By Brian Rojas
For this series, we are highlighting local Santa Monica artisans that are part of the Market Exchange project, initiated and facilitated by the artists Cog•nate Collective. Market Exchange is a collaboration between Santa Monica artisans and Cog•nate Collective that creates platforms for empowerment by establishing alternative economic forms of self-determination for local crafts people and small businesses. This collaboration is dedicated to honoring the richness of artisan production in Santa Monica towards developing a community-envisioned and community-directed marketplace that will amplify the works of local artisans and artists, while providing sustainable economic opportunities. You can learn more and purchase artisanal products at marketexchange.18thstreet.org. In this post, we highlight artist Laura Hernandez.
Laura Hernandez is from Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to the United States in 1989. Laura, who has lived in Santa Monica for more than 15 years, has always enjoyed painting and crafts. It’s something she’s always been passionate about for as long as she could remember. Laura has been collecting rocks and painting them since she was a child. She was even known to paint t-shirts. Art has always been a part of her life, particularly throughout the pandemic, since it has helped her cope with stress. Laura creates handmade crafts with recyclable materials. Making art with materials she finds on the street, such as rocks, sand, seashells, tree branches, and whatever else she can find.
She feels that the most important takeaway from creating this type of art is teaching people that we can recycle objects and give them new life or purpose. Working with this sort of art offers her personal happiness because it comes from the heart of each person who practices it. It’s also another way to help save the environment through recycling. This conservationist mentality has even driven Laura to teach her children about artisanal processes through working on projects together. Although many people may not see cast-off objects as useful, Laura always has the ability to makeshift anything into something she could use.
ININ HER OWN WORDS (excerpt from an interview with Laura Hernandez)
“I like to do a lot of art but with things like that I find in the street some stones, some sand from the sea shells there is always something that I see that would help me in some way like gathering branches off some trees and painting them. It’s something that I am also leaving my children because we have worked on, so to speak, projects together where we are walking and there are also things that we find and my children say, “Mommy this is good for me, that helps us to finish this project.” It fills me with great satisfaction, I have it in my blood and I am transmitting it to my children.”
(In the original Spanish) “A mi me gusta ser mucha arte pero con cosas igual que encuentro en la calle algunas piedras algunas arena del mar conchas siempre hay algo que lo veo y poco eso me serviría para esto algunas ramas de unas árboles las pinto [inaudible] y eso es algo que estoy también dejándoles a mis hijos porque hemos trabajado en por decirlo de alguna manera proyectos juntos donde vamos caminando y hayos también van encontrando cosas y me dice no mira mami esto me sirve para esto eso nos sirve para terminar este proyecto. Es me llena mucho de satisfacción, yo lo llevo en la sangre por decirlo y lo estoy transmitiendo a mis hijos.”
“I would like people to get to know my art. Know that it is not just something that I do to do it but something that fills me with satisfaction. Something that won’t serve a person for someone for me is something very great because I can give it another way of life or use. I would like people to know that I don’t do it just do it but I have to reuse things so people can see that sometimes there’s another use for things. Everything in this world is used, even if it is garbage, we can reuse it again and thus continue taking care of our planet.”
(In the original Spanish) “A mi me gustaría que la gente que llegue a conocer mi arte. Sepa que no nada más es algo que lo hago por hacerlo sino que algo que me llena de satisfacción. Algo que como decirlo de verdad sí para una persona no le sirve algo para mí es algo muy grande que le puede dar otra manera de vida o uso. Me gustaría que la gente sepa eso de mi que no nada más algo las casas para serlo si no tengo eso de reusar las cosa que para otra otra persona puede ser basura entonces eso me gustaría que la gente vea. Todo en este mundo es usado aunque sea basura lo podemos volver a rehusar y así seguir cuidando nuestro planeta.”