Tag Archives: art

The Longest Dream (12.30.09)

27 Mar

Part One: Lost

I was lost in the wilderness,
Attempting to escape claws and tangling ravines.
A wilderness that held my true colors and passions,
But my colors faded away into everything else.
I needed to stand out,
I had to stand alone,
By myself.
 
Lost in transitions,
I ran in multiple directions.
My own path was windy,
Filled with distractions,
Filled with guilt,
Filled with curiosity,
Filled with doubt.
 

Part Two: I Want To Be Art

An October day offered me new colors. It placed a brush and pallet in my hands.
I was gifted a magical wall and the love flowed out of me.
My colors blended into the concrete, becoming one.
And I became a little girl again.
Nothing mattered, except the present;
You didn’t matter.
He didn’t matter.
And neither did she.
It was just me and the colors of life.
Colors of creation.
With Mountains and Oceans,
The Lightning and Fire,
The Rain Drops and Snow Flakes,
The Clouds and the four Winds,
The Rainbow and the Seashells,
The Flowers and Trees,
I danced cumbias with them all.
 
Somehow it made sense,
This is what everyday should look like…
This is what life should be…
Creation and Art.
 
A wish, a want, a need was born!
I wish to paint like the wind does, all across the sky.
I want to be movement the way the mountains rise.
I need to reach my dreams and the passing clouds.
I want to create.
I want to be Art.
 

Part Three: Doubt

But I doubted myself,
I doubted my destiny.
Unknowing where to begin or continue,
Love laughed at me,
Love made me feel ashamed,
Love made me want to disappear,
And yet I held onto love with all my strength.
I doubted who I needed to become.
A daughter who could be responsible,
A writer who could be infinite with words,
A painter who could paint walls around the world,
A friend who could listen, give time and compassion.
A woman of wisdom who flies with the owls and speaks only when needed.
A woman to share love with all who are worthy.
I was drenched in confusion,
Distracted without a core.
I could not be there for myself,
I prayed for my solitude.
I yelled at the past,
I made a mess of the present,
I denied the future,
I denied myself.
 

Part Four: The Need To Know

I needed to leave.
All these questions and doubts needed an answer.
I needed to know what my destiny would become.
So I flew off,  over pink mountains, past superstitious roads, and crawled up a mountain of Turtles.
I arrived and I prayed,
For everyone.
Myself,
I could not forget myself.
I thanked the ancestors,
I thanked the Hawk, the Crows, and the Ladybugs that joined me on my journey.
The Rock held me up,
The Sun began to set amongst the most expansive Sky I ever saw,
Dusk lasted a lifetime.
And the Cold moved in amongst the heat of the Fires.
 
I descended into the Arroyo,
The smell and dampness allowed me to remember.
I walked into my dream,
The Eagle and the Bat were one in the same
It was me, it was I
 
I was in the middle of my spiral,
my own transformation.
I felt lost searching for a place to call home by midnight.
Then a stranger showed me the way,
A stranger like an angel.
He shared love stories with me,
I shared my stories as well.

“There are no guarantees.”
“Stop being afraid,
Let love be love”, he said.
 
It made me nervous so i walked away.
 
Outside the cold went thru my spine,
I shook it off and starred at the tree.
Completely leafless,
But filled with spirits,
We looked up into the branches.
Two little love birds gave each other warmth.
The Tree did not protect them from the weather,
They just had each other.
This is all they needed,
Love.
 

Part Five: The Longest Dream

I dreamt the longest dream,
I met the older me.
She held my hand and answered my questions;
You are a painter.
You are a writer.
You are a daughter.
You are a dreamer.
You are a lover.
You are magic.
 
In my dream I had wings,
I glided with the Clouds,
The Road below was umber,
The Hawk was my guardian,
The Sky above was every yellow, orange and blue that ever existed.
I Woke up with the sun and chased it all the way to the ocean’s side
The west side, the wild-west, the concrete jungle that waits…
 
As the sun set I realized I was ready
Ready to love, forgive, be challenged, be blessed…
I am ready grandmother.
I am ready grandfather.
I laughed and cried with the wind.
I am ready.
The greatest me has arrived.
Into the city of angels,
I return to join you.
I am not waking up yet, I am living my dream…
 
Advertisements

Nada es imposible!

