Tag Archives: sculpture

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.