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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Changes

Hi everyone,
So originally I was going to do a recreation of Kissing Doesn't Kill but due to multiple set backs, I had to change the direction of it.
I'm happy to share this new poster because of all the last minute help I had from both my homie and my sister.
It is representative of my identity and my love for not just the city but my hometown in particular, K-town. The picture was taken at the intersection of third and normandie, which is where I spent many of my younger days.
Enjoy.

Monday, February 22, 2016

David Wojnarowicz


David Wojnarowicz's famous photo above made me Think directly to my knowledge of Ron Athey. After some googling, I came to learn that they were going just seven years apart and in different mediums were both pushing to create awareness and recognition of the AIDS epidemic. Wojnarowicz's photos express an intensity by altering the portriat of his own face wth the sowing of his mouth shut using needle and thread. Although all the footage from "Fire in my Belly" was shot by Wojnarowicz on his travels, the work presented in the form of a compilation video has a noticeably different tone then the body of work he is famous for. It was also interesting to hear about the controversy that surrounded the film, in the way that is focused on the image of a cross with ants crawling all over it. My first thought to what the social objection would be to Wojnarowicz work would be the video documentation of the self piercing process threading the string through his upper and lower lip. Body mutilation as an act was taboo to say the lease but the relgious right wing parties could clam hate-speech if it defaced the cross and could pushed towards censoring the film. The David Wojnarowicz contravery also started censorship marches in his name and his documentry was shown nationally. I'd love to explore his art practice.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hammer Museum: Catherine Opie - Extra Credit



These were just a few of the portraits featured in Catherine Opie's portraits exhibit at the Hammer Museum. As you can see, there's a certain similarity and uniformity to each portrait that almost makes you want to know about each person even more. Each portrait consists of either a rectangular or oval frame, with a black background and an illuminated face. Reading the pamphlet for the exhibit, it was interesting to find out that each individual was a personal friend of Opie's, each somehow involved in the arts. It seems to me that even though Opie knows each of her subjects intimately, she wanted their individual personalities to be rather masked, as each person has the same unknowable look. But at the same time, it is almost this blankness that invites the viewer to pause and stay for a moment with each image. The curator of the exhibit wrote about the way that our culture views a portrait, in the form of a selfie, with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Opie's portraits challenge the way that we look at portraiture, forcing one to consider what the representation in each image means. My favorite portrait is the one of performance artist Ron Athey, who is the man covered in tattoos. I felt as if his facial expression in combination with his appearance really challenges the viewer to attempt to enter and discover his world.

Friday, February 19, 2016

David Wojnarowicz

Fire in my Belly was one of the most unique films I've ever watched. It was both ambiguous but yet, very telling. Each scene was so beautifully crafted together, never staying on the same frame for too long. The scenes switched back and forth between sometimes horrific events and sometimes more subtle and ambiguous events. It was a representation of all human emotions.
I found some scenes hard to watch, but what he recorded was the reality of the world. The film touches on the reality of many cultural issues such as poverty, greed, man-made destruction and corruption, masculinity, and ultimately silence leading to death. The censorship of his work is just one of many examples where people prefer to be comfortable in their ignorance than shown the darkness of reality.
Silence = Death

David used art to be an activist. Sometimes the most telling story and most emotional reactions come from art. Art is such a powerful form of expression that it often speaks much louder than words. Being homosexual and having AIDS in the 80's was far from easy. People in power positions turned a blind eye to the exponentially rising documented cases of AIDS in the US, with thousands of reported deaths. Some people will look at David and think he was some sort of radical activist because of his unforgiving and relentless struggle in the fight against homophobia and AIDS awareness. But is there such thing as a sound person who is willing to face death with open arms? His art depicted darkness and chaos because that is what he and every other oppressed person felt. It's beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

David Wojnarowic



Words cannot express how astonished I was when I watched the movie" The fire in my belly"last Friday. It was like a montage, whose scenes though seems to be in chaos, the nonsensical humor or I say, the creation of a kind of strong irony can be felt profoundly. It seems like a sudden emotional outburst: anger, resentment, helplessness, desperation, pain... but when carefully retrospect, it is not difficult to find every scenes are actually planned and premeditated: beggars, slaughtered animals, displaced bodies and the crucified Jesus... and also the strong symbolism— ants were symbols of a human life mechanically driven by its own needs, heedless of anything else. Here they blindly swarm over an emblem of suffering and self-sacrifice.

I had never seen his artworks before, but I think I shall never forget him and his artworks for the whole life. A positive diagnosis for HIV in 1980s didn't leave you with many options: some turned to holistic medicine; Others to activism. Many just returned to their apartments, curled up in the corner, and waited to die. But some, like David Wojnarowicz, who died in 1992 at the age of 37, used art to keep a grip on the world. A bit of a loner, a bit crazy, ferociously brilliant and anarchic, he is the warrior of HIV, and also the warrior of arts.

I like him; I respect him.

