Luis Zepeda 

Between June and August of 2019 I joined the San Pedro Art Center as the collaborative artist in residence. With my knowledge of the studio environment and awareness that the artists practices emphasis was working with mediums of painting, ceramics, drawing, printmaking and digital art; the idea of exposing the artists to fashion and textile based art making was both natural and exciting. 


During this introductory period in the residency, the idea was developing, my intentions were becoming clearer. I would begin by introducing the artist to my method of art making, the sewing machine. My plan was to expand with the artists and create functional and wearable art. As an artist and fashion designer my personal practice focuses on creating objects with tangible and experiential components. I believe there is so much power in an artwork when viewers become participants and can engage. When I think of functional art, I think of things such as, a pouch, an item you can carry your pencils in or the mug you drink your tea out of. And I think fashion is one of the greatest and everyday examples of an art form that we all interact with – it’s possible to display, to the world, our chosen second layer of skin. These examples were leading thoughts assisting the conversations with artists to conceptualize and expand on new possibilities in their own work.


As things were progressing, I was learning a lot about the artists and we were having a lot of conversations. These conversations led me to strategize the best ways to support the artist’s needs, some technical but not all technical. In the studio environment I was regularly adapting to new needs that led to more expansive approaches within the residency. In response to varying interest, field trips and sourcing material became an important tool for engaging the artists. Still, a lot of our time was in the studio and I was managing peculiar and at times intimidating responses some artists had to the sewing machine. I was able to manage by pacing and introducing alternative processes of assembling textile-based works. As the artists began to grasp what could be made with fabric and the sewing machine, everyone started to have more ideas as to what they wanted to create. As the residency came to an end, working together, we put on a fashion show to celebrate and showcase everyone’s creations.