Colorful piñatas shaped like small houses have been turning heads in Oak Cliff.
But what may look cute and festive from a distance is actually a site-specific guerrilla art installation meant to alter perceptions of new housing developments. With sad facial expressions, the little houses look like depressed cartoons. Artist Giovanni Valderas is trying to use these visuals to raise awareness of an affordable housing crisis created by gentrification.
Curator Giovanni Valderas brought together the work of 15 Texas-based artists who hail from around the world but share a commonality as members of the Latinx diaspora. As an artist himself, Valderas has made rounds on TV news and in the press for leaving piñatas shaped like houses with downcast expressions in gentrifying neighborhoods as part of his “Casita Tristes” project, a commentary on the scourge of housing inequality in Dallas.
An Oak Cliff artist is drawing attention with his eye-catching pieces.The creations, similar to piñatas, are tiny homes simply made of tissue paper and cardboard. They are meant to send a powerful message to Dallas City Hall about the city's affordable housing crisis.
Among the new additions to Oak Cliff, one "building" stands out. Constructed from cardboard, with shifty big eyes and a smirk, perched in Dallas' Bishop Arts area. It is a house by artist Giovanni Valderas who calls his piece Casita Triste or Sad Little House..
These Sad-Faced House Piñatas Perfectly Encapsulate Dallas' Affordable Housing Problem
Dallas-based artist Giovanni Valderas is doing something about it. His new project, a guerilla-style street installation called Casitas Tristés, is meant to draw attention to the people who are getting swept away by the winds of change.
Sad Little Houses, Big Bad Problems
For the past few weeks, houses have been popping up all over Oak Cliff. These aren’t the luxury apartment complexes you might’ve seen in Bishop Arts though. In fact, you won’t even see construction crews working on these houses, because they pop up so fast. In this week’s Art&Seek Artist Spotlight, Hady Mawajdeh met up with artist Giovanni Valderas as he responds to Oak Cliff’s gentrification.
‘Casa triste’ art project spotlights lack of affordable housing
A new art project from Oak Cliff-based artist Giovanni Valderas features cute little piñata houses.
While the works themselves are adorable, Valderas intends for them to shine a light on the city’s lack of affordable housing and the people being displaced by our neighborhood’s rapid redevelopment.
Catching A Glimpse Of Art In Dallas, Circa 2018
Giovanni Valderas knows a lot about the city’s arts infrastructure, and his use of art to voice human rights concerns is becoming more and more known. The artist was recently reappointed to the city’s Cultural Affairs Commission by Omar Narvaez. He’s the councilmember elected in District 6 over incumbent Monica Alonzo in a runoff this year amid the West Dallas eviction crisis. As the assistant gallery director at Kirk Hopper Fine Art, Valderas champions talent grown in Dallas and Texas.
New American Paintings issue #132, is out now
Valderas' work is featured in the latest edition of New American Paintings, this is Giovanni's second feature in the magazine, This year's juror for the West competition was Valerie Cassel Oliver, former Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
Reappointment to the Cultural Affairs Commission
Newly elected councilman for District 6, Omar Narvaez appointed Valderas to the CAC to serve the constituents of West Dallas. Giovanni is grateful for the appointment and looks to bring more cultural programming to West Dallas.
Valderas goes back to school
Valderas was selected to take part in the inaugural class of the Artist Campaign School in Detroit, MI. Political strategists from all over the country were brought in to teach and train artists to work on campaigns and eventually to run for political office.
Giovanni Valderas returns to his alma mater
Valderas returned to UNT to lead an all day piñata inspired workshop with students at the University Union in Denton. Students crafted a large signage installation that read, NO HAY PEDO.
Giovanni Valderas to debut new work at Galveston Arts Center
The exhibition’s title piece, "Tradecraft," consists of an installation of 14 48-inch letters, spelling the phrase “QUIÉN LOS PARARÀ.” At first glance the phrase’s potentially pejorative meaning, which translates to “Who will stop them,” is subverted into a message of empowerment for Spanish speakers. QUIÉN LOS PARARÀ is intended to co-opt words of fear and transcend them into a positive message for the culturally marginalized. The installation appropriates the piñata form in an effort to transform its original identity in popular culture from one of mere birthday celebrations, to one of a cultural construct in an attempt to decipher the complex history between US and Latin America. Through this work, Valderas aims to engage viewers and provoke a sense of empathy.
