For The Love Of L.A.
For The Love of L.A. is a collage of poetry, photography and music forged within this moment of social distancing and political uprising. Each contributor offers a glimpse of places and memories that exemplify their slice of Los Angeles. This ride through our historically fragmented city reminds us of both the rich diversity, plight and beauty that has always defined Los Angeles, the depth of our shared experiences, and the urgent need to stand together in the face of oppression. Though rooted in the urgency of the moment the memories span seven lifetimes in five minutes.
Rafael Cardenas was born in 1971 in Jalisco, Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles. A self-taught photographer, he is known for his compelling street photography chronicling the daily rhythms of Los Angeles and its people. He approaches his subjects with the humane empathy of an insider, whether he is creating intimate portraits of strangers, or focusing his lens on buildings and streetscapes. At times meditative and vibrant, his potent images record the dynamism of a city in flux. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions at La Plaza De Cultura y Artes, Los Angeles (2018), the Vincent Price Art Museum, Monterey Park (2018), Espacio 1839, Los Angeles (2016), and Eastside Luv, Los Angeles (2010). He has participated in group exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s We Rise LA Pop Up (2019), Self Help Graphics & Art, Los Angeles (2017), Grand Park, Los Angeles (2017), and La Bodega Gallery, San Diego (2017), among others.
Composer: Eddika Edule Organista
Poets: Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Josh Evans, Féi Hernandez, Jenise Miller and Jasmine Williams
What does "For the Love of LA" mean to you?
That is a loaded question for me. I have always repped and loved LA. It's a huge part of who I am as a person and as an artist. Los Angeles is like a mother to me as well as a grandmother and ancient ancestor. I literally breathe it, walk on its highest peaks and ride inside of its belly. I have sat on high hills and imagined mastodon and smilodon roaming. I have affection for the dirt beneath the concrete.
I love L.A. deeply.
How do you think the work you've created reflects the time we're in?
This video casts a net around a few lifetimes and encapsulates a pill for you to take at this moment. We reflect this moment because we were handed this prompt now. If we had this assignment last summer there would have been a different outcome. So as we looked in the mirror of our self and our city 'now'. We produced a piece that was very much in the time we're in. From the words in the poetry to the images selected, the filter was pandemic, uprising, surviving and growth.
What do you think the future looks like? And how do you see the arts contributing to it?
If destruction leads to growth, we should be expecting a great harvest one day. I'm hoping that people in the immediate future will continue this conversation of change and equity in all aspects of our lives so that down the road we have implemented positive changes. The arts heal, uplift, inspire and inform. Art is at the forefront of change. I can only see artists continuing to improve their voices and messages.
What places in Los Angeles most inspire you?
The Eastside, east of the L.A. river, definitely inspires my work. I also find a lot of mental inspiration from hiking Debs Park and Griffith.
Do you have any future projects that you'd like to share with us?
I will be part of a touring group show curated by LACMA. The dates have been pushed from August to January. I am cuurrently working on a 365 day photo series. You can find it on my website. www.rafa.LA