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

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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. 13 - KAREN TAUCHES—TRANSFORMING THE COMMERCIAL INTO THE SACRED / MARCH 8, 2018 Karen Tauches ( @k.tauches ) on our relationship to our environment 😍 😮 : - “We’re no longer land-based people. We are spiritual. Like, we are virtual-based, now. We’re not making our culture based on where we live and the specific environment. We have a fantasy of what the nice environments are and all we have to do is project that on to where we live. We make images—that’s where windows come in, we have screens—and it doesn’t really matter what the environment’s really like. And that’s why development in the future would be so great for us. Because go to the moon— there’s absolutely no environment there. You build a white box, and you have projectors, and you just project whatever landscape you would like to live in. And you can see, we’re already kind of doing that inside our homes.” 12 - ZIPPORAH CAMILLE THOMPSON—TO THE MOON AND BACK, SEARCHING THROUGH HIGH AND LOW /FEBRUARY 11, 2018 Peachy Keen met up with Atlanta visual artist and sculptor Zipporah Camille Thompson ( @zipporahcamille ) on the week of the rare super blue blood moon eclipse—notable in the context of Thompson’s work, which often deals with lunar activity as a subject. What would happen if the moon decided to up and leave us? We chat about this and other pressing questions amongst looms, a kiln, shelves of thread and various containers of materials in her Stone Mountain home/studio as she prepares to move everything to The Goat Farm Arts Center to begin her two year studio residency with The Creatives Project. We discuss process, starting with source imagery and materials, and moving into working methods. She gets technical with some loom talk, and we ponder the guilt associated with the refusal to "commit" to one medium, as well negotiating labels when crossing between high and low materials and techniques. We find out that the artist blood runs deep in her large, supportive family from North Carolina, and we talk about how her education took a turn from psychology to the visual arts. 11 - AMELIA BRIGGS—AVOIDING SYMMETRY, THRIFTING MATERIALS & FINDING HER OWN VOICE AS AN ARTIST /DECEMBER 27, 2017 Peachy Keen spent the evening talking art (and drinking a little wine) in the Nashville studio of artist Amelia Briggs. ( @amelia.projects )We discuss the gendered psychology of the found imagery she uses from vintage comics and children's coloring books and how she subverts narrative in her formal process, which is split between object making and painting. She talks about the subtler role that feminist content plays in her work since she's moved away from the figure as a subject, and the relationship between her materials and her viewers. While the work can be seductive on the surface, we get "deep" into some childhood memories that may inform a more sinister reading of her "Inflatables" series. 10 - KELLY KRISTIN JONES—A NEW(ISH) SOUTHERNER EXPANDS IDEAS OF PLACE SURROUNDING CIVIL WAR MARKERS / OCTOBER 29, 2017 Peachy Keen visited Kelly Kristin Jones ( @kellykristinjones ) in her studio at the Atlanta Contemporary just before the opening of her solo exhibit Cotton is Still King at the Sandler Hudson Gallery (November 2 - December 8, 2017). Jones gives us the lowdown on using her own work as a bridge to understanding both familiar and unfamiliar locations, her interest in “flipping the script” on urban landscapes and how she adjusted to the "Mars" that is Rush Week in Athens, GA, after a lifetime in Chicago. She also explains the process of collecting and producing images at Civil War historical marker sites that culminated in her current series of photographic “counter-memorials,” and why documenting seemingly small or personal events is worth the effort. 9 - FLORA ROSEFSKY—FROM "A MOTHER WHO LIKES TO DRAW" TO ARTIST /OCTOBER 1, 2017 Peachy Keen visited Artist Flora Rosefsky at her studio in Decatur, Georgia. Rosefsky has been an active member of the Women's Caucus for Art of Georgia since the chapter's inception in 2000, and discusses the organization's development and impact on her practice as an artist and activist through its thematic exhibitions. We discussed faith and family as they relate to her art-making, storytelling, and connection to the South. She explains her process working with collage techniques, and the concept of cutting, saving, and (sometimes) leaving behind material manifestations of memory. The accessibility of collage lends itself to her community workshop classes, where she specializes in reaching “non-artists." Rosefsky shares some teaching tips (such as the importance of closing a class with critique) and explains how her professors helped her transition from "a mother who likes to draw" to an artist. 8 - VERONICA KESSENICH—DIRECTOR OF THE ATLANTA CONTEMPORARY ON HER PATH SO FAR /AUGUST 22, 2017 Veronica Kessenich ( @vlkcontemp ), Executive Director of the Atlanta Contemporary, took a break from preparing for Art Party 2017 to take Peachy Keen on a behind the scenes tour of the capital improvements currently underway. We talked about her thwarted childhood dreams to become a dancer, her experiences as a student then professor at women's colleges, and her secret writing habits. She explains how she landed at the Contemporary, showing some love for her mentor, Fay Gold, along the way. And of course, she gives us the scoop on what to expect at Art Party. 7 - CHAKURA KINEARD—TALKS REBELLIOUS ART, PUBLIC EDUCATION & THE ECONOMY AS SHE PLANS HER NEXT MOVE /AUGUST 15, 2017 Chakura Kineard ( @unfilteredglitter ) invites Peachy Keen into her spacious, glitter-filled studio at the Atlanta Contemporary to talk shop. She reflects on her experiences as a woman of color navigating public education in the South, her rebellious tendencies as they relate to art-making, and the job prospects for millennials in a baby-boomer's world. We geek out discussing her use of found objects in an art historical context, but keep it real by using the all-knowing eye of Instagram as a touchstone. She shares some hilarious insights on some not-so-hilarious situations—like how to win the racists vs. non-racists "competition"—and educates us on the difference between a "loc" and a "townie" in the Athens scene.

18 episodes available. A new episode about every 33 days averaging 395 mins duration .