Giovanni Valderas awarded Nasher Microgrant
With his Nasher Microgrant, Valderas will create several pieces of text-based work that mimic traditional large- and small-scale political election signage and will place them throughout heavily populated Latinx neighborhoods during this month’s election season. Traditionally, Latinx districts suffer from low voter turnout and Valderas hopes that his artwork will create awareness and urge individuals to be engaged in the political system.
Temporary public artwork in Housotn
Valderas' work was selected to be digitally reproduced by Artblocks Houston. His work was unveiled just in time for the Super Bowl festivities.The titled of the work, Saludos featured a colloquial salutation used in the Hispanic community: “ay the miro” (see you later) is a slang term used upon departure from a gathering of friends and family. Though the saying is often used nonchalantly, it can also represent the fortitude, perseverance and hope of the Latino community. The two-dimensional work is enhanced by embellishments of texture and color used in piñatas, one of the most iconic symbols of Hispanic culture, transforming the original meaning to one of cultural equity and unity.
Sign Language: Giovanni Valderas
Valderas’ versions speak in a different language. They come plumed in extravagant color that would make an investor blush. He builds them up with wooden armatures, papier-mâché, and brightly colored fringe (materials he’s been incorporating in his work for some time now). They wield this cultural vernacular as armor in an aesthetic skirmish. There is no candy inside these boxes, and they have nothing to sell. They’re here to provoke.
Giovanni Valderas: Forged Utopia
It is a bizarre juxtaposition of materials and ideas and a clever commentary on urban sprawl and gentrification. Though not overtly stated, these themes are inescapable in his work and tend to be on the interruptive end of the activist-art spectrum.
An Artist Is Starting a Dialogue About Gentrification with Piñata-Inspired Real Estate Signs
"These commercial real estate signs project a message of power and influence,” Valderas says. He created artwork that does the same thing, and when the two are juxtaposed, they relay messages about each other to the community. One is crafted and domestic, the other manufactured and foreign; one is festive and tactile, the other sterile and dry.
Forged Utopia Opens in Dallas
As part of the New Urban Landscape series, The MAC is proud to present Forged Utopia, new works by artist Giovanni Valderas. The exhibition will be on view June 4 through June 25, Saturdays 12-4 or by appointment. The opening reception will take place on June 4 from 6-9 with a closing reception on June 25 from 6-9. Valderas’ installation at The MAC addresses culture, history, and origins in order to bring awareness to the marginalization of Latino communities through gentrification.
Forged Utopia Opens at Art League Houston in January
In keeping with the vision of Art League Houston’s programming of providing a unique experiences to visitors and the community, Valderas will be utilizing the Sculpture Garden for a 6’x 10’ site-specific installation titled, “A Forged Utopia.”
Giovanni Valderas Leaves Mountain View College for Kirk Hopper Fine Art
Before Giovanni Valderas was the director, the Cliff Gallery at Mountain View Community College wasn’t exactly an essential stop for those who visit art galleries on the weekends. But in the last year and a half, Valderas has turned the gallery into a hotspot. Now Valderas is ready to activate another space. After accepting a position as assistant director at Kirk Hopper Fine Art, today is his last day as gallery director for Mountain View.
- Jeremy Hallock
100 Dallas Creatives: No. 33 Triple Threat Giovanni Valderas
Giovanni Valderas runs one of the hottest galleries in town. He programs the work of both up-and-coming and established artists in his comfortable, well-lit space. But you won't find his space in the Design District. As the director of the Cliff Gallery at Mountain View College, Valderas has been tasked with creating an artistic culture on the campus of Oak Cliff's community college. And by all appearances, he's more than risen to the challenge.
The University of North Texas graduate not only programs and teaches at MVC, he also serves as the Vice Chair on the Cultural Arts Commission, which the mayor uses as his arts community advisers. And Valderas is a mixed media artist whose earned a reputation for his riveting collage art. We chatted with him about his work as all three, and what's next.
