Art Division’s Community Printmaking Event was filled with students, children and other people from the neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, January 14. In spite of the pouring rain, a large group gathered to participate in the event. Each attendee was able to make their own Demián Flores print, guided by Art Division Printmaking Instructors Javier Carrillo and Victor Reyes. The event was the brainchild of Maria Galicia, a former Program Coordinator at Art Division, currently working at the USC Fisher Museum of Art.
Javier explained that Demián Flores, whose work was on view at the Art Division Gallery until January 14, frequently hosts similar events at his studio in Oaxaca. Maria was inspired by Flores’ work to create a similar event here at Art Division. “Demián’s such a great guy,” Javier said. “He loves to give back, and we wanted to do the same.” Javier was surprised by the large turnout because he’d been expecting that people might stay home because of the rain. He thinks that community members, many of whom are originally from central Mexico, may have been intrigued by the subject matter. “People really responded to the prints because they could relate culturally. One girl recognized an image from Oaxacan mythology,” Javier said.
Alexander Ramirez, age 9, came with his mother and her partner. “I’ve never made a print,” he said, as Victor guided him through the printmaking process. “I’m pretty excited.” He left that day with a print of his own to take home.
Dmitrius Anton, who lives near Art Division, found out about the event when Victor handed him a flyer on the street earlier that week. “It was divine orchestration,” Anton said. “I usually do guerrilla printmaking myself and I see an overlap with my own work.” After making a print, he pulled from his pocket a small notebook of his sketches, pointing out a drawing of an unhoused man going through a garbage dumpster. “I’ve been unhoused myself, so I have empathy,” Anton said. He, too, went home with a print of his own.
Another community member, Lisa Izumi, had heard about the event through an artist field. In addition to the opportunity to make a print, she appreciated the friendliness of the event, with people mingling over snacks and music. “I’m so impressed by the colors here, and I love the vibe,” she said.
Because the event was so successful, the Art Division staff has decided to host more community printmaking events in the future. The upcoming Anima/Animal show, which runs from mid-February through May, will also end with a community printmaking event, this time with prints by Victor Reyes.