Artborne Magazine December 2016 - Page 18

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz by Jessica Pirani Let’s start in the barrio. Bronx. Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz was one of seven kids, raised on a single person’s salary; finances were important to her. “I was born like this,” she began, by saying she’d always been artistic and explained that illustration and graphic design sounded like good career paths1, so she earned a degree from SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology to become a fashion illustrator. Though she wasn’t exactly awkward, Raimundi-Ortiz danced to her own drum while straddling at least two cultures. Lightskinned and Latina, this teen loved the New Wave and goth movements of the early ‘90s. Wepa Woman was a comic book she started as a 19-year-old illustrator, featuring Chuleta, a Boriqua protagonist who gave voice to her interests and curiosities. “I felt ostracized. I didn’t look the way Puerto Rican girls were supposed to look, or act the way they were supposed to act.” She was raised to be proud of her identity and also to defy stereotypes, yet this left her feeling “not Puerto Rican, or hood, or thug enough” at times. In response, she created “Chuleta, who looked more like me, but sounded nothing like me.” “Sistas from the hood making art about being in the hood, repping for Latinas and for women.” Wepa Woman’s electric concept is fresh, live. Borne of collegiate knowledge and spunk, and primitive in its nature, Wepa Woman nodded at African diasporic art and Raimundi-Ortiz flew with it. Her YouTube videos are candy; she has 27. Raimundi-Ortiz crafted the Ask Chuleta series in which she plays a barrio girl (with full-on Rosie Perez accent) who explains contemporary art2 telling you the event is free, “So you don’t have to pay nothing, Mamí.” Art aside, let’s begin by recognizing them as advertising for the Wanda RaimundiOrtiz brand. It’s effective. She’s iterating the integral dichotomy by addressing her audience with character(istic) humility, making her accessible to an enormous range from the “blue collar, working class, urban NuYoRicans” to the more “affluent collectors; big money people.” “I find the uncomfortable positions, and I want to stick my finger in and poke fun at the institution that has kept me employed. Initially, that project was inspired by trying to explain my career to a relative about how I can go into a gallery and sit for three hours letting people dump trash on me. [It] sounds ridiculous because this job is very weird, so I came up with Chuleta.” Bridging her video and performance art is her fashion background. Chuleta often appears with pinches3 in a doobie wrap4 so as to imply an informal, nearly naked look into her life. “The costuming is a big component because I’m painting a picture with my own body.” In other videos she’s wearing “full makeup”5 that she learned from YouTube tutor 2@&rV'&w2F&VvG&W76rBFG&W76rFRFƖ'2bW"76R&VF'F2WW&66rFVBVVVG0bW"W'6ƗG'&V6v旦rrV6&RƖVǒBvVBfR&VVFGW&W@ƖRRbW"6VWF6&7FW'2F26P2FF( ĒvƖvBג6&&W2FBfBFRf6GW7G'26FvFP7GR2F&R&F&W26vrP6( B&RVBfVCRVVBFFVWFW F7F'fFF&R6W( f'7Bv&@&&V6R62bW"W'&vr&VF'F6B&&VV7VGW&Rv2Wg&B( vRFRG&FFfG2( fG2FBVFR&G&VFp7W'fW2BV6W76FFrf627VFVB&6ǒ6FFR&&WV&Ɩ26R2vFf&W27FFW2bVG&W72FǒFRGW&6FFbW"6&7FW'0BF&W"ƖW266RFV"6V֒WF&w&6VFW'w2RB6VvpFFffW&VFFRvW&RR&Vv2BVG2( vV7F'FVBFRw&v&V&V7B6CWBRvBWfW'Frw&rvFRB6rB֖BvF&Vv&VVFFFRW6W'&BFR6W"BFP7W&W'2FRvƖvFW'2( ФV&ƖW"F2V"&VF'Fv2v&FVBbg&ƖgW&6Rw&Bf"W"&V2VVV26W&W2v6V6bW VVV2&R67GVVBFFG&W72FW6R6V7W&FW26RW֖VBvBFRW"7@V6f'F&R&WBW'6VbBrBv06FFFR( WW&6VG&2F2`&VWG( FBFVB&BvVVG&&v&6VVB6fW&VvVFVBW&f&6RBvW''BvV&VF'FG&W76VBVVVǒ'&F6BvF&Vv&FRF&R26R66WFVB( ffW&w>( Цbv&&vRGW&rW"&V6WFGvbW"FW"VVV2vV"G&6( E&6V&V26FVB'V&&Rw&vvࢆ6VG2fVBB7W&F"66W'fF.( 2n6RvFRf6RB&VvvpVW7F2ƖR( ĆrƖvB6VB&RS( Ю( Ćrg&vVǒvR6VBG&VBW'6VfW3( Ю( &RvR6FVƖ6FRFBvRW7B&R&W6W'fVB66W'fF.( 266WBWfW"F6VPFRfFrƖvBbF( ( "&RvRV@FֆFRW"g&vR&G2B77VPFBFVƖ6FRVVVG2vW&RBFVFVBF7B6&WGFW"FWBFVv( ХFRw&v&VW6W2W"6W'G26WVv2FB&2&WBFW6R&77G2b&WfVF'V&rV&Ɩ0vV&r7B6FVBFF26RW6VBvF676vB֖vBFW'v6R&RVv&RBW6W2W"&G@FVFG2&V7BW762vRF6Ɩr( FP6vW'2GF6VBFFRF&GFR&V@WNG2FR'W&6( Х&VF'F( 27&vVFƖW2vFWvV22FRVrFW"2Wf"FVW&R@T4b26FVrF&GV6RW&f&6P'BFBv&R&W6VFVBB&Ɩ>( 6&VfR'G2W6WV&6&W&rf"66rWr&FV6rF&VR676W2W"6VW7FW"BWW&rFw2WvFFvFR&W6VFF2W"v&FRVVVࠤFR7&Bb&VF'F( 2v&76wVvRfW'6bFR'F6R0&VVFRf&Pf6B'F&&TvR6ХR66VR&RCvF&VF'F6Рv6R6VBv&CSW'2vVVF&2"6FVBvFFFrGf6Rf"rFvWBvRWW"B7VGW&&VfW&V6W3&rW2FFgVbD3B6WFvV6RFV6W2W&f&6P'BBW'6VbFVvW27W'&VƗ7F6ǒ'F7FWv'BvF( '7>( &rGrGWF&22&&'2B"w&VB&VBFRֆVBgFW"7G&vFVrזW"vWBbFRF֖666ǒv&B&VGFRR&VF'F6BBv2f"&W6V&6BF&v6W7F6F2FB( BfRW6VBFࠣpwwr%D$$TtR6Р