For The Love Of L.A.
Marvella Muro, Self Help Graphics
The extensive landscape that forms Los Angeles County is filled with many epicenters rich with multi-cultural communities, foods, sights, and sounds. As most Angelinos do, the region is experienced through cars or public transportation, causing us to not fully know the neighborhoods located in between our destinations; much less those on the other side of town. Further, the economic, concrete, and even implied boundaries that exist prevent many from accessing locations and forming ties with our neighboring communities. Ironically, COVID-19 and the quarantine have brought people of the LA together through shared grief, anger, anxiety, desperation, seeking reform, justice and answers.
Self Help Graphics & Art identified a multigenerational group of artists who offer diverse perspectives of their Love for LA through their various artistic practices.
Yaneli Delgado is a young printmaker from South LA whose prints draw attention to overlooked communities and its people. In this edition, she brings attention to neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, not excluding the systemic injustices addressed through the Black Lives Matter movement.
One can describe Manuel López’s cityscapes as a daily diary entry. Some days are similar to others, but each day is unique in its own way. His meticulous drawings capture the hilly settings of the Eastside with old rooftops and sky views filled with palm trees, the tops of tall pine trees, and electric lines. For this project, Manuel incorporates familiar sounds such as the paletero’s jingle, chirping birds, and traffic. Close your eyes, and you find yourself in Pacoima, Pomona, Wilmington, or the artist’s hometown, East Los Angeles.
There is no question that Rafael Cardenas’ devotion to the city and photography are the driving factors for his work. At the beginning of 2020, he set himself to photograph the streets of LA daily, documented through his social media. When the pandemic hit, the roads were empty except for essential workers and the Mariachis still looking for gigs. Then George Floyd was killed, and the streets were immersed with protesters. For this project, he added diverse elements to his photography by collaborating with musician Eddika Edule Organista, and five poets from different parts of the region. Together, these artists conceived a visual composition of protest, oppression, systemic racism, celebration, nostalgia, endurance and pride.
What the artists bring forth are nostalgic, contemplative images of our city that force us to think of what was and what no longer is. Spaces we take for granted; familiar landscapes, people, buildings, and street views that we stare at while daydreaming. Their work revives our memory of places we know like the back of our hand or spaces that we’ve driven by hundreds of times but never stopped. We look forward to the day when we can safely take those detours to that shop or restaurant that caught our attention and reconnect with our neighbors.
Marvella Muro is the Director of Artistic Programs and Education at Self Help Graphics. Prior to joining SHG, she was the Community Engagement Manager at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)(2016-2018), developing and executing art programs with community partners, artists, and social service groups in the neighborhoods of East Los Angeles, Compton and North Hollywood. In 2015, she joined USC Pacific Asia Museum as Executive Assistant to the Director where she co-developed public programs with the Education Department and oversaw the day to day logistics of the museum. In 2012, she oversaw the installation of the exhibition, In Wonderland: Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States at LACMA and developed its programming. From 2012-2015 she worked with the Chinese and Korean Art Department overseeing grants, programming, and assisting with the gallery rotations and installations. She has a B.A. in Art History from Cal State University, Fullerton and earned her M.A. in Arts Management from Goucher College.