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Juventino Aranda

County: King County




James W. Ray Venture Project Awards 2016
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Aranda is at the intersection of Mexican and American. Not Hispanic or Latino, yet feels the effects of the Spanish conquest still over 500 years later. A search for self-identity informs his process as it relates to Pre-Columbian Mexico and the social, political, and economic struggles of this late capitalistic American nightmare.

Working the land for low pay is his family’s history to sustain America’s metaphorical dream. He is from Walla Walla, WA, home to wheat, vineyards and orchards. Wonder Bread is born there along with the grapes for jelly that then create that perfect union with JIF®.

From the street to the gallery, Aranda is an archeologist, historian, and architect to a shifting American society.

Juventino’s work is informed by his family’s history, which parallels the immigration experience and narrative of Mexicans in the United States. At twenty-five he became the first person in his family to graduate from University, which coincidentally was the same age his dad was when he came to the United States as an undocumented Mexican immigrant. As a child, faux gold picture frames filled with mass produced art were purchased as home décor. This décor was never removed from its corrugated cardboard protectors to maintain a pristine condition. These same pieces sat unhung, yet in mint condition for over twenty-five years in his childhood home. The inspiration for his proposed project lies in these frames, which will be re-appropriated in bronze and cardboard as well as include contemporary content of cultural iconography within the frames.

The allocation of funds from this award will allow Aranda to scan, resize, mold, cast, finish, and create this large scale project. The funds will allow for three-dimensional digital renderings of the original 16”x20” faux gold frames. The renderings will be used to scale-up the original frame to an oversized 55”x75”, which will allow for a mold to be milled using computer numerical controlled machines (CNC). The mold will be cast three to five times in bronze and polished to a mirror finish. In addition, custom cardboard protectors will be fabricated at Spokane Packaging to fit the 55”x75” bronze frames to replicate the way the original frame was preserved for over two-decades. The replication of low-brow, kitsch décor to a larger than life size using the fine art process and materials of bronze casting elevates the frames and content to high-art status, while the cardboard surrounding the frames adds critiques of insular structures.

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