alima lopez

An al­ter­na­tive to ir­rel­e­vance

Pasatiempo - - Young Artists - — Dou­glas Fair­field

Pasatiempo: Did you grow up in an artis­tic fam­ily? Alima Lopez: Yes. My fa­ther sets tile for homes and does mo­saic tile work. My mother is a dancer. My older brother is a glass blower in San Fran­cisco, and my older sis­ter is a fash­ion de­signer in New Orleans. I have an­other brother who’s in med­i­cal school. Pasa: So some­one in your fam­ily is on track to make money. Lopez: Well, some­body has to! But I think art is a unique dis­ci­pline; you have an emo­tional at­tach­ment to it, un­like so many other fields of study. Pasa: But that emo­tional con­nec­tion can be dif­fi­cult. Lopez: Fig­ur­ing out what I’m study­ing and where it’s all tied to my emo­tional be­ing— that’s the chal­lenge. In art, it’s all on an in­di­vid­ual’s shoul­ders. On top of that, oth­ers are say­ing, “Why are you tak­ing art? You need to take at least one busi­ness course just in case.” Pasa: And what is your con­tin­gency plan? Lopez: I thought about art ther­apy or art ed­u­ca­tion as pos­si­ble ca­reers out­side my art. Pasa: Apart from your creative fam­ily, what else got you in­ter­ested in art? Lopez: Art re­ally helped me in high school. It kept me away from do­ing drugs, bad sit­u­a­tions, and kept me in con­tact with good peo­ple. It up­lifted me and took my mind off of petty, ul­ti­mately ir­rel­e­vant things that young peo­ple tend to do. I also draw in­spi­ra­tion from my friends, just be­ing with them and be­ing part of a so­cial group that is in­ter­ested in art. Pasa: Any par­tic­u­lar artists, liv­ing or dead, whose work you ad­mire, art that in­forms your own? Lopez: I like Egon Schiele for his emo­tional edge and how he dis­fig­ures the hu­man form in all the right ways. Dalí was mind-blow­ing. I love how he could present what was in his mind. I also like Ansel Adams’ black-and-white photography for its clas­sic beauty. Pasa: De­scribe your work. Lopez: I’ve al­ways been into mixed me­dia, and I’ve ex­plored photography. Af­ter high school, I did more paint­ing and draw­ing. I also did pro­duc­tion sewing, fash­ion, and cos­tume de­sign just to learn the trade. I’ve also spent a lot of time learn­ing the hu­man fig­ure, some­thing all artists should know. One might say my art is all over the place, but it usu­ally comes back to the Twenty-year-old Santa Fean Alima Lopez is a fine-arts stu­dent at The Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico, works lo­cally at La Boca restau­rant, in­terns at SITE Santa Fe, and still finds time to pur­sue her art­work. In 2007, she was awarded a Ro­tary Foun­da­tion for the Arts schol­ar­ship and was hon­ored by the Santa Fe Arts Com­mis­sion with the Melissa Enge­strom Youth Artist Award. She carved out time to speak with Pasatiempo at a lo­cal restau­rant. grotesque and ro­mance. I’ve al­ways been drawn to a kind of dance be­tween the mys­te­ri­ous and the beau­ti­ful. Pasa: Where are you with your stud­ies at UNM? Lopez: I’m a sopho­more. I went to Port­land State Uni­ver­sity for art and trans­ferred back to UNM. Port­land has a great un­der­ground art scene, where artists some­times take over an en­tire street and show their work. I can’t say Santa Fe is that kind of city. It has a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to art. Pasa: Do you find Santa Fe sup­port­ive of young artists? Lopez: My ex­pe­ri­ence is that Santa Fe has been very em­brac­ing and sup­port­ive of young artists. But I feel that art pro­grams here are more geared for high-school stu­dents. Santa Fe is not sup­port­ive of, say, street art or guer­rilla art. But I am very grate­ful for what this city has given me. I’ve found my lit­tle niche. Pasa: When you grad­u­ate, will you stay in Santa Fe? Lopez: I’ll prob­a­bly go away, at least for a while. I’ve spent my life in this town and feel I should branch out. I’ve never been out of the coun­try in my life, ex­cept for Juárez when I was lit­tle. So I’m hop­ing to raise enough money to go to Rome through UNM’s art-his­tory study pro­gram, which would al­low me to take art classes there. I’ve al­ways dreamed of Europe. I’m also con­sid­er­ing grad work in San Fran­cisco, and I would like to spend time in New Orleans, where there’s a lot of com­mu­nity out­reach op­por­tu­ni­ties where peo­ple make art. Pasa: Where will you be and what might you be do­ing in five to 10 years? Lopez: I have no idea. I’m not a plan­ner. I like to know what I’m do­ing right now. But Santa Fe will al­ways be my home.

Graphite fig­ure study (work in progress) by Alima Lopez

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