Vanesa Zendejas has been making art for as long as she can remember - even tagging along with her dad to the art classes he was taking in Chicago, where Vanesa was born and raised. In this episode, she describes her process for creating her abstract works. The majority of Vanesa's work has been in paint, but with the addition of a kiln to the art compound at A-Z West, where she is the Administrative Director, she finds herself experimenting with clay, reaching back in her memory to apply knowledge she gained from Bard College where she earned her MFA in sculpture. Prior to attending Bard, Vanesa was learning from a group of artists know as the 'Hairy Who' or the Chicago Imagists at School of the Art Institute in Chicago. A favorite place to visit in the area is Desert Christ Park in Yucca Valley - Vanesa really likes their hair.
Vanesa started coming to the desert for work four years ago, keeping home and her own studio space in LA, making the weekly trek out to Joshua Tree, staying on site three days, back to LA for four, but eventually, decided to keep her studio in LA and make home here in the desert. These days, the trips to LA are less frequent, about twice a month, and the soon-to-be completed addition of her own art studio here in the desert will give her more time for her own art work.
We talk about the different ways of the desert: the difference in diversity, the difference in how 'trash' is managed, High Desert Test Sites and those black humps dotting the landscape on the south side of Highway 62, traveling toward 29Palms and how you can go visit them.
Recently married, Vanesa and her husband reside in 29 Palms and expect the desert will be more of a respite between visits to her native Chicago, and Neil's roots in Montreal.