Changarrito with Corinne Whittemore

Sep. 21, 2019

Sep. 21, 2019 @ 12:00 pm Sep. 22, 2019 @ 3:00 pm

Cover image artwork: Corinne Whittemore, “Habla Tex,” Sublimation Print on Aluminum, (48″ x 17″) and (24″ x 8.5″), 2015

Support our September 2019 Changarrito Artist, Corinne Whittemore! In the spirit of Changarrito, the pop-up mobile art gallery where artists can sell their work to the public, Changarrito with Corinne Whittemore allows the artist to bring their work to you. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates on original work available for purchase as well as behind the scenes of the artist’s work, space, and creative process.

About the Artist: 

Corinne Whittemore is an artist, single mother, graphic designer and educator. She grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, received her MFA in Visual Communications from the University of Arizona and has been teaching at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for the past four years in graphic design. Corinne has worked in the field of graphic design for over fifteen years as a Production Artist, Graphic Designer, Marketing Coordinator and Freelancer on both the East and West Coasts. She lived, most recently, in Virginia Beach, VA before moving back to the Valley in 2014. Having grown up in the Valley, Corinne has first-hand experience with its unique border culture and she has focused her research and digital artwork around the hybridity of the borderlands

Artist Statement 

“My art is an exploration of identity and environment as well as a documentation of border culture. Border culture exists both in identifiable geographic areas and as a perceived and sacred internal space that visually and linguistically blends cultural experience and identity.

The U.S./Mexico border of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), is often a place where the blending of American and Mexican culture occurs. Although this “blending” is sometimes viewed as negative, forceful, oppressive and/or stemming from colonialism, my experience is that while the combination is full of complexity and paradox, it is also beautiful and welcomed. I refer to this fragmented cultural fusion as ‘Valley Cultura’ or ‘Valley Culture’; it is a visual account of my hybrid border identity. My digital art is a transcultural narrative from the female perspective. It is as much a personal documentation and exploration of my struggle to find, claim and embrace place and cultural identity as it is a visual account of the thriving culture unique this region.

My desire to celebrate the combined cultures stems from my personal experience with adoption. I was adopted as an infant to a loving white couple with only one piece of information about my biological heritage being passed to my adoptive parents through my caseworker—that I am of Mexican descent. As was common during the time, my adoption was closed, which meant that all records concerning both parties were sealed.

The border is a metaphor for me on many levels. It reflects a psychological impasse; an internal boundary that fails to be breached. The “other side” has a fantastical and somewhat surreal element where there is a longing to fit, find residence and blend with my surroundings. A border can be defined as: an “other;” a story unfamiliar, unknown, feared, rejected, formerly dismissed. A divide. Closed adoption has created a divide; a communication barrier between myself and my biological cultural heritage. Valley Cultura provides me with a malleable and flexible space that allows the blending and melding to occur freely in my art through objects, textures and colors.

Another source of my passion and desire to blend the two cultures into something I find beautiful is my daughter, Elizabeth. She is also adopted. Elizabeth’s adoption is not closed, it is open. Her birth mother is Mexican and her birth father is White.

Together, these stories fuel my art and drive my desire to document the beauty and paradox of my borderland narrative. I use the images from photographs I have taken over a period of 15 years of areas along the border and in the RGV of flea markets, religious icons, popular culture and street and storefront signage superimposing and layering them together creating a new space; digitally manipulating objects, colors and textures to create new vibrant landscapes. Through my art I strive to analyze and deconstruct; internalize and resonate with; re-construct and re-envision in order to form a new visual heritage, a new image of combined culture—Valley Cultura.”

About Changarrito Project:

Changarrito is an art vending cart, conceptualized by artist Maximo Gonzalez as an alternative to the official gallery selection presented by the Mexican cultural authorities. Faithful to their original, informal spirit, Changarritos exist throughout the world, evolving as forums for the sale of original artwork to the general public, presentation of public programs, special curatorial projects, individual and collective exhibitions. True to the Mexic-Arte Museum’s mission, the Changarrito is dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary Latinx and Latin American art. 

Changarrito vending cart:

True to the Mexic-Arte Museum’s mission, the Changarrito is dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary Latina/o and Latin American art. Artists will have the opportunity to sell their art on the Changarrito cart in front of the Museum (or an offsite location, as a representative for the Museum during various Austin art festivals) while keeping 100% of sales. For each Changarrito artist, the Museum purchases a work of art to acquire for its permanent collection. The time commitment is four days over two weekends, Saturday and Sunday 12 – 3 pm.

Presenting Changarrito’s virtual component:

As of Spring 2020, the Mexic-Arte Museum has added a virtual component to the Changarrito Artist Residency, allowing Changarrito artists to not only showcase their artwork on the Changarrito vending cart, but also to the museum’s Facebook and Instagram audience for the month the Changarrito Artist Residency takes place. Artists are allowed to showcase themselves or artwork through ten to twelve Facebook and Instagram posts for the entire month and get the chance to be interviewed via an Instagram Live interview byMexic-Arte Museum’s Curator Of Exhibitions and Director Of Programs, Isabel Servantez during the last Tuesday or Thursday of the month. The Instagram Live interview is optional. 

Chosen artists will be able to display their artwork, create video and picture posts, sell their artwork, and walk us through their artistic process throughout the month. Rules on posting: 3 posts per week for a total of 10 – 12 posts for the whole month, via Mexic-Arte Museum’s Instagram account (@mexic_arte) and Facebook account (@mexicarte).

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