OXY ARTS Speaker Series: The Quetzalcoatl Mural Project

January 29, 2018 | 7:00pm TO 8:30pm
2018-01-29 19:00:00 2018-01-29 20:30:00 OXY ARTS Speaker Series: The Quetzalcoatl Mural Project <p>The OXY ARTS Speaker Series brings five multidisciplinary LA-based artists to Occidental College to engage our community in conversation about their art, their inspirations, and why they do what they do in Los Angeles today.</p> America/Los_Angeles public

The Quetzalcoatl (Feathered-Serpent) Mural Project (QMP) is a community based mural arts collective which began twenty-one years ago in one of the Los Angeles historic art districts. QMP’s primary mission is to provide inner city youth an opportunity to showcase their artistic talents by creating an awareness campaign through public art projects in underserved Los Angeles neighborhoods.

The original mural team who completed the mural, “Mexico-Tenochtitlan: A Sequence of Time and Culture” includes the following: Andy LedesmaJohn “Zender” EstradaAnthony OrtegaIsabel MartinezOscar De LeonJesse SilvaJerry OrtegaRalph Corona, Jaime and Dominic Ochoa. Community artists include: AsylumFernando BustosJohn Duran, and Mario Mencias.

QMP collective members Anthony Ortega, Andy Ledesma, and Dominic Ochoa will participate in this event which will be moderated by muralist Noni Olabisi.

Anthony Ortega (Founding Director)

Anthony Ortega is a muralist, community organizer, writer, and an independent civil rights historian and researcher. Born in East L.A. in 1971, Ortega was inspired by both his Roosevelt High School teacher, Chicano Movement activist, Miguel Roura, and by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales’ now-classic poem, Yo Soy Joaquin/I am Joaquin." Ortega's first student cover story, reporting the experiences of a Japanese Chicano activist in the 1968 East Los Angeles High School walkouts, led to his journalism major at Cal State University, Northridge, and, in 1990, completion of a journalism program sponsored by the USC Annenberg School of Journalism's and California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA). In 1995, Ortega and artist Andy Ledesma co-founded the Quetzalcoatl Mural Project, a community-based mural arts collective that produced a 100-foot-long mural completed in the summer of 1996. In 2009, the mural was tagged with graffiti and became a national symbol for public art restoration when acclaimed author of The Soloist, Steve Lopez, wrote about it in his Los Angeles Times feature column.  From 1997-2012, in addition to his involvement in multiple art and humanitarian aid projects, Ortega worked as an independent researcher/historian specializing in the 1964-1984 Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Ortega is also writing a book based on his extensive research material about Chicano civil rights leader Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales. His list of clients and funders include: Hollywood producer Moctezuma Esparza; university educator and writer, Dr. Roberto “Cintli” Rodriquez; legendary drummer of The Doors, John Densmore; lead singer for Rage Against the Machine, Zack de la Rocha; the Not Just Foundation, Seva Foundation, and the Los Angeles City Department of Cultural Affairs. Ortega continues to write, research and conduct presentations on murals, Chicano art and the social/political implications of the Chicano Movement. Ortega resides in Ontario, CA.

Andy Ledesma (Artistic Director)

Andy Ledesma's art career has spanned over three decades. Through out this time, Ledesma has firmly entrenched his artistic vision in the Chicano experience. Born in Texas but raised in Los Angeles, he was exposed early on to the emerging cultural phenomenon known as Chicano\a. It was as a young boy that he became fascinated with murals.Ledesma’s first ventures as a muralist were as a youth through graffiti. As Ledesma pursued this new form of expression, he would encounter other, more established artist, who would encourage him to pursue his passion.In order to advance himself, he would pursue his education by enrolling at East Los Angeles College and Cal State Los Angeles.Ledesma’s mural career began in 1986 with the artist Jerry Rodriguez; they would do a series of historical murals in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood. The vast majority of Ledesma’s murals are in the Highland Park, northeast Los Angles area. In 1995 with Anthony Ortega, Ledesma would assemble the team that would design the Mexico- Tenochtitlan mural. In 1992, Ledesma founded Charming Devil Studios and was one of the first Chicano to self-published his own comic book Welcome to La-La Land. He takes great pride in the fact that 
he would give many artists’ exposure; they would have a booth at the 1996 San Diego comic Con.In 2005, Ledesma relocates to Port Arthur Texas, where he would be the director of the Texas Artist Museum; he was instrumental in reopening the museum following hurricane Katrina. He would also start a papier-mâché fabrication studio that specialized in Mardi Gras floats. In 2015, Ledesma once again relocated to Los Angeles to resume his art career. 

Dominic Ochoa (Artist)

Throughout his years growing up in Highland Park, Dominic Ochoa has been exhibiting in art galleries as a teenager, including art installation of numerous exhibitions around Los Angeles. As a young boy, Dominic spent many years by his mother's side assisting her as a gallery curator of Self-Help Graphics and also as an apprentice in the Silkscreen Workshop at Self-Help Graphics located in East Los Angeles. Throughout his years at Franklin High School, he entered art competitions and got scholarships to Otis Parsons, Cal Arts and Arts Center. In his senior year, he had the pleasure to be a part of what would be the largest Chicano mural in North East Los Angeles. The Quetzalcoatl Mural Project began over 20 years ago opening doors to new horizons. After High School he landed a job at the Autry Museum of the American West, located in Griffith Park for 15 successful years. Ochoa built his knowledge as an exhibition designer, artifact handler, mount maker and Facilities Coordinator during his last years at the Museum. Ochoa began freelancing as a logo designer, which was his passion and lifelong career since he was a young teen. For the last 5 years Ochoa has been a logo designer and visual display Director at Mi Vida Boutique located in Highland Park on York Boulevard and Avenue 52.  During those years at the boutique he was able to join a Union as a theme painter, landing a part-time job for more than a year at Universal Studios in Hollywood. Ochoa was one of two-dozen artists in Los Angeles to paint the entire interior and exterior Theme Park for Harry Potter. Currently, Dominic Ochoa is the Visual Director of Mi Vida Boutique and freelance silkscreen designer.

Noni Olabisi (Panel Moderator)

Noni Olabisi is an artist/ muralist with over twenty-five years of experience as a muralist, receiving many awards for public art commissions. In 2010 she was awarded a California Foundation J. Paul Getty Individual Artist Fellowship to further her career as an artist. She recently was commissioned to mentor students from various High Schools in her community in the art of painting a mural. Olabisi’s murals have appeared on television, in music videos, movies, on the cover of The LA Times Weekly, as well as in numerous newspapers, magazines and books. Her work reflects the need for perseverance for justice and equality, to educate and to promote transformation.

For more information about QMP's work, click here.

Other artists in the Oxy Arts Speaker Series include:

This event is free and open to the public.

Choi Auditorium, Occidental College
1600 Campus Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90041

Click here for directions to Choi Auditorium

The Oxy Arts Speaker Series is made possible by the Arts and Urban Experience Initiative, which is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

*Photo Credit: ©2017 Isabel Rojas-Williams

The Quetzalcoatl Mural Project