Welcome to the 10th installment of the interview series Meet LA’s Art Community. Check out our past interviews here.
This week, we interview artist Jazmín Urrea, who works with installation, photography, video, and performance. In her practice, Urrea examines symbols and totems prevalent in Latino communities. She received her MFA in Photography and Media from the California Institute of the Arts (2017), and a BFA in Photography from CSU Long Beach (2014). Urrea’s installations have been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the J. Paul Getty Museum, University Art Museum (UAM) Long Beach, and SADE LA. She currently lives and works in South Central Los Angeles.
Where were you born?
Pioneer Hospital, in Artesia, CA. This hospital no longer exists.
How long have you been living in Los Angeles?
Since 1990! I was born and raised here in Los Angeles.
What’s your first memory of seeing art?
My family’s home. My mother used to work in a factory that made airplane parts by day and used to sell Home Interior by night. Home Interior was a company that sold Renaissance–inspired prints of paintings, floral arrangements, etc., to decorate homes and offices. The print I vividly remember was of a little girl sitting on the piano staring out into the distance.
Do you like to photograph the art you see? If so, what device do you use to photograph?
When I truly love an artwork, I like to photograph it on my phone with the artist label. I like to know who made the work so I can add it to my personal list of artists I should know.
What was your favorite exhibition in Los Angeles this year?
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
El Super, by Kurt Hollander. It talks about what the traditional Mexican diet was and has become.
Do you prefer to see art alone or with friends?
I usually prefer to see art with my art crew, aka my friends. Seeing art with them becomes a whole day affair! We gallery/museum hop, talk about the work, and debrief about what we saw.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently preparing for a talk I have coming up in 2020 for Art in a Changing America’s Imagining a New Map that will be taking place at REDCAT. I am also collaborating with a nonprofit organization called Able ARTS Work and their students on an art project that we will be exhibiting in the spring of 2020.
What is one accomplishment that you are particularly proud of?
My contribution to this year’s Current: LA Public Art Triennial! “IMPERISHABLE” was my first public art undertaking and I got to learn a lot about what it takes to create a work of art in the public sphere. I had to take into account the scale, construction, and overall durability of the piece. I also got the opportunity to work with my community of South Central. We got to bring artists, chefs, authors, and others who are working with food in the city of Los Angeles to take part in conversations about food access and justice. I am so happy and thankful that I got to share my work with my South Central LA community.
Where do you turn to for inspiration for your projects?
I am inspired and influenced by where I grew up, currently live, and my surroundings. I like to stay present and in the moment.