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POC Voices

Underground Art

By: Alan Rivas

  

Are you feeling bored, unmotivated, or uninspired? Well, luckily for you, there is art all around us if you keep your eyes and mind open. Come with us as we interview two amazing underground artists who find inspiration from many aspects of life.

 

 

In a society where it is easy to feel bored, unmotivated or uninspired, we must open ourselves to the endless possibilities of art around us. Some of the best art is crafted by people we pass by every day; the people we see in the grocery store, at the gas station or next to us in class.

 

Art as Global Activism

These everyday people are artists like Cinematicz, a Palestinian-American multidimensional artist from Houston, who is defacing the streets of Los Angeles with their art to protest the genocide in Gaza. Drawing from their experience as a Palestinian in exile, they create art inspired by their family’s longing to return to their hometown of Yaffa, where they were exiled in 1948. 

 

This aggression toward Palestinians has not stopped. In Oct. 2023, Israel launched a full-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip, which has killed thousands of innocent Palestinians. Those who remain are left hungry, homeless, injured and terrified from the brutality they have endured. The wrath that Israel has inflicted on Gaza is genocidal. Israel has detonated over 25,000 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip since fighting began on Oct. 7. 

 

Originally starting as a graphic designer, they went on a trip to Palestine in 2019 and became heavily inspired by the graffiti and art that engulfed the walls meant to uphold Palestinians in apartheid. Soon afterward, they looked toward different mediums of art to express their voice as an exiled Palestinian artist, including painting, drawing, graffiti, wheat pasting and videography. 

 

Since the invasion of Gaza, Cinematicz has devoted all of their time to bringing public awareness to the genocide. One of their most popular forms of getting their voice across to the public is wheat pasting, a non-destructive adhesive made of wheat flour and water used to mount their posters on walls throughout LA. In their commitment to raising awareness of Palestine, Cinematicz offers much of their artwork for free, so anyone can print out their posters, stickers or stencils to bring awareness to Palestine. They have also recently displayed various artworks at the Pain Sugar Gallery in Riverside, California, including a concrete wall built to replicate one of the many walls in Palestine, which is full of their artwork.

 

Cinematicz can be visited on Instagram and TikTok @cinematicz.underground. 

 

Photography as Empowerment

Nora Enamor, a Salvadoran-American photographer, uses her love of fashion and natural light to beautifully display people of color. Enamor’s love for photography was birthed through the countless hours spent with her grandfather, who was also an artist. Enamor decided she wanted to emphasize documenting people of color because of the harsh Eurocentric beauty standards currently in place in our society. 

 

I was kind of ashamed for having such ethnic features. I had a big nose, and I had small eyes, and I didn’t like myself for a long time,” Enamor said. 

 

Being in LA, you are thrown into the deep end of a big melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities. Through that, Enamor began to witness people with similar features as hers and found that these ethnic features are just as beautiful as the Eurocentric beauty standards that we usually see. 

 

Another important factor in Enamor’s photography is her use of location and sunlight. She specifically shoots outdoors with the sun as her main source of light. Growing up in LA allowed her to find beauty in the vibrant and colorful buildings that are scattered across the city. The combination of sunlight, the use of vibrant buildings and her use of color film gives her art a warm and inviting glow. 

 

When feeling uninspired or unmotivated to produce work, Enamor enjoys delving into the photo archives of her friends and family to seek inspiration. Most recently, she embarked on a trip to Tokyo, where she produced a zine about Japanese fashion. 

 

In crafting this zine, Enamor found it easy to find people who were well-dressed.  She wandered the streets of Tokyo to find fashionable people to photograph, resulting in hundreds of photos capturing the beauty of Japanese fashion. She has been able to showcase her work in multiple art shows across LA.

 

While both these artists draw their creative inspiration from different aspects of life, what is certain of their artistic journeys is that art lies within us and our experiences. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of living to create beauty. Whether you consider yourself a traditional artist or not, we are all human, and thus, we all obtain the capacity to be creative.

 

This quote under here can be a good design element – cam

 

“To create is to bring something into existence that wasn’t there before,” – Rick Rubin