Hey folks! Welcome back! This week, we feature Shizu Saldamando of Los Angeles, California. She’s an artist who donated one of her awesome pieces to our online art auction last December, and we recently had the pleasure of getting to know her. Check her out below!
Third Woman Press Collective (TWPC): Hi there, Shizu! Thanks for making time for us. We’re glad to have this opportunity! Let’s start with where your geographic location is?
Shizu Saldamando (SS): I am located in Los Angeles, CA. I was born and raised in S.F.’s Mission District and moved to LA for art school and stayed here.
TWPC: California born and raised, nice. How do you define your feminism?
SS: For beginners, just that women are people. For advanced: being a person doesn’t mean you are either male or female. People are fluid and gender is forever oscillating, moving and morphing into new forms, undefinable and beautiful in its perpetual ambiguity.
TWPC: The deconstruction of a gender binary is definitely a key aspect to feminism. So, Shizu, what keeps you busy?
SS: I create my own art (my studio practice involves drawing and painting, video installation, sculpture, etc.), do some public art for LA’s Metro or other transit (did a poster for BART once), work part-time at Old No.13 Tattoo shop in East L.A., and also try to keep up with press stuff like this.
TWPC: Sweet! We’re glad to hear you’re all over the place with your art! We thank you again for your donation. It was an invaluable asset to our online auction! What influenced your decision to help fundraise for Third Woman Press?
SS: I get asked to donate my time and art to a lot of different fundraisers for non-profit groups that I’m not all that familiar with so a lot of the time I can’t really extend myself to everyone. Your organization asked if I was willing to participate in a fundraiser in a different capacity that involved a lot more of my time that I couldn’t really extend so I offered to donate a print instead.
TWPC: And we appreciate it! Every little thing helps. We’re also stoked we’ve been able to meet so many awesome artists in this way. What tips do you have for emerging feminist artists?
SS: Find a good support system and find out what your passion is. Being reactive is fine but I find it a necessary luxury to actually find what I really love and do work about that. In art school, I found myself consumed by doing works critiquing the institution as a response to the various ‘isms’ I encountered there.
I never was happy with that work other than recognizing its function as a way to provoke dialogue about things that were being taken for granted there.
Once I graduated school, I was able to re-locate what really inspired me and it wasn’t making institutional critique about the art world, it was my close circle of friends and family and I chose to focus on sharing that in my practice. My work turned more pro-active instead of re-active and I became a much more healthy person all around because of that.
Now, if your passion is institutional critique and social justice then by all means go for it. Off the top of my head, Adrian Piper and Andrea Fraser are two examples of artists who have the lock on undermining and questioning the institution through their work. But I have a feeling a lot of people are so consumed by the various ‘isms’ we all face that it is really difficult to find where your true passion is buried within that pain. It’s like we have to mine through all the bs first and just work through it to even begin considering what or who you would be if you didn’t have to deal with all of that.
TWPC: Always remember to find yourself and what drives you personally, we like that. That’s great advice. It’s easy to get lost in these things, and we’re glad that you were able to find inspiration in your loved ones. Is there any specific area, field, or place that you feel really needs a feminist intervention right now?
SS: Hollywood, television, magazines, academia, the corporate world. All industries could benefit from more women’s perspectives.
TWPC: We agree! Most of those areas are driven by inherently sexist systems in desperate need of some smashing. What kinds of things do you like to do for fun?
SS: I like to work on my art. I like going to backyard hardcore punk shows that end in random 80s dance parties. I like “DJing” random friend’s events. I also like going to dive bars, getting drunk, and talking shit with close friends.
TWPC: We love it, Shizu. We’re glad you’re finding time to have fun, kick back, and kick ass. Since you helped TWP raise money, what is one thing that excited you about the revitalization or what would you like to see TWP do overall?
SS: I hope TWP continues to support alternative narratives and creates a space and community system for a lot of writers and readers that need it.
We’d like to send out our thanks to Shizu and the best of luck as she continues her art endeavors. To see what awesome things she’s got cooking now, check out her tumblr or website here. Keep rocking on!