Labor of Love: the Economics of Piñata Making
Live streamed on October 15, 2021.
Francisco Palomares, Yesenia Prieto, and Lorena Robletto discuss their work, process, and the socioeconomic and labor issues connected to piñata making.
About the Panelists:
Francisco Palomares is a contemporary artist based in East Los Angeles. Encouraged by educators in his youth, Palomares studied the fundamentals of drawing and painting at Ryman Arts School from 2005 to 2007. In 2014, he earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from California State University, Long Beach. After his studies he relocated to his childhood neighborhood of Boyle Heights setting up his studio: PalomaresBLVD. His studio is a fictional street where he re-envisions Los Angeles inviting viewers to take the stage with him in storytelling. In addition to his studio practice, Palomares operates Francisco’s Fresh Paintings. For this weekly public art installation, Palomares has transformed the iconic fruit cart he grew up seeing around Los Angeles into a mobile art gallery and studio, where he paints live on the corner of 3rd and Traction at historic Joel Bloom Square in the heart of the Arts District.
Yesenia Prieto is the founder and co-owner, with Mia Baez, of La Piñata Design Studio. Led by highly experienced third generation piñata makers and designers, La Piñata Design Studio is reinventing the traditional craft of piñata making through their custom piñatas, sculptures, masks, and installations. Yesenia Prieto began making piñatas in South Los Angeles as a small time trade and has quickly harnessed her artistic skill and entrepreneurial spirit to manage larger than life installation projects for companies and museums such as LACMA, Microsoft, Google, and celebrities such as pop star Rihanna. Prieto and Baez also utilize the LA Piñata Design Studio as space and hub for leading hands-on workshops for the community to learn about the potential of piñatas as a form of craft and creativity.
Lorena Robletto founded Amazing Piñatas nearly a decade ago. After consulting for immigrant-owned businesses and serving as a social worker for immigrant families, Robletto turned her focus towards the artistry of piñatas and set up a shop in the Los Angeles Piñata District. Her studio and storefront is now located in Mid City, where her team creates custom piñatas of any scale along with ready-made piñatas and various signature designs. She frequently makes props and commissions for the entertainment industry and other branded events.
This project is supported by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. www.culturela.org
Additional support for the Craft in America Center is provided by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. www.lacountyarts.org