Interview By Madeleine Spencer
Taking Action Project: Building A Symbol Unity Through Art “The Man of Corn Sculpture & Procession”
This exhibit is the artist’s vision of a unity project. The main piece, from which the exhibit derives its name, is a human scale sculpture of a man made of corn. It is a piece that has received widespread acceptance in the Mexico City where the original production occurred in 2014.
The “Taking Action Project” is an art production and exhibition piece to be performed in collaboration with Santa Ana’s artists, merchants and community. This creative production is being enacted in Santa Ana, CA. by the visiting Mexican artist Alfadir Luna, currently hosted by Grand Central Arts Center who will be an artist-in-residence for a series of site visit to the city. His first site visit was from March 28 – April 18. Once the final sculpture is completed, the produced sculpture will continue to tour in different cities in the United States after which it will come home again. (http://vorticidad.org/artist/alfadir-luna-2/).
The inception of this project occurred when Luna was approached by a Los Angeles art Exhibition who asked Luna to tour the piece after witnessing the procession in 2014 in Mexico City. Luna’s first reaction was that merely touring the piece would not properly share the art works full intention. The work first had to be actively produced within the States since making the art is seen by Luna as an important part of the total process and is a process to be done collaboratively in community. The work itself of creating the work, the process that takes place is the action, not the object. Therefore, it was proposed to perform the action and build the sculpture “A Man of Corn” in Santa Ana, appealing to the city of Santa Ana as a historical, social and commercial center in Orange County that is in close relation with different towns in Mexico. The collective production of the art piece will, once completed, be transported to sites in Arizona, Queens, Chicago and San Francisco, after which the sculpture will finally return to the city of Santa Ana .
The artist stated that the productions acceptance and the request began with an invitation from a Los Angeles Art exhibition that made him realize that it was necessary to “fly out” and reach other people outside Mexico and since Santa Ana, CA is closely tied to Mexico with the largest number of Ex-Patriated Mexican population in the world outside of the Country, this was the logical place for this production to occur.
Alfadir Luna Lives and works in Mexico City as an Artist and teacher. He studied visual arts at the National School of Plastic Arts (now Faculty of Arts and Design), UNAM. At the momento Alfadir has his Masters in Art and Environment from the same university. Among others, he is also accomplished in the studies in Aesthetics, Art and Violence in the School of Knowledge. His work has been shown in different public and private platforms, both in Mexico and abroad. He is currently a professor at the Arts and Crafts Factory of Orient, a unit of the Ministry of Culture of Mexico City. In the company, Teatro Línea de Sombra he is director of the Ruta Migrante project, and is an adviser and teacher in its educational program.
Interview of Luis Humberto-Ramirez by Madeleine Spencer, photos by Ryan Smolar
When most students think of advertising they think it is a career that takes place somewhere far away in a studio, or some commercial establishment. Most think it is off somewhere distant like Hollywood or New York. Most never think that the advertising agency might be somewhere close, somewhere they grew up, in their own city and neighborhood. I decided that instead of searching for what I thought of as a famous advertising agency far away, I would search for an agency right here in Santa Ana, that is how I found the Truth Agency in Downtown Santa Ana.
My name is Luis Humberto-Ramirez. My parents came to Santa Ana from Guadalajara Mexico. I have ten siblings and am a middle child. There are five girl and five guys in my family. My family lives off of Edinger and Main Street. We are really close to Downtown Santa Ana. My first four years of school were at Edison before I moved to Segerstrom High School. I am currently a senior.
This year at Segerstrom High school all Seniors we were given a Senior Project which is a requirement to graduate. The senior projects were decided when a group of teachers from Economics to English got together to come up with the requirements. The project was given to my class to find a job that we wanted to do, find a place that does this work and then shadow the workers on this job for 10 hours. Our teachers put it on us to research what we would do and follow through to obtain the internship.
My brother and I are both artists. I like to draw, so when I was thinking of what to do for a career, I knew I wanted to do more than drawing. I didn't want to be an artist who is always hoping that someone would liked my work so I could sell it and make money. People told me to get into graphic design, but as I began to look into it, I liked advertising more. In advertising you have to really think about what you are drawing, how the images are portrayed, what the images mean to others. Overall advertising just seemed more strategic to me.
I chose the advertising profession for my senior project. I found the Truth Agency website leading me nearby in Downtown Santa Ana and liked what I saw online. I emailed the Truth agency and they got back to me quickly. Soon after, I called to meet with them. I remember the day I went in to meet them I didn't know what to wear, whether I should dress formally or casually. I went for something in the middle and hoped for the best. When I got to the Truth Agency I really like the environment, the building and feeling of the place was chill and really laid back. After meeting the advertising group they all seemed like good people to talk to and work with.
When I began shadowing, at the Truth Agency, I didn't know what to expect. I began by observing what others in the agency would do. Soon I began to take on small tasks they would assign me. Everything was interesting to me. I was most surprised by how while each person can work on one aspect of the design for an ad the group but are really working together collaboratively even if it is on different parts of the total design. When I would go back to school or home, I would tell my friends all about what I was doing at the Truth Agency. My friends thought it was interesting and each time after shadowing, I would learn more I would tell them more about it and what I was doing.
Looking forward, I am planning on going to Santa Ana College and while they are building a great arts and graphics program, I plan to get my general education requirements and then transfer to a University that specializes in Advertising.
If I had one thing I would tell other students about this internship process it would be: "For me... I always like to know about my neighborhood and where I grew up. I didn't' know that right outside my door one can discover how small little things, that you may never expect, hold great opportunity."
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