David Wojnarowic


Upon researching David Wojnarowic's work and reading through all of the contributions he made towards Queer activism and AIDS awareness, I couldn't help noticing that his work utilizes a huge range of mediums and often hybridizes them in order to get his message across. Through exposing his most personal thought, he was able to expose many of the emotions and conflicting feelings that individuals of the queer community were anonymously going through together. Another element that I found very effective in his work is his toying with historical events that everyone seemingly knew about, and personalizing it according to his own stories, or those of other's he'd heard before. The raw intimacy that he allowed for viewers to have, the breadth of mediums he used to carry those messages, his relationship with time and place and event, and more importantly, his fearlessness in regards to defending and rejecting those who attempt to censor his creations are the characteristics that make him a heroic artist in the spectrum of revolutionary art, the queer movement, and the historical uprisings caused by AIDS

When We Were Outlaws Reflection

Once I started reading the book, I was thrown off, yet intrigued. Even with the first quote from the author's note, I knew this would soon envelope to be an interesting memoir, "I was not born knowing how to love. It came to me late in life and continues to be difficult. Politics on the other hand came naturally, my mind attuned from birth to the ways of power and survival."Although I admit that I was a little turned off by Jeanne's cocky attitude at one point, my opinion quickly changed. I then saw her as this empowered individual that advocated for herself and her community. What I love most about this novel so far is how the author shows the importance of intersectionality. As a queer female of color, I was able to relate on another level. These layers of oppression are shown through her experience, and yet she was still able to persevere.

David Wojnarowic reflection

It was an interesting experience watching David Wojnarowic's work on my own, it definitely had a disturbingly intimate feel to it. While I've always been keeping tabs on politics and activism surrounding the AIDS crisis, I'd never seen any of David's work. It was slightly disturbing to see the raw reality of AIDS but it was necessarily so. While perturbing, David collects and refines the uneasy elements of AIDS and puts them in more digestible forms for his audience to consume and reflect on later. The censoring of his work is reflective of homophobic views the American audience still holds even in an age such as 2010. Further, it's symbolical of the continuous medicalization of queerness and it's conflation with contagious and deadly diseases, an ideal in need of dismantling still.

When We Were Outlaws Reflection

To be honest, I never read the very beginning of any book because I rather just get into the meat of the work. When I opened When We Were Outlaws, however, I was interested in reading Jeanne's note because I could already feel like the note was really for us. The first line reads "I was not born knowing how to love. It came to me late in life and continues to be difficult. Politics on the other hand came naturally, my mind attuned from birth to the ways of power and survival" and as soon as I read that line, I felt every word of it sink deep into my body. Everything that I ever thought was strange about me , I realized was not so strange because there's people out there who feel just like I do. I think that the level of relatability of Cordova's book is what made it easy to read and really imagine ones self in her position.

David Wojnarowicz



David Wojnarowicz was leading intellectual force for the AIDS and queer activism groups in New York City. Incorporating many mediums, photography; video; collage; and performance; collaborating with other artists too, David sought to push the creative boundaries in activism art. David never ceased to leave out anything that was not personal, he incorporated many of his own personal history into his body of work. Thought his career, he never ceased to politically stand up and protect his art, nor redefined how far art can go within an institution that slightly "follows" the freedom to creatively express through appropriating sacred imagery. I applaud David Wojnarowicz role in his political activism in making art transparent and reflective of the AIDs crisis, also, pushing against religious institutions that called blasphemy on art using sacred imagery.

David Wojnarowicz Reflection

For the most part, art can be very ambitious and commonly subtle, in Wojnarowicz's case, he frankly did not care about making anyone feel comfortable or communicating anything other than his own message. As we watched "Fire in my Belly" in class, I felt kind of weary about keeping my eyes on the screen, but I could not get myself to look away. Although a lot of disturbing images were depicted, I was in awe at the raw expression of this artist. He expressed a lot of emotion unapologetically and I believe that in a way redefined art. Even though audiences did not respond positively, I don't think he expected them to. The AIDS epidemic had no mercy on its victims and I truly believe that Wojnarowicz was trying to communicate just that with his explicit images. He was an advocate for a cause that was overlooked and truly showed how deadly and disturbing this disease was and still is.
 

When We Were Outlaws Reflection

As I began to read "When We Were Outlaws", by Jeanne Cordova I did not know what to expect, but as soon as I read what it said on her dedication page, I knew I'd be able to personally connect to the reading. She dedicated the book to "[T]he queer youth of today whose activism now gives their elders so much pride". To me this was very touching due to the fact that queer folks are usually frowned upon by elders. Even though I do not know whom the author is specifically talking about, it is comforting to know that not everyone rejects us as human beings.

It was very intriguing to know that the author identified as a queer chicana feminist because she would be able to provide real experiences that queer woman of color usually have to deal with. She is such a radical woman and her dedication and passion for activism truly gives a reader a sense of her as a human being. We see her struggle with issues surrounding the Gay Community Service Center, but we also have the privilege to see her deal with a more personal situation throughout the memoir. Alongside her activism, Jeanne had to manage a monogamous relationship with her lover Rachel. Intersectionality is also revealed in the memoir since Cordova believes that the lesbian community had to in a way separate from the gay community in order to truly be represented. This made perfect sense to me since we are all aware that men and women are treated very distinctively. Her autobiography truly captures the reader and allows them to take a journey through every aspect of her life.

