Happy impending summer to you and me and every thing living and dead in the Northern Hemisphere!
So I recently had my first art show.
It’s still hanging at illuminoidal arts at 340 E. 3rd St. in Long Beach if you’d like to go heavily breathe on it.
I dedicate the show to my abuelita. She painted but never had a show and her summertime eccentricity taught me I could be a female artist, too. Summers, she would ride the BUS from Guadalajara to Santa Maria and I’m surprised she arrived with any teeth because that ride in a Mexican bus from her country to ours is enough to rattle your wisdom teeth to hell. Abuelita would bring clothes she’d made for us and her art supplies. While my parents worked, she babysit my brother and sister and me. She’d sit on the couch with a sketchpad in her lap, I’d sit next to her with a sketchpad in mine, and we’d draw whatever the eff we felt like. Often, we’d watch television starring Michael Landon. She really enjoyed Highway to Heaven or Little House on the Prairie. She made art to Michael Landon the way some people do their homework to the radio. I used to do my homework to classical music because I heard Mozart makes you smarter but not in P.E.
The only time Abuelita and I fought was when she ratted me out for eating cookies all day. She told my mom that I wasn’t cleaning my room and that I wasn’t eating well-rounded lunches and I felt betrayed. She had been teaching me to be a summertime eccentric and now she was turning me in for eccentric eating habits. I thought she was a bitch, but then I got over it and loved her again and went back to making art with her. Abuelita’s laundry was conceptual art. She wore gigantic calzones and refused to wash them by machine. She scrubbed out their crotch in the blue sink and then hung them to air dry in the backyard, along a clothesline she strung over our rosemary. The wind arrived and blew the chonis full and they became clouds that you could see yourself or Michael Jackson or whipped cream in. Conceptual mysteries. Abuelita’s calzones.
So, I’m super glad Abueltia made the ride to see us in the summers to share her artist’s lifestyle with my brother and sister and me. Because of her, I can confidently photoshop myself into Robert Mapplethorpe, call it art, and feel better about myself for becoming a dead gay man. Gracias, Abuelita que estas en el cielo.