S.O.Y Artista Summer 2018 Recap
The 5-week Summer of Youth Artist Program, S.O.Y Artista, has concluded for the summer of 2018. The program’s goal is to expand access to art through Self Help Graphics & Art’s facilities and resources to the underserved youth of East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, and the greater Los Angeles Area. This year the program ran from July 3rd to August 3rd, Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 2pm. It culminated on Saturday August 4th with the S.O.Y Artista Summer Exhibition, where the students got the opportunity to showcase the artwork that they created over the course of the program to their family, friends, and appreciators of art. This summer we had an array of workshops led by local artists and arts educators that included: stencil and aerosol art, screen printing, linocut, drypoint and etching, photography, and virtual reality.
Artist and Arts Educator Luis Genaro-Garcia led week one with one of his favorite mediums: stencil and aerosol art. Genaro-Garcia is an art teacher at Jefferson High School dedicated to the empowerment and uplifting of the youth in our community through art. The students created stencil self-portraits informed by their identities and community, using text and drawings to create a layered effect complementing the aerosol art works.
Our very own Artist in Residence, Dewey Tafoya took the students though a multicolor screen printing workshop for week 2 of the program. As a visual artist and screen printer from Boyle Heights, his work is heavily influenced by the urban landscapes, cultures and communities of inner city Los Angeles, and he prompted the students of S.O.Y Artista to do the same. The students worked through ideas of feminine power, food, and feelings to create phenomenal prints.
Week 3 was led by visual artist and musician, Joe Galarza where he taught the students the linocut printmaking process. Born and raised in El Sereno, Galarza believes that knowing about the history of your people, community, and family can all help inform the future and growth as an individual and as a community. The students followed suit, creating work based on their ideas of community and self, collaging with their linocut blocks and using watercolor to create interesting effects for the backgrounds of their work.
Margaret Alarcon, Artist and Arts educator, was born and raised in East Los Angeles. She pursues her work to visually translate, document and reinterpret the history of the ancestors through a personal, contemporary context, working primarily with painting, drawing and printmaking. Alarcon’s specialty is drypoint and etching, which she shared with the students during her time here. She took them through the process of beveling, drawing , inking, and printing the plates. They created wonderful literal and imaginative portraits of themselves.
The final week of the program was based on photography and virtual reality. Photographer and teacher Natalie Franco exposed the students to the different aspects of photography, allowing them to explore and experiment with street photography, portraiture, and other forms of photography. TecnoLatinx VR was also here, introducing the students to the new technology and ways of creating art. Using virtual reality, the students created work with a new medium in a new way, showing them the future of artistic expression and experience.
The program concluded with the Summer Exhibition, where the students’ work was showcased and the families, friends, and appreciators got a chance to try out the virtual reality technology from TechnoLatinx VR. S.O.Y Artista this summer, and every summer, shows us the power and knowledge the youth have, as well as their amazing artistic abilities. An honor to work with the youth of Boyle Heights, East LA and beyond! We’re looking forward to next year!
Giani Chavez is a Self Help Graphics & Art Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern from Grinnell College.