Class Discussion Reflection (2/12)

David Wojnarowicz Reflection 


Art can take many forms and also can be interrupted in many different ways. For many, "Fire In My Belly" was a dramatic wake up call to the AIDS epidemic occurring across the United States. Wojnarowicz used captivating visuals to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. In addition, the background music used in the short film further created suspense and anxiety in the viewer. Wojnarowicz wanted to bring attention to a cause and a movement that many people were ignoring. The recent removal of  Wojnarowicz's work in the Smithsonian is further proof that people still have not come to terms with the LGBT. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

David Wajnarowicz

What most intrigued me in discussion last Friday was the differentiation between art that screams in your face with a message, and art that is more subtle and conceptual in its message. That is not to say that art that is more subtle doesn't have as much weight or importance, or isn't dealing with critical issues. For example, the artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres was brought up as an artist who deals with extremely painful, difficult, and controversial topics through subtlety and a sort of silence. The piece of his that touches me the most, and even almost brings me to tears every time I think of it is Untitled (Perfect Lovers). A simple gesture of placing two clocks side by side, knowing that one of them will stop ticking before the other, or go out of sync with one another, sends such a strong message to the nature and inescapable reality of life (and death). On the other hand, an artist such as David Wajnarowicz makes art that affects the viewer directly in terms of confronting them with visual strength as well as a powerful content. His piece Untitled (Peter Hujar) is an example of that, a portrait that David shot of his friend right upon his death. This piece is a direct portrayal of the reality of AIDS, and is extremely painful to look at and to think about. It is quite haunting, and affects one on multiple levels. I think that it is important that works on both opposing sides of the scale continue to be made, some reaching out at you right away, and some reaching out at you more quietly and slowly, because there are so many different ways to deliver a message. 


Reaction to Censorship and Artistic Freedom

In response to the image presented by David Wojnarowicz, I was immediately able to see where the shock came from as a spectator of his work. Initially, the video that we watched, "Fire In My Belly," inspired a good deal of anxiety as I watched. Yet, at the same time, it was absolutely fascinating. The combination of sound that was played in conjunction with the powerful images were likely intended to make the audience uncomfortable and try to get them to feel some type of angst (and perhaps inspire a burning in their belly?). Naturally, the criticisms came, as they always do, and manifested in the form of both threats of financial pressure and religious censorship. The fact that such a powerful piece of art that did its job so well had to be censored because of an inadvertent understanding is disappointing. I believe the art piece was strong and showed what Wojnarowicz could do.

Reaction To Class Discussion


Last week’s class was rejuvenating because it was all about rebellious artists who were and are not afraid to bring their visions to life. While they may or may not identify as rebellious, just living your truth is a rebellious radical act in itself. My favorite work was the short film that David Wojnarowicz produced. I loved the video because of it’s shocking and visually stimulating nature. It was an unapologetic expression of pain,anger, and disappointment at the condition of life that people with AIDS had and continue to have live under. I speculate that the reason why it was so controversial had nothing to do with the “blasphemous” imagery and more so what feelings this film brought out in the audience. The pain perhaps, was too raw to handle but it is a necessary pain that the public needs to see. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reaction to Class Discussion

I found the self portrait to be shocking and haunting. Like one of my classmates said, if your're not doing something shocking to have people discussing your art, then what are you doing as an artist? There was a similar picture that it made me think of Christina Aguilera back in the early 00's of her mouth being sewn shut, but it is definitely more high fashion and meant to be striking on because of her beauty first and then her mouth sewn shut. The original campaign that Christina was representing was for the "Declare Yourself" Campaign: "Ending Violence Against Women", which featured many celebrities such as Andre 3000 and Amber Tamblyn all with something concealing or blocking their mouths from being able to express themselves, each person crying. The declaration is "Only You Can Silence Yourself, each object is something that best represents the celebrity, stating that they are doing this to themselves which the audience can read as regret because of the tears. I get the sense that the image that we were shown in class was very unapologetic and matter of fact. He was not doing it to himself and did not allow for escape from his gaze. There a stripping of anything distracting for the audience to focus on rather than the statement that the artist was trying to make. With your mouth sewn shut, you are unable to eat, let alone survive, rendering you silent is a way of submissively killing yourself.

Monday, February 15, 2016

When We Were Outlaws Reflection

This memoir flowed like a novel, but I felt like I learned a lot about the feminist and lesbian movements in the 1970s through personal relationships and the interviews/work Cordova does.

For me gay movement is like one of the most beautiful pieces of the "Kaleidoscope-like" 1970s. The book is subtitled "Love and Revolution" for good reason - consistently throughout the memoir Cordova relates her struggle to balance her relationship with her political activism.  Intertwined within the historical and political facts presented in "Outlaws" is the personal, in which Cordova recounts how the multiple (and sometimes contradictory) ideologies of the time affected the lives of herself, her mentors, and her friends/lovers. An incredibly important addition to the body of work that goes behind-the-scenes to share the story of the LGBT movement in Los Angeles. 

As Cordova dedicates the book to"[T]he queer youth of today whose activism now gives their elders so much pride." 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Artist Reflection: David Wojnarowicz

After watching "A Fire in My Belly" in class, I was really intrigued by David Wojnarowicz's work. I love how unapologetic his work was, each piece having some kind of statement that he felt needed to be made. From what we talked about in class, and what I have since learned in doing some reading on my own, his artwork took a severe turn once he was diagnosed with AIDS. His pieces became far more political with the intent of stirring debate in order to engage conversations about medical research, art funding, and censorship of the arts. It seems that each of his pieces, both before and after his diagnoses, were made with the intent of pushing the envelope. I loved that "A Fire in My Belly" was so provocative and almost alarming that you just couldn't look away. It wraps the viewer in and forces them to find their own meaning through making sense of and connecting the images for themselves. In doing some research outside of class, I came across one of his last videos, titled "Beautiful People." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6BvCaTpaAw) It shows one of the male members of the band that Wojnarcowicz was in, as he gets up in the morning and transforms himself into a female. The tone of the video urges acceptance and a sense of contentedness, putting forth a symbol of dual identity that provokes the audience to redefine gender expectations - very much like most of his other work.

