When I first caught up with Judy Baca inside her home studio, the Venice artist uttered a quick few words that seemed to perfectly sum up the contradictions of this neighborhood she now calls her own. "How did a Chicana from Pacoima," Baca joked, "end up in the canals?"
"When Frank [Gehry] designed my house," she then added, "he suggested I place the studio at the front of the house, with a view of the canals, and leave the sleeping quarters in the back."
This was a small stroke of genius.
Today, Baca uses her walls and high ceilings to work on her signature large-scale murals and canvases. The front room studio allows light to pass in from the windows as a breeze enters through the door, all the while inviting the curious eyes of tourists and neighbors in the steet to view a Chicana from Pacoima painting the stories of the dispossessed.
Tomorrow, I will peek in and talk to Judy about life and art in Venice as well as, yes, contradictions.