Metro Art has been piloting a new digital art series, and the inaugural exhibition is launching at the Blue Line stations. More People Than You Know features portraits of transit patrons created by local artists. To celebrate the upcoming reopening of the refurbished rail line, we are featuring an interview with each of the commissioned artists. Make sure you look for these portraits displayed on the newly installed digital customer information panels. This is Metro’s first transit corridor with this new cultural amenity.
Bodeck Luna – Interview – Friday, July 26, 2019
Lives in neighborhood: Zaferia, Long Beach
Temperatures had soared above ninety degrees at Drake Park where Metro Arts & Design joined Bodeck Luna as he and volunteers were painting the final touches on his latest wall mural for POW! WOW! Long Beach. Luna steered us to a shaded park bench located near the Bembridge House, a registered historic, Queen Anne Victorian built in 1906, to talk about Legacy, his digital painting included in More People Than You Know.
What is your connection to A Line (Blue)?
My mom has taken Metro to work since my family first immigrated here; at age 72, she still does. Sometimes, I would accompany her to Downtown LA, where I’d explore street art. We bonded on these trips. It’s great to see the neighborhoods of LA.
How did you approach Metro Art’s portrait project, More People Than You Know?
This portrait is one of the most personal works I have ever done. I asked myself: Who among the people I know takes public transit? My mom, a diehard Metro fan, has been taking the train for eighteen years. In addition to taking Metro to work, she uses the transportation system to go to my brother’s house, where she babysits my niece, who is also my god-daughter. Both my mom and niece are the subjects of my portrait, Legacy. I wanted to honor my mom and also shed light on elders. They are a fountain of wisdom. I wished to depict an older woman smiling, enjoying the ride, and passing on the ridership experience to the next generation. I wanted to also convey the idea that Metro is safe.
How would you describe the art you make?
I always drew as a kid. In high school, I discovered street art and was amazed by it. My art is now heavily influenced by design and portraiture. My work deals with social empowerment. Most of my subjects are marginalized people; my art is community-based. I am a social activist. I work with spray paint, oil and acrylic paint, and digital and treat every medium the same.
How do you work as an artist?
I need to know the mission. What is the art for? Where is it going? Who’s the audience? I also research. I work from photographs.