Week 11: artist interview: Patricia Rangel

Patricia Rangel made incredible art using dirt she found on the side of the road and a baby cemetery, mainly by her house in Dinuba, CA.  What she does is take plywood to make a cast then fills it up with fine brown dirt and adds some water.  The dirt becomes super compacted then she takes off the plywood. It becomes so compacted that she actually has to use a sledgehammer to break apart the dirt after!  The plywood also is about to burst open because the dirt expands, as well.  It sounds pretty fun and stress-relieving to sledgehammer the hard dirt, and in fact she says it does exactly that. In order to get the dirt, Patricia will drive around in a truck with bags and collect the dirt but she will usually have someone along to help her, like her dad. She mainly gets the dirt from agricultural areas and even used wood found on the side of the ground used to hold up fences or even wood that used to hold up the grape vines to incorporate into her art. She has also gotten the dirt from a high school and even at a hospital in her hometown that was being remodeled.  She likes to recycle the dirt, but her favorite dirt to work with is super fine.  One of her pieces is made of a small block (that I will explain in the below paragraph) of dirt that she sifted through several times in order to make it super fine.

Patricia is a medalist major at CSULB and she got her idea from filling up pendants with dirt and wanting to make Adobe bricks. She is from Dinuba, California, and the dirt she uses reminds her of home. She grew up in an agricultural part of California and this is found in her art. The place where she is from plants, picks, and burns in cycles just like the cycle of life and death.  When she graduates, she wants to have her own studio

Two interesting pieces she had were from a baby cemetery. One of the pieces had several chain links connected to each other leading to the pile of dirt on the ground. The links are made to resemble the shape of the cemetery and the number of links resembled the number of babies buried there. Another piece was special to her as it contained a golden link in a small, finer dirt block. This gold chain resembles someone that was dear to her.

The dirt has such a crazy edge to it!

The dirt has such a crazy edge to it!

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These are the individual chains in the shape of the cemetery.

These are the individual chains in the shape of the cemetery.

These were once used to help hold up the grapevines

These were once used to help hold up the grapevines

This is the small dirt block with the golden link in it.

This is the small dirt block with the golden link in it.

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