14 - Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz—Tapping into a Legacy of Body and Effort to Level the Playing Field


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 Vivian Liddell and Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz

Vivian Liddell and Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz

Peachy Keen headed down to Orlando, Florida for Spring Break and met up with local artist and educator Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz. Bronx-born to Puerto Rican parents, Raimundi-Ortiz talks us through her teenage years attending the fabled “Fame” school (LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts) and creating her Wepa Woman superheroine.

She explains how she got schooled at Skowhegan and Rutgers (hanging around with such highfalutin art-world characters as Robert Storr) where she learned to use her own body to tell her own story on her own terms as a performance artist. She breaks down how her hilarious "Ask Chuleta" character ended up on YouTube and we talk at length about teaching with what she calls "cultural spackle" to fill in the gaps that may be missing in students' education.

Ever wonder what to say when your Uber driver finds out you’re an artist and asks “What’s the big deal with Mondrian?” Raimundi-Ortiz knows how to walk the lines and switch the codes and she’s got your answer.

 Studio view of work in progress from the Reinas (Queens) Series

Studio view of work in progress from the Reinas (Queens) Series

 Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz performance: The Pietà Project .

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz performance: The Pietà Project.

 Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz as "Ask Chuleta"

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz as "Ask Chuleta"

Related Links:

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, National Portrait Gallery IDENTITY: Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, SkittLeZMusicTV, Townie Tourist

Contemporary artists referenced in this episode: Abigail DeVille, Tara Donovan, Gabriel Orozco, Wangechi Mutu, Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt, Fred Wilson, Whitfield Lovell, Rackstraw Downes, Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Nikki S. Lee, LaToya Ruby Frazier

Want to support Peachy Keen? Consider leaving a review on iTunes, or visit our Patreon Page to make a financial contribution and get cool stuff!

Follow @peachykeenpodcast on Instagram for announcements, news & of course, more pics. 👇

