Edwin Vasquez works in photography, installation, mixed media painting and assemblage, videography, and the written word to express a combination of social critique, environmental activism and pure aesthetic delight. Drawn to vibrant colors, inspiring accidents of juxtaposition and synchronicity, and with a restless, relentless attention to the details of glorious ordinary life, Vasquez takes a lyrical, poetic approach to organizing the world around us to better reflect our true nature.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
EDWIN VASQUEZ: I grew up in Xelaju, the second most important city in Guatemala, known as the cradle of culture. My father was a renaissance man and took me to visit his friend artists, which inspired me to start painting since I was very young.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
My work is fearless in its social commentary, I use rich forms and colors to provoke passionate responses to ideas about the environment and human nature.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I recently retired, after having worked for a grocery store for 35 years. I could be writing poetry and short stories, since that’s one of my passions.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
My priority in this country was to learn the language as soon as possible. I took some art classes in a community college; however, in order to survive, I had to find a regular job.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I live in the Antelope Valley because housing is more affordable and I have plenty of space to make art.
When was your first show?
It was at the former Lancaster Museum, which was located near Sierra Highway, in 1993.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
The Light of Space at Lancaster MOAH, February 8-April 19, 2020. I had an installation of 200 8 x 8 inch digital images entitled Light Refractions. It was a series using fractals and photos of planets and constellations from NASA. Currently also at MOAH, my collaboration piece with Jeanne Dunn, The Bird House Where Nobody Lives, is part of the exhibit Collaborate & Create. Also, I am included in their #CountMeIn exhibit as an Artist in Residence.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
I would love to show with Bradford J. Salamon because his work is inspiring.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
I do. My favorite Guatemalan singer-songwriter is Ricardo Arjona. Also, I love to listen to Italian singer Laura Pausini and French singer Lorenzo Jovanotti. On Friday mornings, I listen to WHRB 95.3 (Harvard Radio), when they play the best jazz from around the world.
Website and social media handles, please!