Friday, February 12, 2016

When We Were Outlaws

Reading this book really gives me an appreciation for Gay LA. It puts all the history we learned about it Gay LA into perspective and helps give a much better understanding. Reading Cordova's personal experience of being part of the underground lesbian, feminist radicalism was fascinating. I love how intimate this book is, and not only do you get a sense of history like you did in Gay LA, you can actually feel it through the perspective of someone who lived through it and actively participated. I loved learning all the little details about Cordova, from her intimate relationships with BeJo and reasoning for her preference of non-monogamy, to seeing how she confronts day to day lesbian feminist experiences. Learning about her own history with her family was also really cool, and gave even more perspective of how she has evolved as a woman. I can't wait to read on and learn more.

When We Were Outlaws Reflection

Julienne's blog post this week took me back to GAY L.A. the accounts of women "masquerading" as men in historical Los Angeles, and the case of one women who was able to convince a jury that they were just a man in a woman's body, and the case was let go. Also, the focus police had on gay drag queens during the time of entrapment and police brutality in the raids of gay bars. The history tells the tail of the hierarchy of hegemonic masculinity over emphasized femininity. Jean Cordova's When We Were Outlaws brings to light this challenge to normality and normalized life practice that historicized action taken against passing and assimilation. It also brought some alternate perspective to the GAY L.A. depiction of Hollywood, in which Cordova emphasizes the sense of hiding and self-shaming involved in the era. Her emphasis on the importance of lesbians creating their own infrastructure nd community makes me think of a recent conversation I had about Malcolm X, and how he preached for organization by and solely for African Americans.
In my own life, the discovery of the word queer and it's radical potential to establish a new location beyond normalized practice always intrigued me and I feel that Cordova embodies that notion of queer that I hold so personally. It is very clear that Cordova not only establishes herself as an activist but as a community builder, and by doing so played a role in the "gay" movement and/or lesbian movement by having the voice to be radical and inspiring by taken the steps many were too scared to approach.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Poster Project Discussion



As I started my project, I was thinking a lot about what constitutes female empowerment. For me, a huge part of that is body image. I started looking up images and came across the image of the woman - except she had black lines for censorship where there are now flowers. I began to think about what was so "bad" about her body that the image needed two black bars added to it. In adding the flowers, I was hoping to in essence replace those harsh lines with something beautiful - telling her she was beautiful. I love that she's eating a burger and has her hand on her hip, it really conveys both confidence and a "screw you" attitude. The image on her upper leg is a symbol of female, feminist empowerment. All of the images behind her are the covers of many magazines - all body shaming in one way or another. If the media always has a critique, whether it be that these stars are way too skinny or way too fat, how are we supposed to be able to ever love ourselves? So this image is showing that despite the censorship and despite the constant critique, we can learn to be happy with who we are - and that it's really important to do so.

When We Were Outlaws Reflection

When reading When We Were Outlaws, I really appreciated reading a text that was strongly from the point of view of a woman, in particular a lesbian feminist activist. I was interested in learning more about the issues in between the lesbian feminists and the Gay Community Service Center, and through that, the women's liberation movement. When reading the previous text, Gay L.A., the sections from that that I was most drawn to were the ones about the lesbian community, and how they felt in relation to the larger picture of the LGBT revolution. Cordova's When We Were Outlaws definitely brings us back to those issues, and how women felt larger over-spoken for, or not as spoken for in the revolution. Growing up, I feel as if a lot has been left out in my education of the history of the LGBT community and revolution, in particular the stories of women. I realized when reading both of these texts that I didn't know as much about lesbians within the history as I did about other figures. It seems as if there has always been an emphasis on gay rather than lesbian. I was also inspired by how brave Cordova was, and all that she went through. It made me wonder about my role in the world today, and how activism is taking place nowadays. I additionally appreciated how intimate the text was, and how I felt connected to Cordova when reading this, all the while looking up to her and admiring her bravery and strength. 

When We Were Outlaws - Reflection

I really like what Allie said in her last post, that in her novel, Jeanne Córdova "brings a sense of nostalgia for a time when radicalism was the norm amongst marginalized people." What stood out to me the most while reading her memoir was how willing and ready she and her comrades were to give and devote everything to their cause. The nostalgia that comes when reading is due to feeling her passion conveyed through the words on every page - a passion that is seemingly lacking nowadays. Córdova talks about the Hollywood Hills being 'a large gay closet,' explaining their drive coming from "a lifetime of hiding and sexual denial to make up for" (58). One event that stood out to me in her memoir was the march that she organized with Morris Knight. They were at first denied the right to march by the LA Police Chief, who said that "It's one thing to be a leper; it's another thing to be spreading the disease" (46). This alone was shocking to me; that a person in a position of power could get away with saying that is alarming. After they finally got the right to march, they began planning the route they would take. Reading the names of the streets they would take, Highland, Hollywood Boulevard, Vine, all streets that I've been on, brought a sense of reality to the words I was reading. As Jeanne described the march, she observed something that brought tears to her eyes, as well as mine. In the midst of the madness, she saw an elderly woman holding a sign that read: "Heterosexuals for Homosexual Freedom" (51). She noted her wish that sometime within her lifetime, gays would be free. Now living in LA, this scene made me compare the scene today versus then. I question our lack of activism. I felt that Córdova's memoir was largely based around something she said early on in the novel: "Besides, my life was about rearranging the very definition of normal...normal was not a good reason to do anything" (34). I think this is something we can all take away from the book. If we all suddenly became aware of and uncomfortable with the normal, maybe we would develop the passion that she and the generations before us possessed.

