Pau S. Pescador (she/they) is a trans-nonbinary artist who explores their relationship to the world in playful, psychologically complex interdisciplinary works. Across a foundation of film, photography, and performance, she has always modeled an aggregated, community-immersed sensibility that flourishes in collaboration. At the same time, the richness of the kaleidoscopic psyche in their own inner world has often been the material, setting, and inspiration for their fanciful formulations. Pescador has a big week this week, with a pair of solo projects opening almost simultaneously—each in their own way depicting aspects of identity and ideas about becoming oneself. The Emancipation of P.P. at the Kleefeld Museum is part of a cycle of exhibitions exploring historical and contemporary LGBTQ creative practices. When the Home Becomes Body at Tyler Park Presents is a project of photo-collages documenting and poetically interpreting the process of evolving their physical appearance through transition, within an elaborate multi-disciplinary narrative unfolding in tableaux within a domestic setting that is further emblematic of the idea of safety in vulnerable, volatile times.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
PAU S. PESCADOR: I went to film school originally at University of Southern California (USC) and while I was there I was struggling to find my place within it. I wasn’t sure what type of films I wanted to make, but knew working in the Hollywood Studio system didn’t make sense for what I wanted in a creative practice. I started to take classes in the Fine Art Department, first in photography and later video art. I started quickly really connecting with the questions and discourses within these programs and as I finished undergrad I wanted to continue to grow my artist practice.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
I make artwork in a variety of mediums, often performance, photography, and video art. My work stems out of the personal or the individual’s relationship to the greater world around them. The work is often made with colorful materials which help illuminate different emotional effects including humor. I like to think work feels funny on an initial read which often complicates the further the examination.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I am constantly working in different forms of creative work, whether it be creative writing practice, helping friends who run small clothing brands, modeling, curating, and some light acting, the list goes on and on. I think if I wasn’t an “artist” I would still maintain a fully rounded creative practice. The form it would take I am not sure.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
Yes, well I did a minor in Photography while at USC, but I did get my MFA at University of California, Irvine. I think since I didn’t begin my creative endeavors originally in a studio based practice I wanted to be in a three-year program that would allow me to better understand my work. I wanted the time to hone into why I was making it work and see it grow.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I don’t know I love L.A. I have been here for 20-plus years and through that time I have worked on my own artwork, but also my relationship to a greater artistic community.
When was your first show?
Funny enough my first solo show is in the same building where I now have my studio. At the time it was an artist-run space called Workspace where my studiomate Daniel Ingroff and I had been asked by the founder Julia Sherman to have a show. We later moved into this studio building and still have our studio there today. Daniel and I as well as artist David Gilbert, another Workspace alum, continued to run the project space for 5 years following.
When is/was your next show?
I am thrilled to say I have two solo shows opening in the next week! The first is a museum survey of my body of work The Emancipation of P.P., which opens at the CSULB Kleefeld Museum on Thursday, September 14. The second is a solo show, When the Home Becomes Body, at Tyler Park Presents, opening Saturday, September 16.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?
I feel like before she passed I really was hoping to find a way to meet the artist and filmmaker Agnes Varda. I always had a dream of talking to her about her work and showing her mine. Sadly that didn’t happen.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
Funny enough, when I am in a studio mood I often work in silence. It’s funny because I am certainly not a quiet studio neighbor and will chit chat with my studiomates. I just forget to turn anything on! When I do listen to music on occasion it’s usually the same pop albums I have heard again and again. Some I can just zone out to.
Website and social media handles, please!
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