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Spooky art season: Lore Art Exhibition at &gallery showcases creatures from various cultures

This years Lore Art Exhibition at &gallery was centered around creatures from various cultures and folklores.
AJ Stash Castillo
This year’s Lore Art Exhibition at &gallery was centered around creatures from various cultures and folklores.

The third annual Lore Art Exhibition at &gallery on 4th Avenue is now open to the public. As one of the most popular shows of the year, it offers artists a way to express their culture through their art. This year’s theme was ‘creatures’ and the artists understood the assignment.

Curator and owner of &gallery Cynthia Naugle talked about the origins of the show and how important it is for artists.

“The first year we did [the Lore Art Show] we definitely saw how big it was. The idea originated from wanting to do a Halloween show, like something spooky themed,” Naugle said. “My cultural background is Chicana, and I’ve grown up with scary stories and folklore; it’s embedded with me and my culture. I figured it’d be a cool way to show the diversity in Tucson and with artists because each artist does a piece based off of their own personal culture.”

Including Naugle, there are three employees who help put together the shows with some outside help.

“We made sure we curated it very carefully to show diversity and do it respectfully,” Naugle said. “We anticipated it was going to be crazy and very busy because it’s probably our biggest show of the year … It’s cool that Tucson is showing up and supporting artists.”

 

Kayla Ballesteros’ piece titled “El Cucuy” was inspired by folklores she was told as a child.
Kayla Ballesteros’ piece titled “El Cucuy” was inspired by folklores she was told as a child.

 

Kayla Ballesteros was one of the artists who had her piece on display. Her piece was a take on the Mexican boogeyman known as the Cucuy. Ballesteros was inspired by the Spanish folklore stories her father and uncle used to tell her about the creature.

“What my Tata told me about [the Cucuy] is it’s either a man that was turned into a demon, or it was a demon that looks like a man,” Ballesteros said.

Ballesteros’ medium for her piece was digital. This provided a way for her to encompass the beauty and creepiness of the story in her eyes as it had shapeshifting qualities based on the stories she was told.

“I’m half-white, half-Mexican, so I feel like a lot of my pieces are inspired by the duality of my culture. I’m influenced by both American culture and Mexican culture,” Ballesteros said.

 

Melissa Yee’s piece titled “Remember Me” was a tribute to her ancestors.
Melissa Yee’s piece titled “Remember Me” was a tribute to her ancestors.

 

Melissa Yee was another artist who displayed her work with an altar attachment, as her piece was a tribute to her ancestors. Yee was inspired by the trips she took to the cemetery as a child to visit relatives.

“My dad is Chinese, and I grew up with my grandma going to the graveyard all the time to do family traditions,” Yee said. “There’s something called ancestor veneration where you go to the graveyard, leave offerings for your ancestors and feed them in the afterlife.”

Yee’s medium was India ink and acrylics for her piece as it is a portrait of her grandmother when she was around twenty years old.

“I’ve been into art since I was a little kid. I had a studio art program when I was in high school, and then I went to the [UA] in their visual communication program. I ended up doing graphic design, but my first love was painting. So I’ve always been active doing art,” Yee said.

Jason Pederson’s piece titled “Eelissa, The White Lady” was inspired by a myth of a lake near his hometown.
Jason Pederson’s piece titled “Eelissa, The White Lady” was inspired by a myth of a lake near his hometown.

 

Jason Pedersen was one of a few artists who used wood as a medium to display his piece. Pedersen’s piece was based on a myth he was told growing up.

“It’s a story of a woman who lost her kid drowning in a lake nearby where I grew up. She was forever haunting that lake looking for her daughter,” Pedersen said. “Depending on who’s telling the story, sometimes she was really mournful and sometimes she was really terrifying.”

Pedersen is a tattoo artist by day, and when he created this piece, he found a way to make it more interactive to the viewer using white graphite on wood.

The Lore Art Exhibition is open to the public until Oct. 30, and &gallery is open every day of the week from 12-6 p.m.


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