I've been working on a commission for a public art tile mural at a county library in Artesia for around 2 years! Here's a photo of all the 'water' scrolls I've carved for this design....
When I created this piece called "The Awakening" I was kind of hoping that a female collector would purchase it. It is a deeply feminine and vulnerable piece and I'm not sure that all male viewers will understand it. I was happy when Cheech purchased it because he does not hide his collection, he exhibits it (this piece is currently on view at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego). When Cheech purchases your artwork he does not ask you about the meaning. In this interview John Rabe of KPCC presses him on the meaning of this piece, and I was interested to here what he would say. Have a listen, link below.
Here's what I have to say. This piece is not a self portrait because I am going for a universal feeling that I think we can all relate to. It is a self portrait because I did use my body as a model and I personally go through this experience of awakening, sometimes every day. I think its important for female artists to paint the female body. I grew up seeing my dad Frank Romero create artworks of nudes all the live long day. These were very beautiful and real, but completely from the male perspective and very sexualized. Even though the figure is naked in my artwork, to me she is not sexualized. She is experiencing her body from the inside, and it happens to be naked.
Part of me is completely embarrassed that this piece is out there because I'm afraid people will think I want them to see my naked. No, I do not want that kind of attention at all. That is my worst nightmare. I am illustrating self empowerment and the release from fear.
Anyways, thanks Cheech for getting my artwork out there.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tanya Diaz 510-984-4947
Process of an Artist: Exhibition reveals the untold story behind Sonia Romero’s public art installations
New photo series by Rafael Cardenas featured
August 2, 2016, Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles based artist, Sonia Romero known for her large-scale public art installations opens a solo exhibition on September 10, 2016. The exhibition, opening at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park is titled Public Artist, The Works of Sonia Romero with photography by Rafael Cardenas.
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Romero’s sold-out debut show at Avenue 50 Studio, the exhibition will take audiences behind the scenes to narrate the process behind her works. Selections from Romero’s original designs will give an inside look at her process from concept and design to fabrication and installation for public displays around the region.
“People are familiar with my final large-scale installations in public spaces, but I am excited to share the research and artistic practice behind the process that can take me up to a year or more,” explains Romero a third-generation artist and Los Angeles native.
Romero’s meticulous process begins with photographs of people and movement that become original handmade designs created with linoleum cut printmaking and intricate papercut techniques. Designs are then fabricated into large scale installations. These original, handmade works will be the feature of the exhibition. Romero is also creating a public art installation with a mural on the outer wall of the Avenue 50 Studio space.
Local photographer, Rafael Cardenas is creating a new photo series for the exhibition to capture how the public interacts with Romero’s final pieces examining the role of public art in local communities. Cardenas has been collaborating with Romero since 2010, shooting models as references,capturing the fabrication and design process and cataloging final installed pieces.
Sonia Romero’s debut solo show in 2006 was held at Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles where she then completed a seven-year residency. She won her first public art commission in 2007 to create a 13-panel porcelain tile mural a the Macarthur Park Westlake Metro Station. Romero has worked with the Los Angeles Metro, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Community Redevelopment Agency among others. She has completed six total commissions around the region and is currently working on several new projects including a 1,000 square foot mural at Mariachi Plaza Metro Station in Boyle heights. Romero holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in printmaking. soniaromero.net
Rafael Cardenas, raised in East Los Angeles and based in Boyle Heights, is a self-taught photographer whose powerful black and white images explore his relationship with the streets of his beloved Los Angeles. His work shows a duality in both the subjects he captures and the art form he uses, straddling the edge of art and documentation, of photography and photojournalism. His newly released photography book, MAS ACA captures the often unseen faces and scenes around the City. Cardenas is one of five selected artists of the 2016 LA Metro Lightbox Project. He is currently working on capturing stories of Los Angeles backyard celebrations with his Summer 2016 project. Rafa.la
Located in Highland Park, California, Avenue 50 Studio is an arts presentation organization grounded in Latina/o culture, visual arts, and the Northeast Los Angeles Community, that seeks to bridge cultures through artistic expression, using content-driven art to educate and to stimulate intercultural understanding. avenue50studio.org
"The Swimmer" from the series, "They Fly Through the Water" by Sonia Romero
This artwork was originally designed for my public art installation "They Fly Through the Water", located at the Belvedere Aquatics Center in East Los Angeles and commissioned by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. It was fabricated in over 4000 hand-painted tiles and 13 laser cut steel figures and was installed in 2014. See more about this project at http://www.soniaromero.net/belvedere-aquatic-center-1/
In order to create this image, I conducted an underwater photo shoot with photographer Rafael Cardenas at a local pool in Obregon Park. I invited people from the community of East Los angeles to pose for me underwater. I used the images from this photoshoot to create my paper cut designs, using an exacto knife and a piece of black paper. The piece is entitled "They Fly Through the Water", because of the freedom of movement I witnessed when watching people swim.
