We are an East Bay-based collaborative with three very different personalities working in very different art forms, but we share enthusiasm in working together; we enjoy the creative spark and dialogues we generate when we get together. We represent distinct communities in the East Bay; just look at our last names: Shintani, Alvarado Valdivia, and Johnson-Williams. At most, we each have a 3rd generation connection to this country. Immigration, with its steep learning curve, creates a culture of excitement, of hope—an excellent atmosphere for creating art. This online arts exhibition was a unique and perfect opportunity to highlight our respective art (e.g., our respective loves) and connection to this area that nurtures us.
Using ourselves as avatars for the creative person gallivanting around the East Bay, we gathered together one day to film our normal work: drawing, reading, installing art, writing, even going to work (although Juan was not paid to act like he was working!) Our video represents what we are: an intersection of artistic endeavors, multiple cultures, gender, ages, and media, all tied together by bicycling around the East Bay. Judy Shintani is an installation artist and teacher to the elderly. Juan Alvarado Valdivia is a writer and a professional grant writer (and occasional filmmaker). Judy Johnson-Williams is a visual artist and art teacher.
In our video, we start at the live work studio of cardboard carving specialist Judy Johnson-Williams, then wheel over to JFKU’s Arts & Consciousness Gallery to check out Judy Shintani’s assemblage and installation art. We hop back on our bikes, cruise over to Prescott-Joseph Center where Juan Alvarado Valdivia writes grants for programs such as Johnson-Williams’ art program for K-5 students at PLACE @ Prescott. A much-needed nourishment break took us to Juan and Johnson-Williams’ writing and sketch café, while Shintani manned the camera.
We were inspired to highlight the richness, diversity, opportunities, and life experiences that we enjoy in cities like Berkeley and Oakland. We were inspired to film each other in a collaborative video to show how the East Bay is an intersection where distinct paths, such as ours, can and does converge every day (Shintani is Japanese-American; Alvarado Valdivia is of Peruvian descent, and Johnson-Williams grew up in Southern California). In a way, the video is like a simple love poem for this region, the convergence of cultures and experiences which nurtures our respective and collaborative art.