20 - TOMMY MCCLURE SCANLIN—ON TEACHING, LEARNING & TAPESTRY /NOVEMBER 19, 2018 Artist Tommye Scanlin ( @bittersweettapestrystudio )sat down with Peachy Keen at her loom in her Dahlonega, Georgia, studio to discuss teaching, learning, and tapestry on the eve of her second retirement from teaching. We got deep into the history of the University of North Georgia art department, where she taught for 28 years and was appointed Professor Emerita in 2002. Raised by a single mother, Scanlin attended college on scholarships and learned early on to balance her teaching career with her artistic practice. She described the role that her teacher, mentor, and then-colleague Bob Owens played in shaping her career, and she passed on some serious teaching wisdom centered on the desire to learn and the willingness to make mistakes. Scanlin is a dedicated studio artist with a rigorous daily practice and uses her own paintings for inspiration as she creates large scale tapestries. She breaks down her process, how she arrives at her imagery, and how her paintings and tapestries relate to each other. When the studio gets too quiet, Scanlin listens to—what else?!—podcasts! She gives us a few recommendations. Talked to @hayleekitties and @angela_bortone of @livingmelodycollective in ATL this morning. Can’t wait to introduce y’all to this busy group of women artists working together with purpose on Episode 21 soon... 🤓🍑🎤🎧🎤🍑🤓 Caught up with artist and educator Tommye Scanlin ( @bittersweettapestrystudio ) in Dahlonega today! Check out our convo soon on episode 20 🎧🎤🤓🍑🤓🎤🎧 Episode 19 is now live: JENNY FINE—EXPLORING WHITE IDENTITY IN THE RURAL SOUTH THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY AND PERFORMANCE /OCTOBER 15, 2018 - Peachy Keen met up with artist Jenny Fine ( @fannieamericus )in the upstairs classroom of the Wiregrass Museum in Dothan, Alabama on a hot Friday afternoon in early October. ( Thanks @wiregrassmuseum 🤓) We discussed the influence that many strong creative women have had on her career—most notably that of her grandmothers (who both play an important role in her work) and of Ann Hamilton (a world-renowned installation artist who Fine studied under and then later apprenticed). - Fine elaborates on how her interest in the wet-collodion process and post-mortem photography is related to her “Flat Granny” series—which references the “Flat Daddy” photographic cutouts used by military families to help maintain a presence at home for deployed loved ones. We also get the lowdown on her performances and current stop motion film (link on Peachy Keen page in bio) as they relate to her family history and her still photography. - In our talk, Fine explains how her personal narratives have allowed her to enter a larger discussion about white identity in the rural South, and we tiptoe into the minefield of racially charged regional iconography and customs depicted in her work that include the boll weevil, peanuts, and the pageantry of local parades and clogging. - Image 1: 📷Jenny Fine. Daddy Dancing with Flat Granny, 2013, archival pigment print. Image 2: Jenny Fine and @vivianliddell @wiregrassmuseum classroom Great chat with @fannieamericus today @wiregrassmuseum — can’t wait to share with you guys soon. In the meantime, you should check out her work— she uses film (still and stop motion) and performance to create some spectacular family narratives that are thought provoking and ask some tough questions about white southern identity. Episode 18 with @courtneysanbornart is now live. Thanks 🙏 to @mintatl for letting us use their space to record. We had a super fun chat that included talk of painting, embroidery, penises as prehensile tails, demons AND power lifting! if you want to hear a lot of giggling this is the episode for you. Here we are in front of @kerrkerrkerrkerr ‘s work from his solo show at MINT—go if you haven’t seen it— it closes this Saturday! 16 - HANNAH TARR—FOCUSING ON PROCESS OVER PRODUCT IN THE AGE OF INSTAGRAM / JULY 27, 2018 Hannah Tarr on how Instagram has affected her process: - “I’ve deleted the app. I’ve like told myself I’m not allowed to go on it. It just makes me sad. … I’ve found that I see other people’s works sneaking into mine and I see mine sneaking into others that follow me too much lately. And I’m wanting to kind of be more secretive and under wraps at least until I have enough that I feel like I’m ready to show, or I have the opportunity to show a bunch of work. And then it’s unleashed and it’s gonna wow everyone and be awesome… - But it’s weird. I think I look at things differently. I measure up myself differently and my own work differently. I think about the product instead of the process a lot more. Because I’m just seeing these images; I’m seeing so many images. ... And I’m like “Oh this is good” and “I like this painting”… But I don’t think about what it is that gives me the subtle joys. Why I love painting is surprising myself and making little jokes in my head and having fun with kind of what turns up. And Instead when I’m like “Oh my painting looks like this” or “it needs to be this”— I get too focused on the end result. And I think that that’s a product of looking at too much right now, but not in person…” 15 - YVONNE STUDEVAN—UNCOVERING HISTORY AND INCREASING REPRESENTATION THROUGH PAINTING / MAY 11, 2018 Yvonne Studevan ( @vyvonnestudevan ) on how her family history relates to her artwork: - “I could just feel my heart jump out of my chest. … I didn’t like speaking in front of a group when I was a kid. … I didn’t like writing reports. And I didn’t like history. You know, having to go back and study all those people. I was like who wants to remember “1492 somebody sailed the ocean blue”—you know, all those type things. It was not until I could relate the history to me that I really started developing my passion. It’s like, when I watched movies about the Alamo as a child, I never knew that any people who were African Americans served in the Texas Revolution until I was contacted by somebody from Texas to say that, you know your ancestor was killed by Santa Anna and inherited 2040 acres of land and we need you to verify this. And I was like verify this?! I don’t know anything about this! And so, I started reading through all the wills—because Richard Allen had a will, and all of his children had wills. And I had copies of them. So, I read through my great-great-great grandmother’s will, and she said the property in Texas is to be sold for the education of my grandchildren. That was the thing that they needed. The stories are out there, and nobody knows about them. And I’m just like, well, I can tell the story orally and I can draw the pictures and let people know. I guess that’s my new passion in life.” 4 - WANDA RAIMUNDI-ORTIZ—TAPPING INTO A LEGACY OF BODY AND EFFORT TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD / APRIL 1, 2018 - Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz ( @wanda_raimundi ) on the legacy of body and effort in her performance art: - So here I am at Skowhegan—all of a sudden—you can use your body to tell a story!? But I thought artists only drew on pad and paper? You’re not an artist if you’re not using, you know, canvas or paper. Wait a minute, you can do that? Awww shit! Here we go! And it felt like an avenue opened up… I was able to use my body to make other work. - When I was there I had a strange interaction with a woman—who ended up being, you know, I would consider her a friend—but this interaction around hand washing underwear and then hanging them in the shower. That’s something my mother taught us to do and then it ended up being like this weird class thing. And so then I started thinking. I started drawing connections— between the idea of washing your clothes by hand in the shower as a way to sort of always maintain kind of clean underwear because you don’t have much—to this connection to my mother. To her growing up without literacy. To her. To the stories that she told me about having to wash clothes in the river and having to go to the creek and gathering firewood. And cooking on stones... she grew up post-Depression Puerto Rico. Illiterate, in the hills, no money, poor. …All of a sudden, I was like ok-there’s a reason. The hand washing is bigger than just keeping a clean pair of panties. There’s a legacy. There’s a legacy of body and effort. … In some strange way, I’m trying to connect to this history, to this legacy.

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