Now I have used this imagery to create a limited edition, signed, hand pulled serigraph/silkscreen. This print was produced at Modern Multiples.
Colors: 8, Hand Pulled
Paper: Coventry Rag 320 g/sm
Size: 31″ x 38″
Signed and Numbered Edition: 50
printed at Modern Multiples
This piece is available in my online shop or through my studio. Email for purchase at firstname.lastname@example.org
This summer I'm working on 3 projects. One of them is for the brand new county library in Artesia. I researched this area for about a year before I finalized the design concept. Most people know this city as Little India, but the fact is that it's one of the most diverse places in the nation. I'm creating a papercut/linocut design that will be translated into tile. Check out my Instagram account: soniaamaliaromero, for daily updates
Estampas de la raza/Prints for the People: The Romo Collection, is traveling!
The exhibit started out at the McNay Art Museum, Texas, then went to the Albuquerque Museum, New Mexico, and is opening at the North Carolina Museum of Art, NC, April 13, 2014! Soon it will come to the Vincent Price Museum, CA, stay tuned.
April 13–July 27, 2014, North Carolina Museum of Art
Estampas de la raza/Prints for the People: The Romo Collection chronicles the unique heritage, history, and experience of contemporary Mexican American and Latino artists. Estampas (Spanish for prints) de la raza (the race or the people, often referring to Mexican and U.S. heritage) is the first comprehensive examination of contemporary Mexican American and Latino prints, their intrinsic relevance, and their place in the context of American art and the history of printmaking.
San Antonio–based collectors Harriett and Ricardo Romo, among the most important collectors of Chicano art in the United States, have built an impressive collection of contemporary prints. This exhibition features 61 works, part of a larger gift from the Romo Collection to the McNay Art Museum.
Bee Fantasy by Sonia Romero featured at the LA Art Show
Will L.A. Reclaim Its Title as “The Mural Capital of the World?”
An Exhibition by The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA)
Sponsored by the 2014 LA Art Show
The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA), sponsored by the 2014 LA Art Show, is proud to present "Will L.A. Reclaim Its Title as 'The Mural Capital of the World?'” an exhibition curated by Isabel Rojas-Williams (Executive Director, MCLA) from January 15th – 19th, 2014, at the L.A. Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles. This event, embracing LA’s visual art culture, will include pioneer muralists Kent Twitchell, and John Valadez, together with emerging and mid-career artists such as Pablo Cristi, Augustine Kofie, Risk and Sonia Romero, MEAR ONE, among others. The exhibition, inspired by LA’s mural culture, will connect the politics of the street to the politics of the canvas.
To remain true to our mission, MCLA played a key role in the crafting and passage of the mural ordinance that lifted the 2002 ban on murals and was signed into law by Mayor Garcetti in 2013, thereby giving a new generation of artists the opportunity to create as freely as their counterparts did in past decades.
The triptych, "Awakening" by Sonia Romero, is featured in this exhibit. Opening reception September 7, 2013.
Sonia Romero was awarded a commission by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to create public art for an upcoming project at Belvedere Park in East Los Angeles. The artwork will adorn the entry building of an Olympic sized pool which is currently under construction. To begin the public art process, Sonia Romero and the Arts Commission put out a public call for volunteer models in the surrounding East Los Angeles neighborhood. The photos from this underwater shoot will be used by the artist as inspiration for her artwork. See the results of the shoot below. Photography by Rafael Cardenas.