22 Nov

Often times I’ve dreamed and hoped that one day ill get to travel and paint walls.  Even though walls are by far my favorite way of doing an art piece, they are not always the easiest to find…legally. Needless to say that combining the dream of painting on walls abroad has seemed far fetched…

And then I was in Xela sitting at Cafe R.E.D.. I got to talk to the owner, Willy, and pretty soon i learned a whole history of activism, revolution, spirituality, hopes, and dreams. Cafe R.E.D. is an awesome space with food, music, poetry, and film nights.  The walls are covered with amazing murals and photography. I mentioned to Willy that I was also an artist and he surprised me by inviting me to paint at the cafe. I said YES! and I returned the following week with brushes and a sketch book in my hands. The wall i painted was on a cute little balcony on the 2nd floor overlooking the cafe’s patio. 

my sister Maria helping out her little sister paint!

I learned that paint back at home in LA is really good paint bc what I was working with was kind of a hassle. It took several layers of paint to get the true colors out. Ni modo. It was part of the experience and it was still fun...

Almost done... it's the details that complete the vision ...

It’s a compliment when other’s think an art piece is done and it’s really not. It’s only done when the artist thinks its done. The details complete the vision. The vision lies within.

Soy Libre, ~7' x 5', 2011 (c)

The text reads: “Soy libre como el colibri. Vuelo desde las montanas Inkas hasta los templos Mayas. Al segui mi vuelo visito templos de Teotihuacan. Descanzo en tierras del Huichol y tomo medicina. A un mas lejos llego con amigos Apache, Navajo, Hopi, y Chumash…”

Because CAFE R.E.D.’s birth comes from a story of migration and a fight for liberation I wanted to paint a mural that proclaimed freedom. Birds are a representation of freedom for me and the only bird that is found in both North, Central, and South America are Hummingbirds. The flower has the America’s painted on it because our lands are beautiful, majestic, and fruitful. I painted a Mayan glyph symbol of the moon to honor divine femininity. And that more or less is my piece in Guatemala.

I feel really happy about contributing art in Guatemala. I would love to paint again and again in Guate. There are many huge cinder block walls that need color. Graffiti has been coming up in Guate… maybe next time ill get to spray paint…

Graffiti and Street Paving in Xela

As i continued my own flight across the America’s, my next stop was Panama. I shared some of this experience on my previous blog, aqui. The last two nights in Panama i stayed at a hostel in the historic town of Panama City. Panama City sits on the Pacific Ocean side and it is crazy, it has overgrown immensely, lending itself to tourism. (PIX will be uploaded later) Colon, which is the canal’s city on the Atlantic side is a mess… it seemed to me that it is forgotten and poverty overrides the streets. The Panama Canal expansion is set to open in 2014 and Panama City is very much rapidly changing and preparing itself for its GRAND Opening to the world. The canal is indeed impressive, even more impressive is the amount of cargo that passes through. Most of it going to the States where we consume, consume, and consume… Anyways, I learned alot about the history of Panama and there’s still so much more to understand.

All that to say that I was in the historic, colonial looking side of Panama City sitting in a hostel when i read that they need art in exchange for free a room. So i asked and that same afternoon I began painting… the only colors they had were purple and white… ni modo …

Nade es Imposible!, 5' x 8', 2011

The turtle says: Nada es imposible, tienes toda tu vida para alcanzar tus suenos… Nothing is impossible, you have your whole life to reach all of your dreams.

I wrote as a reminder for myself and a womyn named Maria, she works at the hostel cleaning rooms and she came to peek at my painting. We ended up talking for a good hour and she shared with me the story of her children. Her oldest daughter is 21 and she birthed her when she was only 17. Her daughter recently graduated from college and she told me that her daughter’s success was also her own success and dreams reached. We talked alot but i mentioned to her what I learned about turtle wisdom, which is that they know they have their whole life time to do everything they want to do. I remind myself to take it easy, i will reach my dreams, we all do… and so far I got to paint on walls in Guatemala and in Panama…I hope there’s a wall for me in Colombia…

Witness to a feminist movement in Guatemala

25 Oct

I made it! To Guatemala. The plane ride sucked. I left LAX at 2am and woke up from time to time on the plane. When the sunrise showed thru the window, it was absolutely beautiful. A thin orange and red glow outlined the top of mountains and the navy darkness covered the rest of the open sky. 

