Artist lecture: Janelle Iglesias

Iglesias’ art has been known to feature repurposed, and sustainable items.
Photo courtesy of Janelle Iglesias

Visual artist lectures at USD as part of the Visiting Artist Lecture Series

Anderson Haigler / A&C Editor / The USD Vista

Visual Artist Janelle Iglesias spoke on campus Friday at Camino Hall, and brought an intriguing look into her work. Iglesias was hosted by the Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series, and provided a look at her work and inspiration. She hails from Queens, New York, and has had a rich career in art thus far.

At her lecture, Iglesias described a six-month stretch spent in Paris, France as an important period for her and her artwork. She lived with her sister, Lisa, and she explained that they were living off a single artist grant, and were totally broke, living in a tiny studio apartment.”Nonetheless, the two sisters found inspiration within the city. 

“It was super challenging, but also super fantastic,” Iglesias said. 

Iglesias places a large emphasis on repurposing items and sustainability in her work. Many of her pieces feature items she found in the world around her, and Paris was no exception. 

“I’ve always been interested in found objects,” she said. “We would take these long walks all over the city, and we were there during the wintertime, and we were coming across not only found objects, but found gloves.” 

For a project, the sisters found 80 single gloves around Paris. As the Iglesias sisters laid the gloves out, they painted what they imagined the matching glove would look like, then set them side by side to create a pair. 

Iglesias explained in her lecture that she has also worked with items like coffee stir sticks, masking tape, and items she simply found in her parents’ garage. Her work displays an ability to take items that were previously in a disordered state and transform them into something cohesive. As a whole, her projects give off a sense of organized chaos. 

Janelle’s and Lisa’s time spent in Paris also allowed the sisters to draw inspiration from their relationship. 

“We had to learn from each other, and share information and skills,” Iglesias said. 

However, the pair did encounter some difficulty spending so much time together. 

“It was our first time really living and working together since high school, and we really did fight a lot,” Iglesias said. 

This project, titled Lost Glove, involved taking the Iglesias sisters taking 80 single found gloves around Paris and painting what they imagined the matching glove would look like.
Photo courtesy of Janelle Iglesias

Following a series of fights, they decided the best way to express their frustration with each other would be to construct piñatas in each others image, and hit the piñatas. The project gave them a unique way to put aside their differences, and provided both a literal and figurative representation of the struggles that siblings can often go through.

“We wanted to dig into that tension, instead of leaning away from it,” Iglesias said. “We made piñatas of each other, then we beat each other up,” 

Iglesias is also working to make art more accessible to people who wouldn’t necessarily call themselves artists. While living in Brooklyn, she brought her piñata concept to the Good Companions Senior Center in an effort to get the community more involved in art. The piñata concept was part of a larger event at the center that featured art from the community.

“Everybody came in for our ‘Thanksliving’ celebration, and we brought food and displayed the art and the pinatas,” Iglesias said. “The art sort of belonged to the community, and stayed within the community, and we celebrated that.”

Janelle Iglesias brought a unique and diverse body of work to her Visiting Artist Lecture last Friday. She gave students a look at sustainable and creative works. Visiting Artist Lectures are featured periodically throughout the semester, and are held in the drawing studio in Camino Hall.

This collaboration between the Iglesias sisters, titled Self Portraits, featured the sisters constructing piñatas in each others image, and hitting the piñatas.
Photo courtesy of Janelle Iglesias