ARTSPEAK RADIO + Kiki Serna, Anthony Oropeza, Linda Lighton, & Bernadette Torres

Wednesday February 13, 2019 noon to 1PM CST

Producer/host Maria Vasquez Boyd welcomes a plethora of artists; Kiki Serna, Anthony Oropeza, Linda Lighton, and Bernadette Torres.

AQUETZALI (KIKI) SERNA is a Mexican visual artist living in Kansas City, Missouri. Kiki works within performance, painting, digital mixed media, and collage based practices. Since her time at the Kansas City Art Institute, she has worked on telling her, and her family’s immigration story – deciphering it for herself, and sharing it with others. Once undocumented, now part of the DACA program, Kiki craves to find healing, catharsis, and a voice through her creative art practice. Her pieces develop from her inner feelings of alienation, confusion, and fragmentation as an immigrant. Kiki combats these thoughts by using color to celebrate the empowering aspects of her immigrant history and experience. Using color as her ally, she relives bi-curiously through the passages she once walked as a child – The brightly colored buildings, the sweet tastes of fruit outside her great grandfather’s home, and the lively, populated streets.
Due to her immigration status, Kiki can’t return to Mexico, so she uses specific tools to guide her research; Stories from her parents, conversations with her family who still reside in Mexico, images from her relatives via social media, and other digital resources. This brings a question to thought – Which reality is most accurate? That which resides within the fragmented truth that these tools bring, a window to an ever changing Mexico in which she has never set foot – or simply that which derives from her diluted memories? She finds herself asking if either truth matters more, the original, or the manufactured – and if there is a home for her among it all.
The artists will exhibit their commissioned images on the exterior, double-sided billboards rising above Mobank at 125 Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri. The Artboards will be visible to the public all hours of the day, and will remain on view for three months. June – August: Lilly McElroy and Xan Holt + Kiki Serna.

ANTHONY OROPEZA runs AOART5, a local studio that pursues masterful artistry and design on a variety of creative projects in sports art, fine art, design, character art, consulting, and web services. Anthony’s business has the central missions of putting family first, creating work with a purpose, and using talent and hard work to assist the poor, homeless, sick and uneducated in KC. Anthony and AOART5 aim for nothing short of changing the world one project at a time–and those projects are all the more astounding as they are accomplished by working nights and weekends.
In his personal work, whether he’s creating gritty yet refined sports paintings or harmonizing art and unique storytelling in his comics, design is at the center of his work. He believes that no matter the subject, be it sports or comic books, writing or murals, graphic design or web design, there will always be a need for balance, structure, and color impact. Ultimately, his goal is for the audience to emotionally connect to his pieces. Anthony believes that if a piece doesn’t connect with others, then it is just the artist’s, but if can evoke emotion from the the viewer, then the piece is the world’s. With that in mind, he designs so that the viewer doesn’t have to think, but can simply feel. Contact Information: contactaoart5@gmail.com

LINDA LIGHTON is a prolific artist who creates without reticence. She has always addressed social and cultural topics, in particular, the infinite nuances of sexuality, repression, gender, power, control and desire across cultures. The scope of her vision embraces the bodily and the auto-biographical as well as a direct critique of the impact of gun violence in our time. The brutality that Lighton references in this exhibition is directly connected to a materialistic love of weaponry, its proliferation in homes across the United States and a disconnection between easy trigger fingers and tragic consequences. In this show, Taking Aim, Lighton links gun violence to violence against women, and then connects both ideas to capitalist greed and the human preoccupation with power, control and status. Taking Aim is directly and specifically about American culture, and the impact of gun ownership across an increasingly aggressive, deracinated and unstable society, forcing the viewer to become an unwitting participant in the dilemma that is at the heart of American culture today: that we are attracted to violence, and ashamed of our collusion in its prevalence. Lighton worries that there is a slow erosion of Democracy because of America’s unwillingness to relinquish firearms.
February 5 – May 8, 2019
“Taking Aim | Power, Gender, and Firearms” Human Rights Institute at Kean University
Union, New Jersey
www.lindalighton.com

BERNADETTE TORRES- It’s unlikely you’ll ever see Bernadette Torres without a flower in her hair. But now, if you drive by a pair of billboards on Southwest Boulevard, you’ll discover a self-portrait of the Metropolitan Community College art instructor with bouquets of flowers in her hair and seemingly flying out of it.
Torres, also director of MCC-Penn Valley’s Carter Art Center gallery, learned she’d been selected as a featured artist for the boards in December 2017. “I am very excited that after a full year, it is finally installed,” she says. “It is the largest piece of artwork of mine to date.”
The billboards are officially known as Mobank Artboards, and they’ve been a fixture in the Crossroads since 2008. Each piece commissioned for the public art program gets prime space on the side-by-side boards above the bank at 125 Southwest Blvd.
Torres calls her artwork “Blooming Enchantment,” and it’s actually a combination of images: The flowers on the left billboard originated as ceramic floral sculptures, and the self-portrait at right was created as a 5-by-5-inch glazed ceramic tile. www.bernadettetorres.com

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