This week we’re visiting with artist Albert Orozco. This is part two of the four-part Nos Vemos/We See Us series on arts-based approaches to community engagement to help inform future transportation investments in Southeast LA.
Albert Orozco is an architectural designer from South Gate whose projects reflect social issues such as the environment, racism, immigration and identity. He creates collaborative spaces to imagine sustainable futures for historically dispossessed communities.
For Nos Vemos, Albert is leading a two-part online workshop SELA Galaxy: Stories of Space. Participants will create digital collages that represent their past, present and visions for their future in Southeast Los Angeles.
SELA Galaxy: Stories of Space begins on Tuesday, October 12. Click here to learn more or sign up.
Now, let’s learn more about Albert and his inspiration behind the SELA Galaxy workshops!
Tell us a bit about your connection with SELA?
I grew up in South Gate where my family currently resides. While attending South East High School, I had various teachers who taught me to always invest in my community. After receiving my degree in architecture, I came back to SELA. I co-founded a grassroots organization and studio in SELA called Open-Walls on the principle of creating moments of access for creatives in the visual arts and design world. At the same time, I was involved in planning the SELA Arts Festival where I met many community leaders who, for decades, have been fostering SELA’s art culture. It’s an honor working with my community.
What inspired you to create SELA Galaxy: Stories of Space?
SELA Galaxy: Stories of Space gives people tools to visually express and imagine their world of Southeast Los Angeles. Since the development of the Los Angeles River is rapidly moving, now is an important time to provide people a way to express how Chicanx space can drive design in our community. Like in my designs, my workshop embodies the principles of Chicanxfuturism by using science-fiction and imaginative art forms to challenge oppressive systems and ideologies, and explore alternative futures.
As an artist and architect, what do you hope participants will take away from this?
My workshop aims to empower people of color to create and own their spatial stories through visual storytelling. As an architectural designer, artist, and writer, I forefront narratives critiquing our current urban environments and constructing positive futures for our lands. I hope that people see the importance of expressing issues of space in their community, have another outlet of expression, think beyond their current environments and use imagination to share their realties.
Your good friend is visiting SELA and you want to show them a great time (using transit, of course!). Where would you take them and why?
First, we would head to El Cielito Cafe to get some warm Mexican coffee. We would later take a walk down Tweedy Boulevard in South Gate, visit all the shops, and buy flowers for my mom. We’d get some ice cream at South Gate Park from the paletero man and end up at my mom’s house for some of her homemade food.
Albert Orozco is an architectural designer, artist, and writer based in Los Angeles whose current work interweaves Mexican-American histories, mythologies and geographies with architectural design to stage visual narratives critiquing colonial architecture. He received his degree in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Follow his project on Instagram for updates at @alorozco.