Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Professor Lopez


My name is Alma Lopez.  I am a Los Angeles based queer Chicana visual artist.  I was invited by the UCLA LGBT Studies and Chicana/o Studies departments to teach a course on Queer Arts in Los Angeles.

I created this image as a self portrait.  Photographs can capture our likeness, but do not capture us completely.  By creating this self portrait, I can add elements which are important to me, and say more about me than what can be captured in one snapshot.

First of all, I selected a photograph which I took in my car with my iPhone several months ago after leaving my optometrist’s office with my new red prescription eyeglasses.  This photo was obviously taken before the heat wave we are suffering through now because I am wearing a hoodie and a raincoat.

In the background, I have placed one of my favorite images.  It is a Viceroy butterfly.  This is an icon which often appears in my visual work.  Years ago, I found this butterfly when I was flipping through a book in search of a Monarch butterfly.  I was looking for the Monarch butterfly because it is well-known for it's migration pattern between the U.S. and Mexico.  The parent butterfly travels either to the U.S. or Mexico to reproduce.  Then, it's child returns home, either to the U.S. or Mexico.  That child butterfly is returning on genetic memory.  I wanted to include it in my work to illustrate concepts of generational migrations and genetic memory.

In my search for a Monarch, I was fortunate to encounter the Viceroy butterfly.  They both look alike, except that the Viceroy has a horizontal line across its secondary wings.  I felt that this butterfly could illustrate queer because although it is part of a community of butterflies, it is slightly different.

One of my favorite words is Mnesic.  The definition of this word is pertaining to memory.  I feel that my work is about memory or re-membering.

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