At first, this fast pace was stimulating but after a while, well, . . . perhaps this style arose from speaking in front of urban community groups where one has to grab attention and preempt anyone else from getting a word in edgewise.
It seems like a great idea, but it also hampered the synchronization of her words and images because larger images took what seemed like minutes to open up. The audience often stared at the "whirling circle" or "% complete" bar as the image downloaded. She also fumbled around looking for images that she wanted to find. Trying to think, speak, and search for images while keeping an audience engaged is really hard to do.
She showed numerous urban murals. Her craft identity involves urban activism. The communities of urban poor or disadvantaged became melting pots of creativity and visibility outside of the conventional art galleries and museums.
She advocated that street murals provide accessible art to everyone. Anyone can do it. Anyone can see it.
A community can embrace the mural art form as a platform. Art becomes a megaphone for the message. Doing the art is also a way to engage and organize the community around a common goal, whether it is raising awareness or bringing a community together around an event or theme.
She also focused on an environmental thread - the global issues surrounding water include privatization of water, the politics of water allocation, and excessive packaging of plastic water bottles.
One group called themselves "Water Writes". Unfortunately, the message was overly idealized and lacked practical solutions or economically viable alternatives for providing water to communities.
Overall, with Nancy Hernandez, we were clearly listening to a passionate spokesperson for community programs. Her photos were vibrant and colorful but her message lacked sustainable coherence.
I am a dedicated environmentalist from way back. It was really hard to appreciate her environmental credentials when the muralists use spray cans on such a large scale.
Despite my environmental concerns - the murals were fabulous! The graphics were very well done. Symbols meaningful to the community and local politics were integrated into extended horizontal renderings on the sides of commercial buildings and walls.
View more images on Estria's Flickr site.
View the Estria website
NOTE: Look at the image of the mural in the above photo. Do you see the spray paint can in the lower-left corner? The spray paint cans are the signature medium of street artists but they create a huge amount of trash and air pollution. Does it seem ironic to see the spray paint cans in an environmental theme?
This post was updated on February 1, 2022.