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Meet Lucy Manalo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lucy Manalo.

Lucy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I love all types of art. I was very active in photography some years back. After getting an opportunity to teach photography, I then went back to school for a CTE credential. That lead to me loving the combination of art and teaching. I then went for a graduate degree in education and various credentials in order to teach art at the high school level.

I taught myself how to draw and paint. But loving to learn, I decided to go back to school again for a second master’s degree, an MFA. My story of moving to sculpture is very recent. In fact, I just began welding again in November 2019 in order to prepare for my CGU MFA thesis show.

When I had first started the program, I was experimenting in various types of media. But I really wanted to get back into welding and machining (which was a skill I had learned while I was in the Air Force may years ago.) However, it had been so long that I forgot and was afraid to try it. But I was driven to reconnect with that skill again, as I felt that it was empowering to work with my hands and tools.

I forced myself to relearn this old skill. I signed up at a local welding school…not to take a class, but just to get some help reconnecting with how to use a welding machine, how to set the gas, the voltage, etc. It was amazing. I was rusty at first, but then it became like riding a bike.

With that renewed sense of empowerment, I ventured onto making artworks that I wanted to exude that sense of empowerment.

Has it been a smooth road?
Most definitely not a smooth road!!

However, I love to learn. My struggle to learn welding and sculpture was a way of infusing the old with the new. I wanted to use that old skill to create artworks that stood for something.

The struggles were trying to juggle family, work, studies and life in general. But luckily I have a supportive family and mother who helped with the kids.

I’ve burned myself a few times. I’ve gotten a sunburn from the welding rays because a part of my coveralls was exposed. I’ve also dropped hot metal on my arm by accident. But, that all comes with the territory so to speak.

Additionally, while I was in school, I was both discouraged and encouraged to weld. Luckily both pushed me to do what I felt I needed to do. WELD!

Please tell us more about your art.
I’ve really just started my website when I graduated, which was in May of this year.

I’d like to think that I’m known as “the female artist who welds”. There aren’t too many who know how to do that. However, I do think the industry is changing from what was and wasn’t acceptable.

I think I’m most proud of the fact that what I’m doing is empowering by the use of materials and machining. Not a traditionally female role, but that in itself shows my love for the “can do” attitude.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Los Angeles is a great place for the arts!!! If one were to look at the annual Otis Report, that would show specifics on how large the arts industry is. I love that everything is so different and open-minded to various types of contemporary works. I feel like the arts community is thriving (when not in a pandemic).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Brian Jones Art

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