On Monday I went to check out my friend Kimberly Bautista’s film, Justice For My Sister. This film is about a womyn and her relentless efforts to fight impunity and convict the murderer of her sister. Even though her family is threatened, she continues to fight head on for her sister. In the struggle for her sister, she opens a fight larger than herself. It is a fight where a whole nation of womyn are seeking justice and an end to impunity. It was shown at a gathering of organizers preparing themselves to take on a nation wide campaign to help womyn against violence. My cousin, my mom and sister went with me. I’m so glad that they went. 

I had not seen the film in LA. But I am glad I saw it in Guatemala. The discussion after the film was so raw and truthful.   Every womyn that spoke yesterday has a personal story to share about how patriarchy and machismo has hurt them in their lives. One womyn shared how she hid her pregnancy until the day after she graduated from school. She was afraid her father would not let her finish her education. There is an ever growing urgency by womyn to demand an end to a culture that has allowed womyn to be mistreated, under-educated, raped, and killed. 

Violence against womyn happens at so many levels in Guatemala and around the world. But i sense a movement that is only growing bolder, stronger, and louder. This movement is telling boys and men to help womyn take care of the home. It is pleading with men to stop hitting their partners and instead learn to communicate and create harmony at home. It is telling men to take responsibility within their fatherhood. It’s telling society to respect single mothers. That a womyn’s body belongs her and not to a man or the state. This movement has recognized that their is war on womyn’s bodies and it needs to end. 

Silence is ending. Today i went to a womyn’s art festival, El Festival Ixchel. It is a 2 week long series of events organized by womyn. They have created spaces for womyn to showcase their art, sculpture, photography, graffiti, film, poetry, and music. Tonight i saw a series of short films made by Guatemalan womyn. Each film is dynamic, taking on multiple issues that affect womyn. One of my favorite short films was done by a collective of Indigenous womyn from Solola named Asociación Centro de mujeres comunicadora mayas “Nutzij”. You can check here and here to learn about them.

I am witnessing a feminist movement in my mother’s homeland. It is not a new movement, but it is colorful. It makes sense, Guatemala is very colorful! 

Love and Live in Los Angeles

27 Mar

On 1.11.11, a couple of amazing friends of mine organized a beautiful event called Love and Live in L.A. The intention was to bring people together and acknowledge the ways in which we struggle living in this city, as well as to celebrate the ways in which we love and live in this amazing city. About 200 people came together to see art, and listen to poetry, songs, spoken word, and hip hop. We felt each other’s stories. We completed circles meeting people for the first time. For many of us, it was reunity.

Diana, curator, poet, and organizer, along with Skim, gave a beautiful introduction to welcome everyone to the space at KIWA. (the intro and recap of the event is in the video below) Diana spoke of the definitions of love that we have yet to create. Reflecting on 2010, the question was, “How do we love and live in L.A.” In finding an answer she quotes Bell Hookes so that we can build with one another and thrive in our city, “Love is the commitment to another person’s spiritual growth”.  This is so deep bc recognition of someone’s spirit would allow us to see plainly how we affect another being. If we bring true love and happiness to those we love, their spirit will clearly tell us.  Above all though, we must recognize our own spirits, love ourselves,and let it evolve by being in the practice of love with those around us.

I took in the sights and sounds of this beautiful event, experiencing past, present and future simultaneaously. It brought memories of my past and how i learned to love and become one with this city. I was present with other artists and friends. And during an interview that Diana filmed and shared at the event, I stated my future. I walked away with very deep and diverse set of emotions bc this event became more personal to me than I had ever expected. When reflecting on how I came to love L.A., i realized that it had happened through a past relationship. I fell in love with this city and I fell in love with art while falling in love with a past boyfriend of mine. I became emotionally connected to this event. Being at Love and Live also reminded me that it was this kind of space that cultivated my love for this city and inspired me to grow into an artist. I am grateful for everyone that has shared their love, creativity and beauty with me. I love this crazy city… i trully deeply love this city because of the wonderful friendships and experiences i’ve been blessed to have. I give thanks for being able to feel this, being reminded of this, and for living and loving in L.A.

Some thoughts on Sculpture

14 Sep

In my sculpture class I was asked, “what is sculpture?”. this is not my best answer but an answer that is developing….

Being of Mayan decent, I have seen monumental sculptures all my life. I have seen small sculptures created in front of me by vendors and artists selling on the streets in Guatemala. I have been to Tikal, Peten and I have seen  pyramids and12 ft sculptures. When the question was first posed in class, I was confused about how to answer it. But the Siquieros exhibition made me remember my own ancestry.  I can see further now, about what sculpture has been throughout time and throughout the world. Sculptures have told stories of kingdoms, villages, and tribes. They have been used to record and document our understandings of the universe mathematically, physically, and spiritually. Tribes that carved out totem poles created masterpieces representing power and spirit. If I can acknowledge what sculpture has been in the past it is easier to talk about what it is in 2010.