Turning into Cordova, Reflection

We Were Outlaws, a memoir of love and a radical fight for civil rights, written by Jeanne Cordova, reflects her triumphs and struggles during 1970's. The book reflects her political savviness and turbulence in developing a community of lesbian feminists. The collective memories focus on love, civil unrest, a leftist nazi, and the banishment from the Gay Community Service Center. Cordova's memoir is a page turner, as reading her history, we skim to the importance of her revolution of trying to maintain her own ideology of feminism, whilst struggle to manage a her monogamous love affair with Rachel. There are cameos with famous political activists, such as Angela Davis. But focusing on the importance of Cordova writing to illustrate a time of social upheaval against their gay brothers and the watchful eye of the Nixon Administration. She stated, that her and her lesbian and feminists comrades needed to be split from the gay community in order to establish a community and philosophy that focused and worked for them. Reading her passages provide a vividly surreal anxiety, wanting Cordova relationships to flourish and her push against social injustice to be stomped out. Her will to lead lesbians and feminists to a haven of hope and prosperity in the smoggy sunshine city of Los Angeles leaves us to read each chapter from her stance. Cognitively and physically embodying Cordova in the radical 1970s'.

When We Were Outlaws Reflections

      At first glance, When We Were Outlaws reads more as a novel, it's almost unreal skimming over Jeanne Cordova's words as she relays her memories of the Tanya Harding scandal. This probably has something to do with collective amnesia, and becoming detached from a history I was not a part of. Jean has a way of making her life seem like something out of a movie script, especially with her role in underground radical newspapers, housing people on the run, and her multiple lovers in her non-monogamous relationship with BeJo. Reading When We Were Outlaws inspires a sense of radicalism, especially when cameos such as Angela Davis popping in and out, leaving the audience with a sense of inadequacy with her strict radicalist ideology (Such as alt. sexual orientations being bourgeoise).
    When We Were Outlaws inspires a sense of activism, seeing Jean Cordova constantly on the run towards injustice. Her involvement in multiple sects of social justice brings a sense of nostalgia for a time when radicalism was the norm amongst marginalized people. She captured the last of the radicals in her novel, smack dab in the middle of two eras as she so eloquently described in the first couple chapters. Her autobiography leaves its audience enamored with her radical politics and quick wit in writing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Activist Poster Project Idea: Release

  The main image comes from an artist that i found on instagram oddly. All of her work has to do with empowerment and are simple while also very powerful. I added in the other images of the different women crying and looking sad in the womb of the main women in a sense to being the ultimate releaser of the issues and inequalities that plague women.

Artist Project: K8 Hardy

 The artist I chose is K8 Hardy. The first time I saw her work was when I was living in NYC and visited the Whitney. Her work was being displayed and I felt a sense of empowerment from viewing her image. I later found out that she puts herself in her images and performance pieces to speak on the notion that men objectify women in art. K8 also does not stick to one type of art. She does multimedia, performance, painting etc. art that really also caught my attention because she has branched out not only as an artist but as a female artist.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Poster Idea



  I've been contemplating on what to do for the poster project and I'm pulling a lot of inspiration from Gran Fury's poster because of how beautiful it is. It represents three different unions of love and each couple is "unconventional". While the poster represents a diverse group of people, it addresses corporations and authorities, asking them to take accountability for their negligent attitude about AIDS and HIV. I hope to recreate a similar image and direct it towards the same people Gran Fury did because those same people are still holding major control over public health and their negligent, homophobic attitudes toward illnesses such as HIV has been the direct cause of death for so many.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gender Definition Poster

This is a rough draft of the poster I worked on. The theme is gender and its definition. I have incorporated the background as one of the landscape works by my artist Wes Hempel. It is a wide prairie with amorphous storm clouds in the sky, unsure of whether it is a storm, but peaceful nonetheless. In the foreground, I have layered multicolored stencil-esque images of Angels. I chose to put angels in the picture because as spiritual beings of light, they were never classified as male or female. Historically, this was changed as artists gave them a sex. Ultimately, I want to express that gender is not something that can be easily defined, that it isn't always as socially practical, and we can disregard it in order to establish respect/acceptance.

Artist Project: Jeff Sheng


The artist I've chosen for my project is photographer, Jeff Sheng. He has done several series, with the photograph on the left being apart of the one that gained him recognition. Called the "Fearless Project," Sheng photographed college athletes who identify as LGBT. The photo on the right belongs to a series called "Don't Ask Don't Tell," which includes images of 80 closeted service members. I really like Sheng's work because he uses his talent to shine a light on very important social issues using everyday people. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Go Away Mr " Ex-gay "Therapy !



" Ex-gay " therapy is pseudoscience, it does great harm to people who undergone this in many ways. Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and there is no point in trying changing homosexual orientation. Help people who might be forced to have " ex-gay " therapy under the pressure of their family, community or even themselves. 

