In this project for Liquitex acrylic artist paints and mediums, we focused on artist Erik Parra and his intriguing mid-century themed body of work. For this particular residency Erik had access to Liquitex’s new Cadmium Free paint. Exposure to cadmium is known to be toxic, and is linked to an increased risk for cancer as well as a number of kidney and liver afflictions; inhalation can also cause a host of respiratory problems. Liquitex has been hard at work developing a non-toxic version of cadmium, and has produced a spectacular Cadmium-Free red without the toxins. In this video we see Erik talk about his process, his work, and his usage of these paints daily.
Erik in his own words… “I make paintings, drawings and collage that are often part of larger, immersive, site-specific installations. My work draws on tropes of the horrific, midcentury aesthetics & politics to ask questions about the origins of certain, current sociopolitical narratives in the vernacular of pictorial construction. Often I work in small series’ of original compositions that conflate my personal history and knowledge with mid-century historical narratives in order to view important, current social concerns through the lens of history. This serves as an entryway into a process of constructing images that draw on our conceptions of space and the stories we tell ourselves in order to navigate the environments we build.
These fabricated interiors play host to a range of potential conversations related to aesthetics, politics and history. Central to my work is an examination of postwar historical narratives, such as white flight and the American space program and their challenging effects on contemporary society. Both darkness and lightness are employed to present not only familiar looking interior spaces but also for their expressive narrative effect. Objects within each painted interior are chosen for the potential of their symbolic form to be both simultaneously loaded and banal. This duality then resonates with similar formal choices within the work and drives the potential to open new space to create productive dialogue to the attendant issues. I am interested in drawing on our collective cultural memory as informed by the histories of painting, film, aggressive underground music and radical politics in order to paint a critical, collective self-portrait at a very critical time.”
Liquitex has partnered with Minnesota Street Project to provide four Bay Area artists fully funded residencies at 1240 Minnesota Street. Developed to support the creation, presentation and dissemination of contemporary painting practices, the residency aims to support emerging artists by providing work space, materials, resources, and engagement within the studio program at Minnesota Street Project.
This announcement coincides with Liquitex’s launch of their Cadmium — Free Acrylic paints. These colors are the world’s first non-cadmium acrylic paint with the same brightness, color strength and opacity as cadmium paint, offering artists a safer option in their practice. Since their foundation in 1955 Liquitex has partnered with artists to ensure that they continually evolve and innovate. Liquitex is proud to be the first in the market to introduce a parity performance Cadmium — Free alternative for health and safety conscious artists.
Selected from a shortlist of emerging artists, Minnesota Street Project is honored to welcome:
Woody De Othello
Please note: The Liquitex Research Residency Program is annually awarded to a group of artists selected by a committee including figures from both the Project + Liquitex. The Residency does not currently accept unsolicited applications.