- Lauren Smart
Valderas' work is acquired by the US Embassy
Three artworks by Giovanni Valderas were acquired by the Department of State. His works will be added to the collection of the US Embassy Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Giovanni joins Verbing Painting panel discussion
A two part panel, discussing "withdrawal and extension," and "the body as marker," will explore the relationship between painting and performance and the range of artists’ temporal and physical presence in the work. The artists and historian in this panel will offer a range of approaches to this spectrum from exclusive object makers to those that are more clearly linked to performance, sound, video, and installation.
Partcipating Artists: Judy Rushin - Florida State University, Joomi Chung - Miami University, Andrei;Renteria - UTSA, Christie Blizard - UTSA
Q&A with Caitlin Giddens, editor for BubbleLife.
Giovanni Valderas, an artist based in Oak Cliff, creates mixed media pieces inspired by his Latin American background. While piecing together charcoal, duct tape, reclaimed wood and indigenous fabric, Valderas channels the historic methods of piñata making to create "cultural constructs."
Soft Power - New work debuts in Houston
Valderas is excited to be selected to exhibit at Box 13 in Houston. This will be Giovanni's second solo show in Houston. BOX 13 is an artist run nonprofit innovative environment for the creation and advancement of experimental contemporary art in Houston. BOX 13 artists create this environment through the offering of affordable workspaces for emerging and established artists, dedicating five interior spaces to the exhibition of artistic explorations, a window gallery for installations and an outdoor courtyard space. BOX 13 promotes dialogue among artists and the art community on current trends affecting the arts.
Reception - July 12th at 6p
Giovanni helps Re-imagine Arts in Dallas
"We are just hours away from Re-imagining Art in Dallas and I’m excited to have my appointee to the Cultural Affair Commission M. Giovanni Valderas join the discussion panel."
-Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings
Suplex Projects, BLUEorange, and Giovanni talk about relationships between food, memory and culture.
"With those words, Giovanni Valderas cut to the heart of the reason why the crowd had assembled at BLUEorange that Sunday. On some level, these words are an aphorism. But with the myriad works of art we encounter in our lives, it can be helpful to remember that everything artists create is informed by a totally unique set of experiences. Something as simple as the food they ate as a child, or stories their mothers told them—even the stories their mothers chose not to tell them."
New work to debut in Houston
February 22nd - March 22nd 2014
BLUEorange Contemporary is proud to announce the opening of Particularly These a show that, through explorations of medium and materiality, captures the artists contemplation of personal history, be it a physical artifact, a fleeting memory, or a symbol of ones identity. This exhibition will include works in various media by Lance McMahan (Austin,TX), Roxanna Tuff (Austin, TX) and Giovanni Valderas (Dallas, TX).
Saturday, Feb. 22nd from 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Recent Review: Dallas Arts Revue
I have no idea who those guys are or were — saints or sinners, but the unity created by the disparate elements gives me pleasure and pause, and I am startled by their presence.
- JR Compton
New issue of NAP #108 is out in stores
Juror Veronica Roberts, Curator of the Modern and Contemporary Art, Blanton Museum of Art, states "Dallas- based artist Giovanni Valderas, creates haunting mixed media portraits of men. Often their faces or clothes are stitched or painted meticulously onto fabric, while their hands or faces dissolve into a thicket of painted wood sticks, forming portraits that seem to involve acts of destruction and invokes loss more than homage."
Appointment for Cultural Affairs Commission
Appointed by Mayor Mike Rawlings of the City of Dallas to sit on the CAC advisory board, the commission is instrumental in overseeing and making policy suggestions on arts initiatives for the City of Dallas. Giovanni is excited and honored to serve as the Mayor's appointee for the citizens of Dallas and is looking forward to doing great things for the city.
Read Giovanni's Q & A with Mercado Bilingüe
Oak Cliff artist and contributor for the weekly magazine Mercado Bilingüe,
Patricia Rodriguez caught up Giovanni for a quick Q & A session about life as
an artist and professor. Scroll down to page 25 for full interview.
