We had the good fortune of connecting with Lydia Quinones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lydia, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. The author of the book traces the origin of his meal and creates a meal consisting entirely of foods which he had been involved in the farming of or foraged for in the woods. As an artist, I believe that being involved in the earliest stages of production creates a deeper connection to the work. When I create textiles, it’s time consuming because I raise the animals, shear and spin the wool, and then weave it on a loom. I’ve even dug up and processed my own clay for ceramics. I feel little connection to materials purchased from a corporate retail store, so I try to use items made by myself or someone I know. I’ve found that knowledge of how to create from scratch empowers us to be self reliant.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My latest works are based on knowledge of the Chinese Horoscope or Chinese cultural references. Recently, I’ve been incorporating snails into my sculptures, based on the term Wo1 Ju1, or “snail house”. A snail house may refer to someone creating a home in a small space, like a public restroom or stairwell. Housing is expensive so small spaces are utilized well. If I accepted an invitation to dinner at a Beijing apartment, it wasn’t uncommon that one room functioned as a bedroom, dining room, and living room. Eventually I got over the awkwardness of sitting on a family’s bed to eat at their dining table. My life in China taught me to reflect on the amount of space necessary to thrive. One of my biggest challenges is communicating the experience of living in a communist country to viewers who have never experienced life without drinkable water or consistent electricity, so I mainly make art for myself.
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?
Most of my favorite hangouts are cafes. If you’re in Glendale, I recommend the Namaste Cafe, inside Tangled Root Botanicals. My favorite drink is the Golden Moon Mylk, which tastes like sweetened curry. If you’re downtown, get a Matcha Green Tea Late from Cha Cha’s Tea Lounge on Grand Ave and head next door for empanadas and at El Charro Hipster Bar & Cafe. I like to go to Provision, on 32nd st because they’re coffees and teas have the visual appeal of an fancy cocktail. My most frequently visited cafe is Jarrod’s Coffee, Tea, & Gallery in downtown Mesa. The cafe is filled with art and jewelry made by local artists. 2nd Fridays and 4th Saturdays are popular for live musicians and artist demonstrations.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
One of the most supportive people in my art career, has been my fiance, Josh. While I’m teaching in the classroom, he’s driving around town to drop off or pick up my art work. I’ve learned that not all venues are professional and unfortunately he has to experience that too. When I was painting in Glendale for the Public Bench Project, he drove me to and from Mesa so I could relax after a long day of painting in the sun. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish as much as I do, if he weren’t so supportive.