Shizu Saldamando (born 1978) depicts how American social spaces are the laboratories for new ways of being. Her portraits playfully suggest that race, gender, and ethnicity act as white noise to the scene at hand; audible, yet not identifiable. Saldamando’s visual biographies, which use friends as her subjects, capture the energy of youthful experimentation and the freedom of malleable categories for identity.
Born to parents of Japanese and Mexican descent, Saldamando resides in Los Angeles but grew up in San Francisco. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, for her undergraduate work and received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.
About arriving in Los Angeles, she says: “Growing up in the Mission district in San Francisco, it was predominately a hip-hop culture. Here in Los Angeles, I’d go to shows or house parties, and it would be all Latino kids listening to the Cure and the Smiths. In L.A., I felt normal for the first time.” Saldamando’s meticulous collaged paintings offer the viewer a subtlety of influences to ponder.
Cat and Carm
Gold leaf and oil on wood, 2008
Collection of the artist
© Shizu Saldamando
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