CraftforwardBANNERemailThe lecture by Nancy Hernandez titled,
"Crafting the Politics of Identity"
advanced the theme of "Identity Craft" at Craft Forward. 

Ms. Hernandez was very dynamic, speaking in a rapid fire pace. I mean really rapid fire pace, faster than most people talk, and definitely faster than people preferred.

TWO GIRLS At first, this fast pace was stimulating but after a while, well, . . .  perhaps this style arose from speaking in front of urban community groups where one has to grab attention and preempt anyone else from getting a word in edgewise.

She also demonstrated a rather innovative approach in her lecture as she selected images right off YouTube and her Flickr site in real time.






It seems like a great idea, but it also hampered the synchronization of her words and images because larger images took what seemed like minutes to open up. The audience often stared at the "whirling circle" or "% complete" bar as the image downloaded. She also fumbled around looking for images that she wanted to find.  

Trying to think, speak, and search for images
while keeping an audience engaged is really hard to do.


She showed numerous urban murals.  Her craft identity involves urban activism.


The communities of urban poor or disadvantaged
became melting pots of creativity and visibility outside of the conventional art galleries and museums

Hernandez advocated that street murals provide accessible art to everyone. Anyone can do it. Anyone can see it.

A community can embrace the mural art form as a platform.
Art becomes a megaphone for the message.  Doing the art is also a way to engage and organize the community around a common goal, whether it is raising awareness or bringing a community together around an event or theme.

She also focused on an environmental thread - the global issues surrounding water include privatization of water, the politics of water allocation, and excessive packaging of plastic water bottles.

One group called themselves "Water Writes".  Unfortunately, the message was overly idealized and lacking practical solutions or economically viable alternatives for providing water to communities. 

WaterfishfilmOverall, with Nancy Hernandez, we were clearly listening to a passionate spokesperson for community programs.  Her photos were vibrant and colorful but her message lacked sustainable coherence. 

I am a dedicated environmentalist from way back. It was really hard to appreciate her environmental credentials when the muralists use spray cans on such a large scale.


SpRAYpAINT CANS "Water Writes" seems a shallow message about the environment

when the graffitti spray paint "style" generates so much waste and air pollution .







Despite my environmental concerns - the murals were fabulous! The graphics were very well done. Symbols meaningful to the community and local politics were integrated into extended horizontal renderings on the sides of commercial buildings and walls.

What is your opinion about the issues presented here?

If  artwork is about the environmental issues surrounding water, do you think it is problematic to create volumes of trash and air pollution with spray paint cans? Any comments please feel welcome to leave your opinion on ASK Harriete or here on Crafthaus.



I recommend spending some time looking at the images on the Estria web site and Flickr site.

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Replies to This Discussion

Maybe the commentary on the environmental issues here is meant to be thought provoking, but I find it to be a strange direction to take what is going on here. In my humble opinion, the good heavily outweighs the bad.

"If  artwork is about the environmental issues surrounding water, do you think it is problematic to create volumes of trash and air pollution with spray paint cans?"


Good question - I think it is really a mixed message that is being sent out in this case. The question is what are alternatives ?



The spray paint can mural style involved from Graffiti and taggers which need the portability and speed of spray paint. The programs with Water Writes and Nancy Hernandez are focused around an anti-graffiti encouraging the taggers, and graffiti artists to channel their skill into more permanent and sanctioned mural efforts.

The alternative to spray paint cans is to paint the murals with paint and brushes.  It completely eliminates the need for spray paint cans which are usually not recycled. This also eliminates the air pollution form the spray paint  propellant and paint particulate in the air.


What was inspiring about Nancy was how PASSIONATE she is about Water Works, her enthusiasm is infectious, and she knows what she is talking about. No reading from papers, no quiet mumbling, no asking "Why am I part of this conference? questions like Sheila Kennedy. We can all learn a thing or two about being a presenter and commanding the stage like Nancy. Plus she really gets what bring art to the community means! You Go Girl!


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