We had the good fortune of connecting with Ofelia Marquez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ofelia, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
A book I have read recently is Be Recorder by Carmen Jiménez Smith. This poetry book felt like a biography where we get to experience the writers deep thoughts, feelings, responses, and complexities of being a first generation, queer, latinx person in america. Her word play took me on a trip of multiple histories/stories existing all at once.Echoing the multiplicity engrained within anyone tackling more than one cultural/social space while breaking linear literary devices.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an art restorer and artist so I spend a lot of time around art but in different contexts. As an art restorer I’m paying a lot of attention to surface, materials, and colors that were used by a particular artist. I’m usually working on specific damaged parts so the way I initially experience the work is fragmented. Discourse about the work is usually irrelevant since our main concern is to fix whatever damage has been done to conserve the piece for the future. I came across this profession through a friend of mine in undergrad, Alina. She was working in an art restoration studio and brought me in to try it out. I’ve been working there for about ten years now and have recently continued that practice from my studio at home. When I first started I was definitely nervous that I would damage someone’s paintings and color matching took a lot of practice to do well with restoration paint. I still have to be incredibly patient with myself and the work I am restoring. The most challenging thing sometimes is knowing when to stop. We can become obsessive when we’re constantly looking a things up close for long periods of time. Attention to detail is definitely something that bleeds into my personal work. Recently I have been predominantly working with wood or ink on paper. I love the different surfaces, texture or linework I can achieved with both of these mediums and the challenge of illustrating a thought, feeling, and/or idea through them. Lately I have been interested the concept of multiplicity within myself and my relation to other networks. For me, it’s a way of visualizing the complexity of the constant exchange experienced by living organisms and how those exchanges continuously mold how we navigate the world. It’s really hard to continue ones personal art practice when making a living doing something else. I stopped thinking about capital in relation to my personal work because I noticed it hindered me from enjoying the process. My art is connected to my personal research and I make it for myself first as part of thinking through and sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
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?
My favorite places to go in the city are artist’ studios. I love seeing others personal work, process, materials, tools and setup. Also, having intimate conversations, sharing thoughts, ideas, concerns and advice while sipping on a little something to drink.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My partner Taylor von curtis Stephens; an artist and educator, and brother in law Brian Stephens; who is also an educator and is finishing up his PhD in ethnic studies. Both have continuously encouraged me to keep making artwork. They were a great help in my applying and getting into the MFA program at UCLA. Without them I don’t think I would have the courage to do it otherwise.