The scream face from Edvard Munch is on a pink flower, representing LGBT people (usually it is the pride color for gay),the watering pot has the very right figure of red cross, representing these ex-gay therapy, the blue curvy snakes ejected from the red water pot represents the disastrous torture and miserable results brought by ex-gay therapy to people who suffered from it.

I get the inspiration from one of my best friend, the one I mentioned in my previous blog. When she finally nerved herself to tell the fact that she is a lesbian to her parents,it was like a bombshell to them. They thought something bad must have happened to her, and her mother even began to blame herself for failing to take care of her daughter when she was in her abdomen. She was under so much pressure and her parents sent her to a psychiatrist for they still thought she must get insane to make this "impossible" change. There was one night she(my friend) called me and told me she want to leave home and..." ( I stopped her because I knew the next word she'd like to say, it was really a dark time for her,so sad...) But fortunately she held on and won through that undeserving hard time.

I know there are like thousands of "she/he" like her, once suffered from this kind of ridiculous torture, and cornered to helplessness.

I really wish some day these bullshit all disappear.Go Away Mr " Ex-gay "Therapy !

Learn to Love!


The poster I created is about the idea of cultivating and offering safe spaces and relationships for people who identify with the LGBT community through education and support from one another. Many LGBT people, either at home, at school, or other spaces, don't have the privilege of having communities in which they can feel comfortable, accepted, and safe in. Places such as LGBT centers can provide many systems of support. In spaces such as these, people in the LGBT community can learn more about all aspects of being in the LGBT community and learn and grow from sharing and supporting one another, especially if they don't have support outside of these areas. I believe in empowerment through education, and that knowledge of all types of communities, inequalities, struggles, and much more, leads one to become a better person, and make the world a better place. I also believe in education coming out of these safe spaces, and spreading in the larger world, through more and more people being educated and learning about LGBT rights, health care, safety, and more. 
For the background layer of my poster, I chose to have the image of a "fire rainbow", which is an interesting process which is believed to happen after there has been a fire. When reading about it, it was described to occur due to a "unique alignment of forces in the atmosphere", which I thought was a really beautiful phrase. I appropriated this sentence in my poster because I thought it sounded quite strong and powerful, and related to my idea of becoming more knowledgeable, and therefore strong, through learning and working with one another. The main image in the foreground is a sketch by the artist Nicole Eisenman, who identifies as lesbian, and centers her practice around LGBT depictions. This scene of naked women coming together in an act of listening, learning from one another, teaching one another felt important to include visually. The main slogan, LEARN TO LOVE!, in rainbow lettering, speaks to the LGBT theme visually, and sends a positive message about the power of educating one another. But learning and teaching is not always an easy thing, and isn't always accessible to all, which is why LGBT centers are so important. I included a link to the Los Angeles LGBT centers homepage on my poster to direct viewers to this site, which has a lot of important information about all the services they offer. I wanted to keep certain slogans broad, a bit open to interpretation, but also ground my poster in the real world as well, by including a website link to a real organization. This poster is targeted towards people of the LGBT community, but not only, because I think that everyone, especially those who are less open and less educated, should be learning about this community.

Feminist Killjoy



Because I had to miss class last week, I'm still tossing around ideas for my poster before class tomorrow. There are a few things I've been thinking about, and trying to analyze their connection to one another to find a unique way of presenting them together in a single poster. The term "feminist killjoy" happens to be one that has always intrigued and I guess you could almost say, excited me. It's a sarcastic way of responding to a certain social order, of how happiness is used to justify social norms as social goods. I love that it's used as a sarcastic response to those who don't see a problem with the objectification or discrimination of women. A feminist killjoy is one who gladly refuses the idea that in standing up for themselves (and other women), they are the source of the 'spoiling' of fun or happiness of others. While the term is one full of satirical defiance, it is supported through unseen inner strength. Being a killjoy, calling someone out in a social situation and subsequently changing the atmosphere, can be exhausting, scary, or difficult. It is easy to even silence oneself because of this fear, even before anyone else does. I want to create a poster that somehow ties this idea with an image of over female sexuality, as expressed in the image on the right. I find it so interesting that while advertisements using barely clothed women can be used, as soon as a hint of sexuality is added, the women suddenly becomes transformed to an image in need of censorship. I really like the image on the left because it promotes the idea that all women are beautiful, and I think that this thought is really important when thinking about women's sexuality. Really, all these ideas tie together as a form of deviance from normal thought. I would like to create a poster that conveys the sarcasm and strength found in the ideology behind the "feminist killjoy," and also one that uses the female body to tie in with this courage through a "provoking" image.

Poster Art: Love is Love


For my poster, I decided to use two females and position them in a way that their silhouettes create a heart between them. The reason I chose to keep them anonymous is because you never know who is struggling to love another person but cannot express or tell their family or friends for certain reasons. Because of this, this has more than just a queer meaning to it (at least to me). One of the things that I have come to realize as I got older is that love is love. It does not matter if it's two same gender people or not. What matters is that there is love. I believe that the world would be a better place if people did not feel that love can only be between a man and a woman. It is better to accept and have more love in this world, than to have people living in fear for something that is one of the most wonderful things to experience. In addition to this, it does not matter if the love is romantic or not.

HEY! HEY! AHF, HOW MUCH HOUSING DID YOU KILL TODAY!?!



