Cambodia Town Mural Project
In October, the Arts Council for Long Beach launched the Cambodia Town Mural Project, an initiative that will install eight public art murals along Anaheim Street between Long Beach Blvd. and Junipero Ave. This project is in partnership with Cambodia Town Inc., United Cambodian Community (UCC), Homeland Cultural Center (HCC), Long Beach Transit and the offices of councilmembers Daryl Supernaw (4th District) and Dee Andrews (6th District). The Arts Council has secured funding to cover the costs of the project through a grant from the California Arts Council, California Community Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
There was a public call for a videographer and muralists, and the Arts Council is pleased to announce the selection of those artists through a panel composed of community professionals from Long Beach. One of the murals will be created through community workshops, whereby Sayon Syprasoeuth, professional artist and program coordinator for Living Arts Long Beach at UCC, will facilitate the workshop with local community members to conceive, design and paint a mural. Homeland Cultural Center has invited artist, Jose Martinez, to lead community volunteers through the mural painting process of a new permanent mural design for Homeland. The six other murals will be painted by the following selected artists: Angela Willcocks, Bodeck Hernandez, ZEINAB (ZYNB), Jason Keam, Ricardo Vilchis and Tracy Negrete who were chosen by a panel composed of community professionals from Long Beach; five of the muralists are residents and active artists in Long Beach and one artist has painted murals internationally in Chile, Cuba and other parts of the US. A videographer, Federico Laguerder, has also been chosen to create a short video capturing the entire project from start to finish. In May, we will have a celebration and mural walking tour that introduces the finished murals to the community.
The murals will demonstrate and signal our enthusiasm and commitment to making our neighborhoods more joyful while fostering safe public spaces. The project encourages civic pride and supports the Arts Council’s mission to foster creativity and culture, enliven our communities and enable a thriving economy. Meet the artists on Sunday, April 2 at the Cambodian Town Culture Festival, a kickoff celebration to Cambodian New Year at Mark Twain Library. Community members are invited to participate in art workshops in partnership with United Cambodian Community and Homeland Cultural Center at the event.
Federico Laguerder is an aspiring filmmaker who has been selected to capture the Cambodia Town Mural Project from start to finish. He will begin in March and complete the video in June 2017. The short video will include footage of murals in-progress, every completed mural, the UCC workshops, the celebration and walking tour, and interviews with the project partners, artists, residents, business and property owners and other community members. He has worked as an art and production assistant on film shorts like 200 Years, Move-In Day and Kamikaze. He looks at film as a way to inspire others to be their best. He loves cameras because they allow him to create and capture memories.
Angela Willcocks is a multidisciplinary artist and activist whose practice is influenced by the community. Her work visualizes and engages different aspects surrounding the underrepresented. She believes drawing and painting are the foundations of her work, but each of her projects is unique in medium and message. She has collaborated to create short, socially informative videos that were projected “guerrilla like” onto spaces like parking lots, oil rigs, malls and cargo containers. She has worked on projects like Barbershops, a playful, cultural animation; Blind Video, a video and braille Installation; and OPEN, portrait drawings and figurative pop-ups. Recently as a result of a public art initiative (ALOT), she has self-funded a rented storefront as a studio in North Long Beach. She believes that these projects work to engage the community in the process of art making as a new dialogue.
Long Beach painter and illustrator Bodeck Luna Hernandez is interested in bridging the divide between childhood memories with the Digital Age. An immigrant from Manila, Philippines, Hernandez has been creating pieces that compound the sensory habit of replaying a distant visual memory while pixelating expired recollections. Exploring the relationship with both nostalgia and modern society’s heavy reliance on disposable technology and consumerism is a recurring theme in his work. His personal approach with his background in street art heavily influences his illustrative works. From commercial and private commissions to album covers, he likes to bind the community by showcasing local talent and businesses.
Born in Tehran, Zeinab (ZYNB) first began painting in the streets in 2010. Her work is dedicated to rethinking notions of social power by advancing the narratives of diverse communities whose stories and needs have historically been marginalized. Recognizing that public art is one of the most democratic and accessible forms of art, her work explores themes of transformation, nature, collective memory and healing from violence. She has painted murals in Chile, Cuba and other parts of the United States.