Art, including sculpture, seems to be a lot more focused on creating a conceptual meaning and understanding to it. There is a series of work that is created by an artists with an over arching theme or concept attached to it. It seems driven through academia and theory. And then again, I haven’t been part of that art world. Seeing the work of Siquieros, he did not need to write a huge paper as to the conceptual meaning and theory that drove his work. It was simply explained in one sentence or word that was used as the title of his murals and sculptures, i.e. Man the Master and Not the Slave of Technology or Portrait of the Bourgeoise.

Art is dynamic and exponentially challenging critics as to what is considered art. Is graffiti and wheat pasting art or vandalism? I ran into a book that talks about street art as art that serves humanity, much like public art is talked about. Except one is funded by contractors, transit authorities or government offices, and the other is funded by broke artists pushing society to reconsider their environments and social standings.

Where do sculptures fit? More of it will make sense through out my process in this class. I have experienced installations and sculptures in ways that deeply impact my mind. I saw an installation at the beginning of the summer by a Cal Arts MFA graduate. She recreated a life size model of a toy called “The Victim”:

She layed the sculpture  on the floor and as soon as I approached it I thought it looked like a woman getting raped. I began to study the installation and I found out why this sculpture existed. The artist provided examples of places where this toy was sold and a history of feminist women’s groups asking toy stores to remove this item from their shelves. Even more interesting was a video installation that recorded the responses by cyber writers to a film involving a rape scene. The responses talked about masturbating to the scene, other’s who did not feel it was wrong to recreate scenes like that in the movies, other people who said they had seen “better” rape scenes” Nothing else was provided but my friend and I figured that some of the comments, which were grotesque, were made that way because of the anonymity that exists in cyber space. We began to analyze patriarchal culture in the mainstream and how this toy allows for women to be constantly be portrayed/become victims of violence. This sculpture installation involved a typed history, a video, a comic book, the actual toy, and brought in the world wide web.

Sculpture and installations can be powerful when a strong message is intended to be delivered during its creation process. Sculptures can be wacky. Art is art and it why is it constantly being defined, and who has the right or the “authority” to say what it is, and what it is not. Art critics are annoying, but slowly I am becoming one myself.  I just wish people weren’t so snooty when talking about art. Art should simply be open to interpretation. Siquieros says, “Art is for the people”.

Design sketches of my future

29 Aug

Since the 13th Moon i began to move into a new moon, a new phase for myself as an artist. I began to ask myself challenging question about who Ana Ruth Castillo wants to be as an artist. It is difficult to walk through these journeys called life, love, and careers. Without a map, my navigational tools have become my heart and intuition. With these tools i was able to sketch some ideas about what my future could look like… they are all possible, but require focus & commitment to working the plan out.

I considered doing an artist residency in Bolivia, Morocco, Berlin, Thailand… i discovered countless possibilities and opportunities outside of the country for artists. I imagined leaving the continent for 2 or 3 years… but reality held my feet down. This summer life has been teaching me to be more responsible and more professional. I have felt some heavyness around my responsibilities towards my family, but i realized that I am choosing to take care of things at home, so i have to stop victimizing myself and just step up. Changing the way I think about these things helps me move forward with greater strength and victory. For now I am staying put, but I am still dreaming.

I had a dream that I went back to school. I woke up and began to search for MFA programs. I began to see the academic/professional world of art. It gave me new insight about this world that I wanted to enter. It opened my mind to different types of art that I can engage with and found myself most interested in public art. I really wanted to be an art student, but a $60,000 degree told me to figure it out some other way.

I began an internship this summer with muralist Ricardo Mendoza, whose work I truly admire because his art is never small. He goes big, and designs with great ambition… I relate. I began assisting in the production of a ceramic, glass, and aluminum mural that he designed. This public art piece measures 19 ft x 19ft and its gonna be installed at the entrance of Monterey Park Library. I have been cutting and organizing hundreds of clay pieces. They are then fired up into ceramic pieces. We are about to start glazing them with beautiful colors. The process has been a great learning experience and this is what I enjoy the most.

