Julia Arredondo

Zine With Skirt
canvas, thread, paint, screen-printed patches, hand-drawn pinback button, Free People bellbottom jean scraps
24 x 18 in.

Self-empowerment is a main focus of my work, specifically in the realm of publications and works on paper. Aspiring to be more like cartoon characters who suffer trauma but never seem to carry emotional baggage, I believe in the power of constructing positive present and future actions by taking sometimes traumatic past experiences and letting those memories work for me. I seek to empower myself and others in a way that lets us confront oppressive experiences and turn them into badges of strength, humor, and grace.

Coming from a background rooted in poverty, the habit of collecting has found its way into my practice of making art. Interesting scraps of paper found on the street, remnants of old clothing made of fine fabric, discarded canvases too good to throw away; these are the mediums that I work with. Although my process of collecting is essentially a practice of frugality, I do take pride in re-purposing what otherwise might be considered trash. So as I gather these pieces and they begin to take space in my apartment, I begin to assemble collections of them into formal pieces of artwork. The scraps of paper are translated into separate silkscreens so that I can arrange them as prints, and the clippings of clothing are sewn together almost as a time capsule of sorts (i.e. what I was wearing, what patches I was printing, what motifs I focused on). All of these separate elements from different origins come together in my work to form their own language and history. Past trauma aside, I like to think they now exist harmoniously in their own worlds.