About ten years ago, Mario Ybarra Jr, Karla Diaz, and Juan Capistran founded Slanguage Studio in Wilimington, California. Slanguage began modestly as an expanded studio providing work space for the artists as well as an open space for the community to come in draw, sculpt, dance, or just tell stories and hang out. Over the years, Slanguage Studio has evolved into a gallery, a site for workshops and events, as well as a residency that recently brought in artists Christopher Rivera and Radames “Juni” Figueroa from the East Coast and Puerto Rico, respectively.
When LACMA decided to collaborate with Watts House Project, an artist-driven and neighborhood-centered project across the street from Watts Towers, the opportunity to connect WHP with Slanguage seemed obvious. Working with Edgar Arceneaux, Will Sheffie, and Trinidad Ruiz of WHP, as well as the incredibly talented architects of Escher GuneWardena, Ybarra and Diaz have taken on a challenging collaboration.
I recently went down to Watts to discuss the project with the artists as well as Possible Worlds, a small exhibition that opened just last weekend at LACMA, in which the artists have curated out of the museum’s permanent collection.
Rita Gonzalez, Associate Curator, Contemporary Art