For my activist poster, I wanted to show  the destructive effects of AIDS Healthcare Foundation president, Michael Weinstein's effort as leader of the Coalition to Preserve Los Angeles. His fight to stop large scale developments, that mostly tend to be luxury condominiums and upscale boutiques that don't uphold the Los Angeles character; scale; gentrification; and creates more traffic. I agree, to an extend, that most new developments Los Angeles are being catered to a large demographic of individuals who have wealth, but what about the small projects. Most low-income housing projects faces the same commercial zoning litigation, they provide much need housing for families that desperately need it. Los Angeles is facing a housing crisis, this coalition thwarts LA mayor Eric Garcetti's goal in creating 100,000 new housing by 2020. Weinstein coalition is proposing a November ballot that would downsize commercial zoning on large boulevards and nearby transit hubs. Do we not want to see people live closer to transit hubs, encouraging them to use public transportation. The new ballot would make it difficult for developers, such as Adobe Projects (non-profit), building low-income housing. This ballot would not be able to tell the difference between low-income and luxury. It discriminates against all who can't afford the raising costs of housing. It's great that Weinstein is advocating for change with LA's obscure projects, but who is really advocating for. In my eyes, he is preserving an ideology, a fantasy that belongs only to a few.

"update your hate?"

The poster that I'm working on primarily attempts to be inclusive of all possible genders. To do this, I took two normalized symbols: the ladies symbol pertaining to females, and the men symbol pertaining to males. I also split both these symbols down the middle in order to splice half a woman symbol and half a man's in order to create the perfect hybrid symbol. I wanted to be very ambiguous about gender and sexuality since the symbolic figures are essentially are void of identity. For this reason, I chose to vary the symbols in sizes and add a rainbow schematic within each one. On the far left, one figure gets cut off to bring forth the idea of continuity and fluidity.
 The backdrop, beginning from left to right, starts off with historical pictures of riots, arrests, and marches (during the Stonewall era uprisings) and gradually evolves from black and white imagery, to colorful, recent/current depictions and accomplishments for the LGBTQ community. I still have not added text but when I do, it will be something like, "Sexuality and Gender" at the top, followed by "It's Happening" down below. Either that or "normalize fluidity" or "update your hate"
The main issue that inspired me to work on this project was a few conversations I had with some of my trans friends having anxiety and fear when having to use restrooms that use gender normative symbols that are limited to a spec of the spectrum. I would love to receive feedback on the poster and hear some immediate thoughts and what might be done in order to carry the message across in a bolder manner

WIP Activism Poster


        For my activism poster I attempted to tackle the difficult concept of visualizing what "decolonizing" is, which at first had me stumped. I believe decolonizing is extremely important not just to the Chicanx movement but for all social justice movements as it's the foundation of oppression in this country. Further, decolonization should be central to movements because it's still occurring today (RE: Higher rates of all kinds of violence towards indigenous women). But the reason I believe decolonization is so important to the Queer movement is because of the erasure it enacts upon indigenous and other ethnic identities and sexualities, which leads to limiting people's queerness. Decolonizing is both a private and public practice, and before we can decolonize the rest of our oppression we must decolonize ourselves.
        The image itself has two femme figures, La Malinche and La Virgen de Guadalupe, whom I like to consider mother figures of Mexico. Both women have had their stories deeply entrenched in colonization and as a result their stories have been misconstrued and tainted. While La Malinche has always been hypersexualized, the Virgen has been robbed of any sexuality or agency at all. I placed them together to further the idea of these femme figures as "Mothers" of Mexico by placing them in a queer context. Here they take hold of their agency by enacting publicly on their attraction for each other besides the visual disgust of others looking on. These figures who have been both revered and repudiated, are not only queered in this image but given their own agency.

I am not your doll, I am not your pet, I am not a sideshow act

For my activist poster, I decided on relatively simple design that gets my point across. As a mixed race woman, I have spent a good majority of my life being ashamed of my curly hair and spent countless hours straightening and relaxing and loathing the very fundamental basis, of what I did not realize at the time, was my power. It was not until after I graduated high school that I stopped straightening my hair and embracing how much I love my hair as is. I quickly felt like a sideshow attraction where people would approach me with arms outstretched to grab my hair and run their grimey hands through it, without permission. I was aware of the attention that my hair would bring, but was not aware of how quickly my humanity went out the window and the lack of respect people generally had. Some people have the "decency" to ask to touch it (rude), while others just yank and pull, (Rude and Gross!) I am not a pet, we as African American women are not things to be gawked at and paraded. In the same vein as, "pet yourself, not my hair" campaign, author Mckenzie Harris writes in her article, "Natural Hair Chronicles: Pet Yourself, Not My Hair", Harris explains "I am not a doll, I am not a pet, therefore my hair should not be treated as such" (Harris 2011). I find this message to pack a lot of punch, there are so many layers to what can be said in four words. The lack of respect for personal space, the disregard for humanity and the glorification of exoticism, which rejects the woman as a subject with feelings to an object for dissection, and finally the further distancing of African American women from having the rights and freedoms of other women to express themselves, or plainly just to exist in a world, where whiteness is the celebrated norm, and blackness is a novelty.
I decided to incorporate the profile of a woman, in my first layer, who I felt resembled me. This is my way of including myself in the fight, rather than merely making a claim and staying neutral. I then added a layer of the galaxy, which in my mind represents the vastness of power and energy that never ends, never dies, never gets old, and merely keeps on evolving, creating, and existing regardless of the opinions or exploration that can never really grasp the sheer magnitude of its' magic. And finally, I decided to present my text in a chat bubble that levels my poster with a modern and relevant twist to my millennial roots. I think it is quirky, and adds a bit of humor, but also says exactly what I want it to say.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Embrace

For my poster, I decided that I wanted a visual representation of things I feel strongly about. For me this poster represents the difficulty of being a queer femme in the LGBT community and the stereotypical ideals of being a woman in a patriarchal society. Every detail in this poster portrays the beauty of being a woman that does not fulfill your average stereotype.

To begin, the cacti in the background represents the strength and perseverance of women. A cactus does not need much care because it can survive on its own. I like to think of women being the same way. Many cultures are accustomed to hold households in which a man takes care of a woman financially, but never really emotionally. According to my beliefs I don't believe a woman needs a man. Society has treated us like second-class citizens for far too long many of us have gained a voice and most definitely independence.

The flowers at the bottom of the picture represent the beauty and the complexities of every woman. Just like every other human being, we come in every shape and size. Falling into the normative standards of beauty is demanding and usually unrealistic and we should be able to understand that our personal qualities and phenotypes make us unique and in every way beautiful.

In the middle we see a woman's hairdo and her eyebrows. Her hair style is in victory rolls a very popular hairstyle during WWII. In which women went out to the job market and took up "men's occupations". I added this because I wanted an audience to see past her facial features and look more towards her inner qualities.

Last but not least I wanted to make my statement stronger with text. A text that strongly applies to me. As a Femme many people like to invalidate my sexuality and my appearance in the LGBT community. Even though I am queer many people like to assume that my femininity requires me to be heterosexual. Little do they know that being Femme to me means to reclaim the femininity that society doesn't believe I deserve as well as accept the fact that I am a woman with very specific likings and my sexuality should not have to correlate with my appearance.


poster under construction


A women's sexuality is beautiful. However, I feel as though it is not always treated with the respective that it deserves in the mainstream media.Instead, I am left with a sour taste in my mouth. In many ways we are exotified, hyper sexualized, and tailored for the heterosexual male audience. My inspiration for my poster comes from me wishing that the media didn't portray queer sexuality as deviant behavior. I wish media were able to normalize and capture the beauty instead. 

My poster is also in progress. I may tweak a few things or even start over. I want to keep it simple, but I also want the viewer to be able to understand the poster without needing an explanation. Perhaps adding some simple text would help. However, here is kind of the general idea and direction I want to go. My ideas may develop as well. 

Activist Poster - Never Yield To Force

Activist Poster - Never Yield To Force


For my activist poster, I wanted to create a visual as well as colorful representation of the mentality that I think the LGBT community has taken on over the years. From the very beginning, the LGBT community has been fighting an uphill battle, but remained non-violent and optimistic that one day they would be able to express themselves in any shape or form as they chose. That day is coming, however, globally there still remains a negative outlook in many third world countries that do not have adequate educational institutions.

"Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." This quote means a lot of things to a lot of different people. In World War II, Churchill was referring to the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany and how Britain and other powers could not let Germany rule the entire world. In reference to the LGBT community, the quote refers to the challenges that the community has faced and despite them, still holding their head high and fighting for their rights. The man in this picture with rainbow colors surrounding him represents the LGBT community.  The crashing wave represents the might of the enemy trying to bring down anyone in its path. The umbrella the man is holding represents that even the force is very apparent and strong, the crashing wave will not devour the man's (LGBT community) life and dictate what he has to do.



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Queer as Style" Protest Poster


The paragraph I wrote that inspired this poster reads: "The identity politics of every individual is deistically their own based off an assemblage of experiences. To assume understanding of another individual is unrealistic and an inattentive approach to interpersonal relationships." and it led me to this quote by Cathy J. Cohen that I included in the poster. In my studies in the LGBT minor I have made identity formation and politics a focus of my writing and has influenced my personal politics. I chose this quote from Cathy J. Cohen's "Punks, Bulldagger, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?" because it gives political/social context to the expansive notion of queerness that draws me to the label. The hyper-colorful poster is also a connection to my personal style that is a consistent part of my daily performative self.

Sal Muñoz



Sal Muñoz received his B.A in Studio Art from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a New York based artist, but I chose him due to the fact that his work often has activist backgrounds and also because it is all very queer! I fell in love with his recent project called "FEMME" which is an ongoing project about the identity, its visibility, and it's complexities. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Activist Poster Progress


I chose to do my activist poster on the issue of under representation of the LGBT community in movies, tv, media in general, etc. I find this to be a major issue because it creates a sort of negative stigma of the LGBT community by making it seem as though they are not important, worthy, etc. enough to be part of mass media. By creating this predominately heterosexual media environment, it makes it literally impossible for children growing up around predominately heterosexual people to relate or understand what it means to be LGBT. You can see how being ignorant of something your whole life can create an issue for kids like this growing up, and they may much more easily become perpetrators of hate crimes and homophobia as adults. Not to mention how LGBT youth who have little to no exposure to other LGBT members must feel their entire life- outcasted and alone.
The purpose of my poster is to stand up for equal (or at least proportional) representation of LGBT community in media in general, and to encourage all LGBT in media to come out and don't allow their sexuality to be undermined or ignored (as has been seen with many important historic LGBT figures)
I plan to finish  my poster with a short but strong quote. I'm leaning most towards "All Love Deserves Equal Representation." I'm also still deciding on color, placement, backgrounds, etc.