Artist Interview

Week 9 – Artist Interview – Ralph Acosta

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One type of art form that I find beautiful is photography. When I walked into the Werby Gallery, these giant photographs caught my eye immediately. It’s called, Home “Sweet” Homes. Each photo is of a home and the address of that residence. The color scheme of each are different but similar in a way; it has a nostalgic feel to it. The content of each also peaked my interest. I wanted to know more about these photos, however the artist, Ralph Acosta was unavailable this week. Although I was unable to interview him, I really wanted to give him credit for his art.

Luckily, I learned a few things about the photographs. Ralph is influenced by memory quotes and in this case, his gallery was based on this quote:

Memories of childhood are the dreams that stayed with you when you wake.

– Julian Barnes, England England

According to the placard, these are giant postcards of homes in and out of the Wilshire District of Los Angeles, where Ralph lived, between 1970 and 1980. During this period in his life, his family faced adversity but Ralph and his brothers were able to overcome their hardships at a hotel called the Ambassador, a few blocks away from their home. Although he was able to deal with his troubles, it’s clear that those troubles would never be forgotten. The large 35 inch by 22 inch postcards represents how big and serious the issues his family experienced were. Ralph considers these several homes to be “home” despite what happened.

After learning about his work, it really hit home for me. I could almost relate in the way that I had several homes too. Not as many as Ralph, but each home I did live in has their own story and experience in it, good and/or bad. I lived in Norcal most of my life and although my first home was in the Bay Area, I wasn’t raised there. I was raised in the Central Valley and lived in a house for about ten years or so. I’ve had some of the best memories and the worst memories there. Unfortunately, we lost that home due to foreclosure. I had to move in with my aunt and her family. And that was my second home for a few years. It was a different experience but throughout those years, was when I was most grateful. Then, I eventually moved to Southern California because of job opportunities. This time, my home was an apartment and also had it’s own memories. Unlike Ralph, it hurts to pass by my first home. If I’m ever visiting town, I try to avoid the street it’s on. However, when people ask me where I’m from or ask about my hometown, I always refer to the city my first home is in.

It’s inspirational that Ralph explored his childhood years through the homes he lived in despite the adversities associated with them. I’m very glad he showcased his work. I wish I had the opportunity to meet him.

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