We had the good fortune of connecting with Austyn de Lugo-Liston and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Austyn, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
When I was in grad school, a professor recommended that I read The Queer Art of Failure, by Jack Halberstam. That book has really influenced how I think about aesthetics. I’ve always sort of been pulled toward art, television, and media that are on the more “low culture” side of things–the frivolous, the tawdry, and the superficial. In that book, Jack Halberstam really draws from a rich source of materials that range from childrens movies to art theory, and takes the silliness very seriously to talk about larger political and intellectual concerns. It’s a book I have revisited over and over, and that now I always recommend to my own students. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been teaching art ever since I graduated with my MFA, and right now the thing I am most excited about is that teaching online during the past few months has opened up opportunities to teach some of the most exciting and intellectually stimulating classes I have ever been able to run. I’ve been teaching Queer Collage classes that are really blending a workshop/queer arts community environment while sharing just a ton of contemporary and art historical collage information, and it has been getting a really amazing reception. I’ve also been able to teach shorter workshops on things like art and horror, and in January I will be starting a new class that will focus on contemporary art discussions that are rooted in issues of equity and justice.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I will assume this is once we have a vaccine in our bodies, but I would definitely take them out for drinks and dancing at Akbar, a scary movie screening at Rooftop Cinema Club or Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and lunch at The Empanada Factory.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to shoutout the Armory Center for the Arts and the Brentwood Art Center, two fabulous non-profits that I teach with who have both adapted in the most amazing ways to continue to bring equitable arts education and programming to our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Website: austyndelugo.com
Instagram: @austynshambles
Other: People can sign up for my classes at armoryarts.org or brentwoodart.org

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