I follow random people on the internet sometimes. there's a desire I've always had since I was younger, to connect with people wherever the hell they were. I was an avid online community dude. I was on gaia online, omgpop, tumblr (of course), 2013 timberlake-era myspace, ello, vsco, peach, kik (shoutout fellow victims of exploitation)—I even signed up for a fucking bebo (for those of you who don't know, that was a social media network for fuckers in the united kingdom).
araya was someone I had followed on my occasional instagram binge-followings. just some artist far away from los angeles I had already accepted I would likely never see in person, until it happened. I saw her geotag the city, I asked straight away if she lived here and would be down to be in the series. Obviously it happened, 1/23/24.
stepping into the room for the first time, I loved it. it's the kind of place some set designer wishes to make for some film. but it's real. the painted canvases leaning against the defunct fireplace, books and vhs tapes on the mantle. the various posters and original artworks plastered on the walls. the boombox on the windowsill—the trainspotting soundtrack playing through it. all of it, essences of the human inside the room with me. the scrappy artist who moved all the way down here to los angeles to chase experiences and live a life whole.
you have to root for her. you have to respect the efforts. I do. it's already hard being an artist, but a woman artist? to have to work a hundred times harder just to be given a chance, to have to deal with having your every move telegraphed, to be disrespected instead of uplifted? I'm glad she's in los angeles. for all it's problems with toxicity and predatory misogynists, there lies community. pockets of people who make it their mission to nurture these young creatives, to encourage them to freely express themselves without that anxiety of being harassed + how to deal with it for when it does inevitably rear its head, if it hasn't already.
araya's got a fire. making her zines, artworks, experimental photography and video. I know she'll make shit that'll inspire people today and tomorrow the same way the works of the past have inspired her. it's a cycle we'll never tire of repeating, and I'm honored to document her role in it.