO ME THAT I COULD PUT THEM IN.

JOSE: THIS IS ANOTHER WAY OF HONORING THE MEXICAN TRADITION OF HONORING THE LOVED ONES WHO HAVE PASSED ON TYPICALLY WITH AN ALTER BUT THIS IS YOUR VERSION OF THAT.

ANNIE LOPEZ: IT IS. I HAVE MADE MANY ALTERS IN THE PAST BUT BY DOING THE DRESS, IT WAS A DIFFERENT WAY OF GETTING PEOPLE TO SEE WHO HAS GONE ON.

JOSE: THE NEXT PIECE ALSO VERY PERSONAL, RESULTS OF LONG-TERM MEMORY, AND YOU ARE REFERRING TO YOUR FATHER.

ANNIE LOPEZ: MY FATHER DIED OF ALZHEIMER'S AND I WAS HIS CARETAKER AT THE END. I KEPT SLIDING HIM A PEN AND ASKED HIM TO WRITE THINGS DOWN. HE OWNED A BUSINESS FOR MANY YEARS SO HE WAS USED TO WRITING THINGS DOWN MAKING INVOICES. IT WAS IMPORTANT TO TRY TO GET HIM TO WRITE SOMETHING. HE STILL KNEW HIS NAME AT THE END AND ALSO ON THE DRESS IS HIS ATTEMPT TO WRITE MY NAME. THERE IS AN ANEE -- VERY CLOSE TO MY NAME WHICH MADE BE HAPPY BECAUSE HE STILL KNEW ME AT THE END

JOSE: THE NEXT ONE IS SOMETHING WE CAN ALL RELATE TO. THINGS MY MOTHER SAID

ANNIE LOPEZ: ALL THE THINGS MY MOTHER SAID TO ME AS A TEENAGER. FIND A HUSBAND, WASH THE CLOTHES, IRON THE CLOTHES. THAT SORT OF THING.

JOSE: IS YOUR MOTHER STILL WITH US?

ANNIE LOPEZ: YES, SHE IS.

JOSE: WHAT WERE HER THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PIECE?

ANNIE LOPEZ: SHE HAS LONG AGO LAUGHED OFF ANYTHING I MAKE AND KNOWS ANYTHING SHE SAID MAY END UP IN A PIECE OF ART.

JOSE: SHE HASN'T TOLD YOU ANYTHING ABOUT BEING RESPECTFUL?

ANNIE LOPEZ: NO, NOT YET.

JOSE: ONE LAST ONE CALLED "THE TOPIC OF CONVERSATION".

ANNIE LOPEZ: RIGHT. THIS IS A VISUAL OF THE CHATTER THAT GOES ON BETWEEN FAMILY MEMBERS WHEN YOU ARE CARING FOR A SICK FAMILY MEMBER. IT IS A VISUAL SHOWING YOU HOW MUCH CHATTER THERE WAS GOING BACK AND FORTH.

JOSE: AND TEXT MESSAGES. A MODERN DAY VERSION OF COMMUNICATION.

ANNIE LOPEZ: YES.

JOSE: WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT WHERE THE EXHIBITION IS.

ANNIE LOPEZ: IT IS AT THE WALTER ART GALLERY AT 56TH STREET AND THOMAS NOVEMBER 3RD-28.

JOSE: ROBERT PALA IS THE CURATOR. HE WROTE A PIECE A FEW WEEKS AGO IN THE NEW TIMES TALKING ABOUT A NUMBER OF ISSUES INCLUDING THE RECEPTIVITY TO LATINO ARTISTS. HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED?

ANNIE LOPEZ: I STARTED OUT IN 1982 AND JOINED MARS, A LATINO ART GROUP. I DIDN'T KNOW IT AT THE TIME BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY PLACE LATINOS COULD SHOW THEIR ARTWORK. I WOULD GO OUT TO OTHER PLACES, TO GALLERIES IN SCOTTSDALE AND PHOENIX TO SHOW MY ARTWORK AND EXAMPLES FOR THE POCKETS OF AN EXHIBITION AND I WOULD ALWAYS BE TURNED AWAY. THAT IS WHEN I LEARNED WE WERE BEING REJECTED BASED SOLELY ON OUR SPANISH SURNAME OR SKIN COLOR. THINGS HAVE REALLY CHANGED AND GOTTEN TERRIFIC

JOSE: HOW SO?

ANNIE LOPEZ: THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE. THEY ARE MORE LOOKING AT OUR ARTWORK TO SEE IF IT IS GOOD ENOUGH TO SHOW IN A GALLERY OR MUSEUM AND I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE THREE YEARS AGO SHOWED A HAND SOLO EXHIBIT AT THE PHOENIX ART MUSEUM WHICH A TERRIFC EXAMPLE OF HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED. IT IS NATURAL FOR PHOENIX BUT HAS TAKEN A LONG TIME. WE ARE PART OF THE MAINSTREAM AND IF WE CHOSE WE CAN SHOW IN LATINO ART SPACES.

JOSE: IT IS GOOD TO HEAR AND IT IS GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON OUR SHOW TONIGHT. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

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