Artist Interview: Latosha Stimage


Color is a strong component of your work. Can you explain its significance?

Color is relative, and the human eye is subject to error in judgement of what it sees. I’ve thought a lot about the similarities between color perception and identity. 

Whenever an artist of color makes work I’ve found that the conversations around issues of “race” and the assumption of accompanying character traits, either aren’t had, dismissed as common knowledge or they’re not generative.

This was the case with some initial work I was making in CCA’s MFA program. I was using a series of recontextualized image comparisons to challenge objectivity of knowledge. Closer investigations helped me discover an interesting way to talk about the limitations of sight and past knowledge by using orange as a metaphor to discuss the black body.


How has your personal experience influenced the exploration of power and the comparison of historic and contemporary image relationships?

The experience of acting in my skin informs the work I create. In my appearance I carry a specific history that I am constantly at war with. The fact that I live in America that our amber waves of grain were watered by pools of native blood, weeded by dark skinned Africans, or harvested by Mexicans are contemplations.

I am fighting internal hatred and always trying to expand my idea of “self” to include others. I want to meet someone in a moment and engage, not the history of that person, but the positive possibility of that person. I am working “to be for and with another.”

How do you hope viewers engage with your work, and what do you hope they take away?

Vanitas is a clever style of still life painting. It involves the slowing of time to a single frame, and the insertion of beautiful symbols to talk about morality. I hope the things I make create questions. I hope the viewer acknowledges beauty as well as tragedy. If the observer comes close, interacts with something human and reconsiders how they interact with others, I’d be okay with that.

How will the Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fellowships and the Edwin Anthony and Adelaine Bourdeaux Cadogan Scholarships Awards, administered by The San Francisco Foundation, and the accompanying exhibition support your work and future artistic development?

This award will allow me to strengthen my practice, devote more time to creating art and less time to working, and I can buy supplies I need for upcoming work. 

Latosha Stimage is an MFA student at California College of the Arts. She is currently living and working in the bay area.

About the Interviewer
Carolina Quintanilla serves as Interim Gallery Creative Partnerships Manager for SOMArts Cultural Center. She is a graduate of California State University, Northridge where she received her B.A. in Asian American Studies and is currently an MA student in the Ethnic Studies department at San Francisco State University.

Stimage’s artwork is on view September 3–26, 2015, at SOMArts Cultural Center, as part of The TSFF & SOMArts Annual Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition. To learn more about the exhibition, click here.

Images top to Bottom: Oranges, 2015, photo by Dan Fenstermacher; Oranges (detail), 2015, courtesy the artist; Latosha Stimage next to “Oranges,” photo by J. Astra Brinkmann