"Post-Nostrums" to be auctioned off...
Art League Houston is gearing up for their 2013 annual benefit Gala celebrating Art League's 65th anniversary on Friday, October 18, 2013 at Hotel ZaZa. Over the past two years, ALH has invited artists they feel are making major contributions to the Houston/Texas art scene for their silent auction.
The Gala is crucial to supporting Art League Houston exhibitions by local, national and international artists, including the Texas Artist of the Year exhibition. In addition, proceeds support the ALH Healing Art program for adults living with serious illnesses and disabilities, our residencies for low-income students in Houston ISD elementary schools, expanded programs for high school students, and the Art League School, which offers an array of art classes to the public.
Get on the bus!
Giovanni is tapped as emcee to help kick off the month of September's Contemporary Dealers of Art Bus Tour. The bus tour consists of about 20-30 people who visit select galleries and artists studios. The money raised supports college scholarships for Booker T. Washington students.
It's Official! A new world record is set!
Giovanni Valderas with his former students from UNT were invited by Eyecon Mural, Inc. to assist in setting a new world record for largest artwork made out of make-up products. Created in celebration of Mary Kay, Inc.’s 50th anniversary, the mural took ten artists about 1,000 hours over 16 days to complete and is 8’ x 76’. Click on link below to see the incrediable time laspe video!
Valderas invited to help lead Mural workshop for DMA and Perot Museum
Artist Giovanni Valderas and Blayre Stiller are excited to have been invited to lead a murals workshop at the DMA in August. The finished mural will be displayed at the DMA gallery during Late Night Friday, August 16th from 8-10pm.
Review at Cohn Drennan Contemporary
"One thing that struck me about Valderas new work is that you get a sense that his paintings are to break apart at any moment. These are not poorly constructed works, but they do remind me of early Claes Oldenburg sculptures."
- Todd Camplin
Valderas' work to appear in New American Paintings
Juror: Veronica Roberts
Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
The Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin
New American Paintings, No. 108, West Issue.
Recent Review of frayed elements in A+C
"Giovanni Valderas,“with his piercing satire and crisp subject examination"..."these pieces especially struck me – for the questions they leave the viewer with."
- Kent Boyer
Giovanni is Biennial Bound!
For the first time in the project's history, in 2013 the curated group survey that is the central feature of the Biennial will be installed in a single venue and will represent all artists selected from the open call. This exhibition will take place September 5 – November 9, 2013 at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio.
Valderas joins 500X
500X Gallery is Texas’ oldest, artist run, cooperative gallery.
Established in 1978, 500X provides one of the best exhibition spaces to up and coming artists in the city of Dallas. The gallery is located in a historic circa 1916 tire factory and air-conditioning warehouse and has over 3000 square feet of exhibition space.
New work debuts in November!
New Work by Giovanni Valderas opens in Houston
Art League Houston is pleased to present New Work, an exhibition of new-mixed media paintings by Dallas based artist Giovanni Valderas. The work combines a variety of materials including paper, acrylic paint, wood, drawing and screen print to create complex three dimension paintings that hang awkwardly on the wall and explore themes of decaying traditional structures. The opening reception is 6-9 PM on Friday, May 17, 2013 in the ALH Hallway Gallery. Artist talk at 6:15 PM.
New Interview in Patron magazine
"Valderas deals with culture, relationships, family, and orgins, and his artistic language is symbolic, exploring appearance vs. reality and dual identities. In his hands,the piñata-making technique of bending wood strips into armatures becomes a metaphor. “The whole idea of bending wood without breaking it, making it conform, goes back to the relationship aspect - trying to make relationships work, and how complex and convoluted they all get.”
Q & A With Giovanni Valderas
Interview with Giovanni Valderas, by Sophie Asakura
Currently on display in Art League Houston's Hallway Gallery, Giovanni Valderas' mixed media paintings combine a wide range of mediums and materials to create pieces that challege traditional structures by hanging awkwardly and irregularly on the wall. The exhibit closes June 21, so come by while you still can to check out his amazing work!