Jason Keam is a local Long Beach artist and animator. He is a social media content animator for top production companies like Cartoon Network, Disney, Fox, etc. Last year he opened a pop-up creative studio in North Long Beach called The People’s Studio. The Studio created a space for locals to come and talk about art, local issues and showcase his work and the work of other local artists. He has also worked creatively with local organizations and businesses such as Deforest Park, Maya Foundation, Empact Communities and the Long Beach Creamery. The main goal of his work is to bring together people and local businesses together to create a self-sustaining city.
Rick Vilchis is an artist who has deep roots in the graffiti-art street culture. He was born and raised in the Wrigley area of Long Beach, and gained an interest in art at a young age. He began painting the outdoor gallery at Homeland Cultural Center and exploring the Los Angeles graffiti-art movement around the age of 16. Since then, he has had two solo shows and has been a part of group shows throughout Southern California and Japan. He has also painted murals in many parts of Southern California. Although he is a self-taught artist, he considers his years in the sculpture program at LBCC under Coleen Sterritt, as one of the most influential periods, influencing his work into a more refined style of graffiti. His work can be described as the experience of an artist trying to find balance between the street and the gallery.
Tracy Negrete is a female, Hispanic artist based in Long Beach. She has an extensive background in mural painting and fine art. Her passion is in collaborating with and inspiring communities through art. Her personal work explores individual narrative and vital as well as the significance of collective healing. She has also been a part of shows in Long Beach, Los Angeles and New York. She believes in the arts as a form of transformative healing and sees herself as a cultural worker for social issues. She has experience working with communities and public schools. She has created art literacy–based projects with multiple communities including youth and public schools. She has received recognition from Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and Councilmember Al Austin for her contribution to the Creative Corridor Challenge Mural, “Together We Soar,“ and for her work on to the Bixby Knolls Mural, “Tribute to Don Gibbs.” Tracy actively looks to work with youth and community volunteers in creating and exposing them to art.
Born and raised in Long Beach, Jose Martinez is the co-owner and senior principal designer of Piranha Bay Resort Wear, a screen print and embroidery sportswear company located in Signal Hill. Jose is a graduate of the Art Institute of Phoenix where he received degrees in Visual Communication and Computer Animation. After graduation, Jose moved back to Long Beach and started his career with Homeland Cultural Center, where he started graphic design workshops, and the world famous Outdoor Urban Gallery. That eventually led to a six-year career with a prominent, Fortune 500 Advertising Specialty company as art director and project manager. In his free time, Jose enjoys traveling and painting Aerosol-inspired murals in Southern California and across the globe. One of his most recent contributions to Los Angeles graffiti history can be seen at 2400 East Olympic Blvd. Jose is currently working on graffiti-inspired architectural design for an upcoming 2017 art show in Long Beach. Join him Sunday, April 2 from 12-3p.m. for a community workshop exploring painting materials at the Cambodian Town Culture Festival.
A mural will be created through several community workshops, whereby Program Coordinator of the Living Arts Long Beach program at United Cambodian Community, Sayon Syprasoeuth, will facilitate local community members – from youth to seniors – to conceive, design and paint a mural. If you are interested in participating in this community mural, please attend the upcoming, workshop on Sunday, April 2 from 2-3 p.m. at the Arts Council’s booth at the Cambodian Town Culture Festival.
Sayon Syprasoeuth, leads the Living Arts Long Beach program, which introduces high school students and disadvantage young adults from various schools throughout Long Beach to give them exposure to the arts. He is an interdisciplinary artist, focusing on his personal story as a refugee from Cambodia. He grew up in Thai refugee camps, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 10. His work address past and present issues; triggered by memories of war and trauma, beliefs, spiritual dimensions and life in contemporary time in the United States. His work has been shown in Cambodia, China, Berlin and throughout the United States. He received his Bachelor in Fine Arts degree from Long Beach State in 2003 and Master in Fine Arts from Claremont Graduate University (CGU) in 2007. Since 2008 he has been a coordinator for Global Hybrid, an arts exchange between artists in Cambodia, Korea and United States. He is currently an independent curator and a practicing artist.
The Arts Council for Long Beach’s Cambodia Town Mural Project is generously supported through private foundations and public donors, including grants from these governmental agencies: