We’re so excited to welcome Mandy Cano Villalobos to the podcast today. Mandy is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores ideas of home, memory, and cultural identity. Mandy’s bio is a work of art in and of itself because her accomplishments are so vast.
Creativity and art have always been a part of Villalobos’ life. From being a child who decorated the stairwell with her art to being a pre-teen with a candy-store themed bedroom she created, her entire existence is predicated upon creative energy. Mandy’s work is process-oriented, stemming from “a desire to engage the present moment”.
In today’s episode, Villalobos identifies the themes of her work through events, time, space, and history. The death of her grandmother when she was 6 months old and the “extreme temporarity” which stems from it, her sense of what “home” is, and the history of objects once loved but then discarded all inform her work. Her large scale installations engage with their environments, using objects she collects slowly. They incorporate history, individual stories, and even interviews. No detail goes unnoticed. The works she creates are detailed and layered with nuance. When asked about the visual language that defines her work, she uses the word “cluster,” and explains further: “taking a whole bunch of stuff, and in an organized way … making it as tight and put-together as possible”. From burning materials to creating sculpture she describes her art perfectly in this quote, “I want it to be sacred. I don’t want it to just match with the couch”.
Our discussion heads in so many incredible directions. We discuss her legacy as an artist and as a parent. We talk about the way her work incorporates and explores time from the vantage point of lineage: those who came before her and the “investment” in those who will come after. We chat parenthood (and overwhelm), balance, and how her extended family’s collectivism allows her the space she needs to create art. The way she describes cramming every possible thing into every possible moment is absolutely relatable, but what sets her apart is the way she does this with the active consciousness of living in the moment. From start to finish, this is an episode you’ll want to listen to more than once.
Biggest Art Crush: “I don’t have one, except lately … Thomas Lannigan Schmidt is someone I’ve been looking at a lot lately.”
Favorite Place to Travel or a Dream Trip: Spain and Italy
Favorite/Inspirational Film or Book: I love listening to lectures by Marina Warner.
Favorite Meal: Pizza and beer and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food.
Shout-out: My husband and my three kids. My step-father Keith Godwin, my mom Kelly Godwin, and my aunts Mary and Tina, my Uncle Kenneth Ray, and Constance Marie.
To see more of Mandy Cano Villalobos’ work please visit her website (linked here: Mandy Cano Villalobos) and follow her on IG: @mandy_cano_villalobos
The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn.