In my time as the lead editor for visual arts, my group and I meticulously went through many art submissions. I had made it a rule for myself to never jump on a piece and defend it with all of my heart. I felt that doing this would cloud my judgment and I would not be able to take all of the opinions in my group into consideration. However upon viewing “molemen beat tapes” by Jessica Vazquez, I was instantly drawn to it.
Vazquez’s piece was created with limited resources: two pieces of paper (one black and the other a lightly water-colored), an x-acto knife and glue. She would cut the black pieces of paper with the x-acto and carefully glue them onto the water-colored piece of paper. Although this piece was made with a minimal amount of material, I could easily note the smaller details within the piece itself. Everything was put there for a reason. I could easily note what each thing was supposed to be. My favorite detail was easily the teeth on the left side. What I loved so much about it was how delicate it looked. Knowing that Vazquez had used paper and glue, I thought about the precautions she had to take to get the lines the way she wanted, and on top of that how patient she must have been to glue it the way she wanted it to look. This was very admirable and had made a great impression on me from the start.
This piece was inspired by Kevin Coval’s Poem “molemen beat tapes” which reflected back on the hip hop and rap community. Something I’ve enjoyed about this piece was this was artists inspiring other artists. I have always believed art was a language that transcended languages. Vazquez was inspired by Coval to make her art and her art inspired me to make make my own. One thing I felt that I made my personal goal when it came to finding pieces was to find people who I know would inspire others (of course not limited to myself). I felt a connection with this piece and I knew others would feel the same way. That is why I pushed for this piece.
Emily Sanchez is a Hispanic-American writer who specializes in fiction and children’s books. She is also interested in the visual arts and leads the visual arts team for Levitate.