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Q&A: AmericArte collective bridges cultures and continents
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This summer the Juan R. Fuentes gallery will debut its fifth exhibition by a group of five artists who’ve come together under the name and the theme, “AmericArte.” Contributing artists Camille Mai, Alejandro Meza, Victoria Montero, Alejandro Palacios and Carlos Pillado have joined creative forces to produce the aptly-titled “Faces, Spaces, and Genres: A Web of Intersections.” The show will feature works across a range of mediums from print photographs and illustrations to ceramic sculptures and politically influenced short films.

Co-curators and artists Alejandro Meza and Camille Mai spoke with El Tecolote about their upcoming show and how they’ve intertwined their diverse backgrounds and individual areas of expertise into universal themes to connect with the larger surrounding community.

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Sculpture by Alejandro Meza

What is “AmericArte?”

Mai: AmericArte is a combination of artistic expressions from South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico and even our American city of San Francisco. We are concentrating on visual arts right now because it’s just a great way to get to know the preconceptions and symbols that make up the collective imaginations of the Americas.

Could you describe the art medium in which you specialize?

Mai: I am an illustrator and I’d say illustration is as much interpretation as it is creating something [physical]. Just because I’m working on a basis of the assignment that I’ve been given, my job is to convey it in an extremely clear and effective way.

Meza: The means by which I express myself is ceramic sculpture art. My work is explorative and I’ve been devoting my time to make these sculptures. Through this medium I want to capture the feelings and sensations that I observe and replicate these into figures.

How did you form this multidisciplinary collaboration between artists?  

Meza: We began working together just for the necessity to find spaces where we could exhibit our art. For many emerging artists it is really hard to find these kinds of spaces and opportunities. However, a group organization or collaborative support network like AmericArte can really help everyone find outlets and galleries to showcase their work.

Mai: Not only are we from different countries, but our art mediums are also very diverse. And to consume these differences inspires us as well. As an illustrator, I often don’t see a lot of sculptures but collaborating with Alejandro I am amazed at everything he does and the work he’s produced.

How does your art serve a purpose to the community?

Meza: AmericArte is providing the ability for various art mediums to be known on a broader scale. It reflects what is happening in the neighborhood, what is happening in San Francisco. Without a doubt, AmericArte is an opportunity to communicate and to create community.

“Faces, Spaces, and Genres: A Web of Intersections” will debut on Saturday, July 2. The opening reception is from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Juan R. Fuentes Gallery, 2958 24th St., San Francisco.

Story by: Fern Echevarria