Shizu Saldamando’s artwork is a democratic pastiche of portraits carefully transferred onto wood, washi paper, and gold leaf or painstakingly inked via ballpoint pen onto bed sheets and school Pee-Chee folders. The artist’s materials reflect the same high-low blend as her influences, which include teenage peeks at cholo magazines and vintage Chicano art.
Alhough Saldamando’s art is grounded in her ethnic identity (Japanese-American and Mexican-American), labels take a backseat to vivid, hyper-realistic portraits of her friends, recreated from photos snapped at backyard barbecues, art gallery openings, and dance clubs.
Already a participant in exhibitions at LACMA and the National Portrait Gallery, Saldamando is looking forward to her first West Coast solo show. When You Sleep: A Survey of Shizu Saldamando, which opens September 10th at the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College, showcases new works alongside her older pieces.
Even for established artists, success doesn’t come easily. That’s why Saldamando is taking fate into her own hands. She’s holding a fundraiser with USA Projects (it’s like Kickstarter for artsy types) to raise money for a print catalogue that will accompany the exhibition. In the name of accessibility, she’s aiming to keep the price as low as possible.
The site has already garnered over $5,000 against its $12,000 goal with 28 days remaining. But as with Kickstarter, no donations go to Saldamando unless the full amount comes through in time. The deadline is April 30th.