Janina A. Larenas

:: AGE

38

:: LOCATION

Santa Cruz, CA, USA

:: MEDIUM

Relief Printing

:: IDENTIFIES AS

Female

 

 As a womxn, why do you think it is important to create?

I don’t think I’ve considered the need or importance of doing work specifically as a woman, but I do consider the need for art, politics, philosophy, etc to have as many voices as possible. In that way everything that that I am contributes to my artistic and political creations. My father is an immigrant, I was raised primarily by a single mother who received government assistance, I am both self and classically educated, I struggle to pay monthly bills and have no savings or safety net, I live in an area with a housing crisis, high violent crime, and what I would call an epidemic of violence against women. All these experiences inform my art and the way I move about the world, and my experience as a woman is as important as my economic and racial experience.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist/creative?

I founded a national printmaking movement called Print Organize Protest back in November. During the first event when I looked up and saw my shop full of people in my community teaching each other how to screen print radical images of resistance, that was definitely my proudest moment- not because of what I had done, but because of what I had created space for.

How do you define love?

My definition of love is always changing with my experiences. The more I experience and learn the more open and supportive and less demanding and possessive my understanding love becomes. I’m not sure it’s something I ever intend to let rest on a definition.

Describe the space that you like to create in?

Anywhere really.

What do you like to listen to while you create?

I’ll listen to whatever suits my mood, or sometimes nothing at all.

What social issues do you care about most?

Communism.

What could you not live without?

Salt.

How do you make time to create?

I try to schedule it by working in a studio, or committing to specific deadlines. When art isn’t your full time job or your main source of income it can be difficult to prioritize over your basic needs- but art is also sometimes a basic need.

How does your mental health affect your work?

I think my work affects my mental health. There is something necessary and meditative for me in creating artwork, to deny that means denying some basic self care.

Who are your influences/inspirations?

Walton Ford, Ernst Haeckel, Karl Marx, my friends, my community, my family

What message do you want to spread with your art?

Lately, I’ve been focused on creating art with a strong radical left politics. But my primary work collapses the aesthetics of natural science,  narrative, religious iconography, and pop culture, a combination intended to illuminate the social history of objects.