Week 9 – Artist Interview: Ralph Acosta

This week, the artist that captured my most attention with his artwork was Ralph Acosta. As I walked in, the first thing I noticed was a stand against the wall. What made it so interesting are the Chanel cards on the table, and along with it was cigarette butts, an ash tray, and a pack of cigarettes. This reminded me of something I would see in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The glass cup looked like a cup someone would drink a fancy drink out out of it, like a martini.

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Ralph Acosta lived in a time where nothing but turmoil hit his family. He grew up in the streets of Los Angeles, specifically in the Wilshire District. He is a big fan of quotes that reminds him of the past. One of his favorite quotes is the one by Julian Barnes in England, England:

“Memories of childhood are the dreams that stayed with you when you woke.”

This gallery that he prepared for us today represents his childhood. Most of his formative years were spent at the Wilshire District in the 1960s and 1970s. He says that he and his family encountered many hardships during this era. Although they came to many struggles, his older brothers, younger cousin, and he found relief and relaxation from all the chaos at home at the Ambassador, which he described as “an  aging and legendary grand” hotel near his residences.

I also noticed a film playing on the television hanging on the wall. The film showed the Ambassador hotel. The tone of the film was romantic and the style of the film looked like it was filmed in the 1970’s. Ralph Acosta used a lot of layered images, recent film, found footage, similar environments, music, and narration to illustrate his and his brother’s memories of that neighborhood that they cherished ever so much.

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He also created supers-sized postcards of many residences where his family lived. The postcards were huge! Ralph says that the size represents the serious issues that his family was experiencing during this period, which were too big for too big to handle. These streets reinforce his memories and many of them are often seen in the background of movies. Overall, I think Ralph Acosta did an excellent job at portraying the memories a child might have at the wondrous city of Los Angeles


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