KC ORTIZ interview on these-delights.com

November 19 2011 . 07:10pm

White Wash, a new exhibition by POSE and KC Ortiz, opens at Known Gallery on November 19. I caught up with KC and asked him a couple questions about the upcoming show, and in this interview, he discusses the struggles of West Papua and Burma as well as his growth as a photographer.

How did you come up with the title and theme for your show?
The name of our show is White Wash. POSE and I came to the name through a discussion on our work and how different it is yet how similar it is at its core philosophically. I will let POSE explain his interpretation of the title, but for me, it applies to the people I have documented.

Much of the work I do covers those who have been whitewashed, so to say, by history and policy. Whitewashing pertains to censorship, conspiracy, revisionism and the cover up of truth. Specifically, the work I will be exhibiting is from West Papua and Burma. You won’t find either of those “nations” on the map. Burma has been renamed Myanmar by its ruling junta in order to establish the fantasy of a unified nation that has never in fact been unified, and West Papua has been occupied by Indonesia since 1963 after a very controversial handover from the Dutch that was orchestrated by the United States.

In this exhibition, the struggles of West Papua and Burma are unified through the theme of resistance, victimhood of whitewashing by the world at large, beauty of their people, and strength of the human spirit and dignity.

This is your second show at Known. How is this show different than your last?
I tend to think that my first show at Known was a bit of an experiment—for the gallery, the public and myself. Known really believed in my work and thought it had a place in the art world, outside the traditional outlets that my work is accustomed to, such as magazines and papers. Initially, I was a bit reluctant to take that dive as I had major concerns that it would in some way exploit the people and stories that I work on. I had long discussions with POSE, and a number of other friends in the art world, photo world and my world. I was able to get over the initial hesitance when I realized the reach and appreciation that my work can have in a gallery setting. The overall goal of what I do, after all, is to bring exposure to these issues, and any channel that presents itself should be taken advantage of. Known believes in this, they believe in my work, and they believe there is an audience for it.

From: these-delights.com

 

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POSE interview on these-delights.com

November 19 2011 . 06:22pm

White Wash, a new exhibition by POSE and KC Ortiz, opens at Known Gallery on November 19. I caught up with POSE and asked him a few questions about the upcoming show, and in this interview, he discusses the buff, importance of human expression, his inspirations, new works and growth as an artist.

How did you come up with the title and theme for your show?
For me, White Wash pertains to both the physical act of painting over/covering up different forms of human expression like graffiti, and also the metaphorical side of censoring the human voice and the spirit of imagination. For better or worse, I feel my work comes out of a very American experience and whitewashing in all its definitions is a very historically loaded reference point.

Shortly after I began writing graffiti, Chicago took an extremely hard-line stance on its eradication, outlawing the sale and possession of spraypaint and implementing Mayor Daley’s Graffiti Blasters program. Ever since Mayor Daley started the initiative in 1993, they have notoriously painted out anything and everything resembling the slightest of human expression. (I have seen MDGB brown buff over trees, stop signs, legal community murals, etc.)

As a young child, graffiti opened my eyes to the world, empowered me and taught me everything I’ve ever needed to know about life. Riding the train and seeing all the cartoon characters, letters, shapes, colors and signage along the rooftops was not only electrifying and inspiring, but also inviting. It was inviting me to dive in and escape a harsh world, which didn’t seem to offer much. Without me being able to see other artists’ public acts of self-expression and accept their invitation, I don’t think I would be here and I certainly don’t think the world would be as interesting and rich.

This is why for this show, I decided to dig back into my fondest, most juvenile and pure memories—riding the train every day before the lines were buffed brown, exploring every nook and cranny of the city, and using everyday typography, cartoons, colors and designs to express myself and create a public identity within the architecture of the city.

As the years progress, everything is more tight, more P.C. and cleaned up quicker and with much more vigilance. So I felt that the time was right for me to investigate this with my paintings. If anything, recalling the time I had as a kid before my city’s vibrant youth culture was eradicated and drawing on it for inspiration is an incredibly rich process, and makes me thankful that no city official can eradicate my memories.

What inspired the new works?
Everyday lowbrow forms of self expression, i.e. carving your girlfriend’s name into a tree or bus stop, a little personal swing added to a hand-painted fast food sign, comics, clip art, gang cards, social club signs, patches, jackets, graffiti and the buff.

I was playing with the concept of eradicating graffiti, and my starting point for investigation was to sort of “reverse buff,” similar to Mickey Mouse’s magic brush, where if you took a roller or paintbrush to a wall, imagery would appear where you painted rather than disappear.

This is your second show at Known. How is this show different than your last?
I feel a lot more comfortable as a practicing studio artist now. And my paintings are coming from a stronger place conceptually. I feel like I have gotten to the root and soul of what I want to discuss and explore with my studio paintings.

Last year, I had an incredible experience preparing for Rumble, but it was much more of an experiment to see if I could produce studio paintings and get the same sort of energy and excitement as I do working on the street.

I was really exercising a lot of demons for the last show, training myself to calm down and let it all out in a different environment and seeing what I could do technically. I’m sure any graff writer with two decades in it that tries to move from a can and a city to tiny brush and a canvas will tell you that at first it feels like going from a diet of pure cocaine to decaf coffee. Now I am at a point where I am completely addicted to working in the studio and it feels like a natural transition when working outdoors or indoors.

From: these-delights.com

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