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©Annie Lopez, Relative Alien

Artist Statement

My paper garments represent my personal experiences and family history. As an item of clothing, they would surround and protect me. I think of them as my armor. They stand in my place to tell my story. In the series, the stories address childhood, relationships, family, stereotypes, racism and tragedy. They joke about my ethnicity before someone can use it against me. They represent the storyteller I would be, through dress styles and the text or images that appear. I’ve always been the family historian and this is an extension of that. I use the sewing skills I learned at eight years old and combine them with the cyanotype printing process I’ve used for more than thirty years.

Annie Lopez Remnants of Long Term Memory.jpg

©Annie Lopez, Hermana

© Annie Lopez,  AKA Pargie

I like to relate to the materials I use in my art. I am the subject, and there should be a reason I choose them. Paper has always been my work surface-it’s just the type of paper that’s changed. I began as a photographer, printing on photo paper. The photos were nice, but they never had the feel I wanted from my images. I still print on watercolor paper and experiment with other papers, but I wanted something different from the usual art store paper. In the “Hispanic Foods” section of a grocery store, I found the paper used to wrap tamales. My family made tamales, but never used the paper to wrap them. My curiosity about the product convinced me to try it. I found it held the print and stitching and when the individual prints are stitched together, the paper created a sculptural form. I can make a garment, or frame the pieces stitched together as a single work. The bonus for me is, the paper I use connects my art to my culture.

© Annie Lopez, Hermana

Annie Lopez Nana de la Rosa.jpg

© Annie Lopez, Nana de la Rosa

© Annie Lopez, Native North American

My curiosity about the stories behind certain photos found in my parents’ photo albums led to my retelling them as part of my print series. The photographs spark memories of family I lived with and family I never met.

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