People often ask us where we create our posters and how are able to create as much work as we do. In 2003 Jesus and our compañera Favianna Rodriguez decided to start their own studio and collectivized their resources in order to do so. They received a couple of grants that helped seed the studio needs and the Taller Tupac Amaru was born. In addition to some of the financial resources they combined to buy inks and paper they also received alot of love from artists who were “retiring” out printmaking who passed on their equipment for almost nothing.
I joined the Taller in 2007 and also began to contribute to the collective resources used to keep the studio going. We own our own printing table, drying racks, a homemade exposure unit and regularly use the resources from poster sales to buy supplies like ink and paper. From time to time we receive material donations like paper or smaller printing racks that help us keep the work going.
The Taller Tupac Amaru allows the three of us to share a studio to meet our printing needs. Last month we won Best of the Bay Art Collective by the East Bay Express.
About a year or so ago our comrades and fellow artists Josh MacPhee and Alec “icky” Dunn interviewed Jesus, Favianna and I about the history of the Taller and about how we approach doing our work. Josh, Alec, Jesus, Favianna and I are all part of Justseeds.org aartist-worker owned cooperative. So when Josh and Alec were visiting the Bay we sat down for over three hours to talk about our our personal histories as artists, the history of the Taller and our thoughts on how twe approach creating political art.
They conducted this interview for the inaugural issue of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture.is a full color, 140 page book about international political art, graphics, and culture
In their blog entry, they describe the reasons for wanting to produce Signal: (read full entry)
We wanted to highlight current artists who we thought were doing compelling work, and also to draw connections to the rich history of art and culture associated with resistance and social movements. We especially wanted to share some of the incredible graphics and cultural documents we’ve seen from other struggles around the world, as most North Americans suffer from a myopia about events taking place beyond our borders.
Jesus and I, as Dignidad Rebelde, enjoy sharing a studio with Favianna since we all are creating political graphics and have some shared and some unique approaches to doing our work as artists. Together we are all contributing toward keeping the tradition of Xicana printmaking alive.