Rub-A-Dub-Dub

Tijuana artist Griselda Rosas cleans up her act

 

Undoubtedly, a centuries-old unwritten code of set gender roles still exists in modern-day Mexico: Men are expected to grow up machitos, while their female counterparts should aspire to the role of abnegated mother and housewife. Take off your dishwashing gloves and shake hands with Fabuloso and Ariel; they’ll be your BFF’s or MAPS (Mejor Amigos Por Siempre).  Within these confines a new breed of artist is being born; one that not only defies stereotype, but embraces it with a dormant inbred defiance.  Emerging artists like 27-year-old Griselda Rosas, who has worked with unconventional items like scouring pads and corn tortillas in the past, and took inspiration for her latest project—a line of conceptual sculptures and drawings—using Jabón Zote, a colorful brick-like fabric soap which is a staple in Mexican households as a base.

This latest endeavor has landed her work in the Instituto de Cultura de Baja California (ICBC) and more recently, San Diego’s Space 4 Art. Between classes, the also Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) Art teacher took some time to sud it up with El Zonkey Show

What was the genesis of the project?

I was interested in creating objects that possessed their own recognizable scent. I dabbled with the idea of coffee beans at first, but switched directions after paying a visit to my mom’s house

 Was she doing the wash?

Yes. She was feverishly scrubbing away at a pair of socks (laughs) 

Your studio is embedded with the smell now. How many bars did you acquire?

I actually went online and discovered that Zote had a Facebook page, so I sent a donation request out, explaining my vision and got contacted by the owner of the company the next day, who shipped me 500 bars

 Did you go through all 500?

I went through 170 for my first show. It was enough for seven objects, one installation and seven paintings

 

Was it harder working with the material than you originally thought?

Yes. There was a fair amount of trial and error, as  I later came to find out that its an animal fat-based product, so it doesn’t’ really adhere to anything. I developed a technique that consists in moistening it in water and adding the right amount of cornstarch, I just hope I don’t get in trouble with the vegans.

All images courtesy of the artist. For more info on Rosas’ work, click here 

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