#1 - Are those numbers?
Thank you to all my friends, who subscribed to this mailing list, & have supported my art since Day 1. To anyone who doesn't know me yet:

Hi! My name is Monica. I'm an artist from San Diego, CA, and I make portraits out of area codes, like this:
If you look closely, you can see the area code "805" (Oxnard, CA) repeated over and over.
Yes! Those are numbers, layered over and over to make a portrait. Up close it looks like a big mess, but from far away you can hardly tell it's just numbers. There are other artists out there who use a similar technique (with numbers or words). However, I have yet to find anyone who uses area codes, or who focuses on rappers and artists from hip hop culture like I do.

When I came up with the idea of this virtual art show, I honestly didn't have a plan for it. With everything that's going on today, I just thought it would be cool to connect with people, and have at least ONE email in your inbox that didn't start with, "We hope you are well." This project is definitely new and uncomfortable for me, because I'm not one to share about my process, or anything about my personal life really. I'm pretty private. BUT, for all my friends and followers who have been supporting my art (since 2012), I thought it would be nice to give a little bit of insight behind some of my pieces from over the years.
So, let's start with #1:
“213” (Dr. Dre), paper with acrylic paint pen, July 2014.
I made this piece live at Art in the Park, which was (or still is) an art show/collective in San Diego. I think I finished this piece in about 3.5 hours. By this time, I already had a few pieces under my belt, and I was getting better. I even had a friend at this event recording me for a documentary she was making (sadly, we lost touch & I have no idea where she is now). These events were 5 hours long, but by the end of my “residency” I had no problem busting out a piece by the 3 hour mark. This wasn't my first "area code" piece I made, but after looking at my entire body of work I realized that Dr. Dre was the artist that inspired not only my technique, but my love for hip hop and its culture.
I was about 6 years old when I first heard (a very edited version of) "Keep Their Heads Ringing" playing on my sister’s radio. I really don't know why, but for some reason I loved this jam as a very innocent baby growing up in south San Diego. My other favorites were "Who Am I (What's My Name)?" by Snoop Dogg, & the "Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Song" that I wanted played on a constant loop (sorry Mom & Dad). Looking back, Dr. Dre's music has always been in my life, and was the sound of growing up in the Southbay (south San Diego) in the 90’s. Not until I was older was I able to really comprehend the lyrics, what "213"meant, and the famous East vs. West coast rivalry in hip hop.
Fast-forward to May 2014 and my first live art show. I was going to make a portrait of 2pac at Art in the Park. From 2012 to 2014, I actually used words for my portraits, not area codes. I planned on using the word “2pac”, “west coast” or “wc” for my 2pac piece. I was on the fence about all of my options, and just super nervous in general because I never made art in front of a crowd. A few days before the show, I was driving to school and listening to “Still D.R.E.” For some reason, there was a lyric that stuck with me:
“Still got love for the streets, reppin' 213.” 
I texted my sister on my flip phone (remember those?) and was like,“Dude, wouldn’t it be cool if I made that portrait of 2pac out of the L.A. area code?”. She answered, “that would be dope!” That was it, haha! My 2014 2pac portrait was the first area code portrait I made - all thanks to Dr. Dre and my older sister.

I'll be back this week with the second piece. As a special thank you for subscribing, here is a playlist I made with some famous samples used in Dr. Dre's music and during the G-Funk era: 
Spotify | Apple Music. If you can't get the playlists, just email me back and I'll send them to you directly :)

Thanks for reading!


Monica
Mon, May 4th, 2020
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