See Me Now

Last Updated on April 9, 2021

Artists Star Montana and Shizu Saldamando have centered their art practices on the subcultures of East L.A. Using portraiture, either with photography or drawing, both women have created celebratory documentation of people and stories of their neighborhood. Join us for an intergenerational conversation, as these two friends discuss their motivations, challenges, and the considerations they make in representing their community.

See Me Now: A Conversation with Star Montana and Shizu Saldamando
Captured by Priscilla Mars

Star Montana is a photo-based artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. She was born and raised in Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles, a predominantly Mexican American neighborhood that serves as the backdrop to much of her work. Montana’s imagery deals with class, social environment, and identity within the personal and her family. Three dots and Tear drops—a long-term project with her family that has dealt with fragmented histories, loss, and the hope of the next generation—was recently on view at the Vincent Price Art Museum and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. Recently, Montana has begun work on her themes within a larger scope of Los Angeles residents via portraiture and video. Montana received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2013.

Shizu Saldamando was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. She received her B.A. from UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture and her MFA from Calarts. Previous residencies include CanSerat in Barcelona and ArtOmi International Artist Colony in upstate New York. Her work has been featured at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the 2015 Venice Biennial. She has had solo exhibitions at the Vincent Price Art Museum, Moore College, Steve Turner Contemporary and most recently the Palms Metro Station as a part of the new Expo Line extension. She currently has work up at the Petersen Automotive Museum in the group exhibition “The High Art of Riding Low” and several upcoming group exhibitions debuting in September as a part of the Getty LA/LA series at the Japanese American National Museum, the Lancaster Museum of Art, Chapman University Gallery and Self-Help Graphics. She has worked for various non-profit arts organization and currently works as a tattoo artist. She is also a mother to a 9-month-old.