When i first began this internship I did not mind the added hours of work to my schedule. I did not think too much about the events or parties I would miss… but after a month into it i began to miss my friends. It did not help to see pictures of my friends on the facebook as theyre smiling and laughing at an event or gathering i should have been a part of. I tried not to let it get to me and remind myself that I was making good use of my time. And i have been, but 2 months into this, i realized that work needs to be balanced by friends.

I love my friends. They are amazing, strong, creative, beautiful womyn that I admire. I figured out that I need my friends for dancing, laughing, and just being. I’ve been critical of my productivity as a person and i thought that spending time with friends was not very productive… but indeed, i have to see my friends in order to continue on this journey with happiness. Its simple, friends bring me happiness.

Love also brings me happiness. This past summer I have been building a beautiful relationship with a person that i adore and admire. Since we first met there was magic in the air. Its been a crazy journey with this person so far, a journey both us thought was only going to last a few weeks. We did not know what would unfold, we just kinda went with things. We found each other in similar places and understood the type of space we wanted. We began to cultivate together and found seeds of love to plant. (awww, cheesy…)  A relationship is truly bound by healthy communication. Some of our conversations have not been easy, downright scary or painful sometimes, but we have gone through them, making ourselves vulnerable to each other, but finding and holding the love that glows between us. He has challenged my notions of love, commitment, and companionship. With him i realized that i did not want my past traumas to define my future.

What lies ahead in the future? Only the stars know. But what is certain is that I am going to back to school. I won’t be paying $15,000 per semester, instead it’ll cost me a couple hundred dollars. This I can afford. I am taking a sculpture class and an introductory course to architecture. Im going 3-D! This is where my art and creativity needs to move to. Canvas art has been a blessing for expression… but i am expanding in more directions. I hope to outline my career a little better and figure out what I want to do for a longer run. Its very hard for such an eclectic womyn like me. Not too long ago I wanted to be a radio journalist/writer. Which I was. I did radio production for 2 years and transmitted to Guatemala, weekly! I also started this blog, que no.

Anyways, I’m curious enough about architecture to figure out what possibilities exist there. I am also looking forward to sculpting with clay, stone, & wood. There’s also a muralism class that would be worth doing. Im excited about learning and school. I want to be able to fit school into my weekly grind. Most important would be to finish all the classes i commit to successfully.

Well i’ve explored many possibilities about my future since my Solo exhibition. I have done my research and will continue to do so as i figure out the most colorful and promising path to take. I hope I get to do an MFA program, but I hope to find some scholarships for it. I want to build my career, my art, and my passions. I want my friends and family to always be part of the journey. I’ve been very introverted this summer, but it’s been for a good cause, my future.

The 13th Moon

21 May

I am inviting you to my first solo…excuse me, SOLA art exhibition. I am really excited about finally getting here. I am bringing all my pieces together, from 2006 to 2010 and making a small little Zine available too… check it out:

I remember drawing in my notebooks, maybe a napkin, it didnt matter what surface, but there i was drawing. Someone would notice and ask, “Oh, are you an artist”. I would look up, smile if i felt like it, and answered, “No”… I would continue scribbling and drawing away.

My soul knew i was an artist before i ever knew it. my mind was restless and always had the need to create something. Now i sit, seemingly quiet, as if i was not noticing the world around me, but i see it, i hear it, i feel it, but i transfer it into my drawings.

I am still asked, “Are you an artist?” …

I look up, smile, and answer, “Yes! I am an artist, a painter, and a writer”. The conversation continues…

“What do you do, what mediums do you use?”

“Acrylic, spray paint, glitter, water colors, pastels, markers, deco’s, pencils, linocut prints, anything i can use…”

I’m glad i finally embraced my artistry, my creativity, my spirit. Its been a journey, a process, to get to a more confident place. Now I just want to paint more and more, bigger and bigger, create installations, write more poetic verses in my pieces, cut out stencils, and learn more techniques. I love exhibitions, gallery openings, and talking to artists. I love hearing stories, and i am thankful when i meet a mentor, someone that shares their work with me.

Actually, this is where I am gonna call some people out because they have inspired the artist in me: Timoi, Doug Miles of Apache Skateboards, Sonji, Judy Baca, Carlos Rogel, Raul the Hater of Mictlan Murals, Carlos Gallegos, Andres Rivera, Amalia Mesa-Bains, and tons of other graffiteros & muralists. Of course there’s lots more; poets, musicians, play writers, and journalists. I am continuously inspired, and thats all an artist can ask for 🙂