Precision. Clarity of line. Mood. All of these elements stand out in the portrait work of artist, Shizu Saldamando. The intense dedication to detail and focused execution of personalities in the moment give each subject a de-objectified identity. Even with this respect to individuality in her work there is a deep sense of the collective consciousness. Or rather, a subset of the collective. Outwardly her subjects share a specific aesthetic. However, emotionally they tap into something universal.
(Image: Shizu Saldamando, Maria Daniela y su Sonido Lasser Concert, Azusa CA, graphite on wood, 3×5 feet.)
A certain angst or penetrating inquisitiveness is often paired with the satisfaction found in social revelry. The party. If nothing else, at least we can sing, dance and get a little tipsy. Shizu Saldamando often inhabits her own work whether through self-portraits, a series titled “Looking at Art” or her process – taking photographs while hanging out with friends and using them as a template. It’s as if the moments of life that she encounters linger on in the morning after and become timeless in her work.
(Image: Shizu Saldamando, Gerardo Posing, oil and glitter on plywood, 36 x 36 inches.)
One could argue that there is a certain ultimate dissatisfaction in the party based on the expressions of her subjects. Or an ultimate lonely reality each individual faces simply by being isolated within one human body. However, although they are not pictured here, Saldamando does have work that speaks to the sweet delicacy and gentleness of friendship, family and community. It is her relentless favoring of portraits that reveal masks of discontent that ultimately push viewers to realize something interesting is going on in a certain niche of Los Angeles culture. Something that they are either totally involved in or know absolutely nothing about.
(Images: Shizu Saldamando, Candice and a Forty, colored pencil on paper, 30 x 20 inches and Sandy and Siouxie, glitter, colored pencil on paper, 30 x 20 inches.)
Shizu Saldamando was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission district and received her B.A. from UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture in 2000 and her MFA degree from California Institute of the Arts in 2005. She was an Art Omi resident artist in 2002 and has exhibited work in both painting and experimental media exhibitions at museums and galleries across the country. Shizu has lived and worked in Los Angeles for over 10 years.
(Images: Shizu Saldamando, Paño Arte: Robert Smith [left] and LaCindy [right], ball point pen on cotton handkerchief, 16 x 16 inches each.)
(Images: Shizu Saldamando, Soni, Looking at Art, Blue ball point pen on canvas, 24 x 48 inches and photograph of Shizu Saldamando.)