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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You can find more images from our studio visit on Instagram (feed below).

Last day working on the mural! I put on my straw hat this morning like Violet pulling back her hair... (Also, I woke up singing the Indiana Jones theme song🤣) Reception this Sun 5-7, y’all come celebrate with me! - - #seriesofunfortunateevents #paintinglife #murallife #fivepointsathens #womenmuralists #muralart #muralinprogress #artistselfie #artistsofinstagram #publicart Thinking about the studio chat I just had with Hannah Tarr about living with your own art— there are those rare pieces that I feel like are successful AND I can stand to live with them... (a lot of times I make purposefully ugly stuff!) This is one of those- one of my fave paintings. The first one I did using fabric with embroidery. I like to run my hands over the crazy textures... I’VE BEEN SET FREE AND I’VE BEEN BOUND 2015 Synthetic polymer paint, ink, watercolor and embroidery thread on vintage fabric and canvas 46 x 46” Invigorating studio visit with ATL artist @hanner__bannaner this morning! Can’t wait to share it with y’all on Ep 16 of #peachykeenpodcast soon...🤓🎨🍑🎤🎧 Lots o Easter eggs in this mural for the repeat viewer. 2 are visible in this pic: * Today worked on the pink “neon” lines which visually extend from the real pink neon on the front of @lrgprovisions. I think they “really tie the room together”😉... * Several colors throughout the mural are sampled from the nearby environment—I call the top aqua shown here “Avid blue” because it’s the same color as the facade of my favorite @avidbookshop across the street.🤓📚🎨❤️ Filled in the last pattern on the mural this morning. 😬 My grandmother and great-grandmother were both born in this town. Population 1000. Proper pronunciation: eck LECK tic. Attn UNG students! I’m looking for a Gallery/Painting Studio Assistant for the upcoming school year! Tell your friends- and check the UNG Hire Touch page for a full job description and/or to apply. - - 📸credit to @sarah.crowhead.curtis - who was my top notch assistant last year! 😉 #nopressure When your man is a @ugapress publicist and you have “ARCs” (advanced reader copies) for your beach read! So excited for this on so many levels- Zinn’s People’s History 🇺🇸 changed my world view when I read it in college. This book contains his diary in his last year as a Spelman prof, before he was fired, in 1963. Forward by his student, Alice Walker. The subtitle says it pretty well: #sitins #civilrights & #blackwomen s #studentactivism - The rest of y’all can check it when it’s released in Sept ;) - Robert Cohen will be speaking @decaturbookfestival In the meantime, you should go on a bike tour w @civil_bikes for some background #atlantahistory to get prepared🤓 Getting an artist as shaman vibe from these two @wiregrassmuseum today. I’m on board with that..🤓🎨🌑👻👽 1st image: @littleforest_ More Garden than Human 2nd image: @doug_baulos Phoenix (Ukuu Tafari) So so so close to finishing this mural and was pumped to work today, but mother nature’s not having it. We do have a finish line though- y’all mark your calendars for an unveiling party @lrgprovisions: Sunday, July 22nd, 5-7pm 🤓🎨⛈⚡️ I’m fighting with my favorite critic this morning. I spent weeks developing the second drawing (4 feet tall). Have quite a few pieces like this that I like, but that I liked better in their beginning stages. So this morning I drew this little sketch- FROM the finished larger work. Trying to explain to L (the 10 yr old critic) why it’s better... and thinking through how I can keep this immediacy in a more finished larger work... Hey my work won an award! In the #georgiaartists show. Thanks to @abernathyartscenter and judge, Laura Hathaway. Boys came with me to pick it up and they were mesmerized by the lovely 🍑 🎀 ...🤓

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