Lucas Alamo is a fine artist here in Milwaukee. He draws, paints and designs t-shirts, and on September 24, he assisted in the creation of a one-day art exhibit: Ancestors, Immigrants and Neighbors.
(Read more below)
The exhibit explored these three themes and how they are prominent in Wisconsin. Artists used different mediums to highlight the three groups of people, and show how they are important in Wisconsin history and valuable members of our society today.
Lucas approached the exhibit with handmade t-shirts and drawings. He studied ancestral dying methods and applied these steps into coloring his three shirts. Each shirt includes a word referencing a different moment, person or place in Wisconsin history.
An indigo shirt reads “GENEVA,” as in Lake Geneva. A purple shirt reads “HIAWATHA,” which references Chief Hiawatha, the founder of the Iroquois confederacy. Lastly, “RED ARROW” is displayed on a scarlet shirt. Red Arrow was the 32nd Division Army Battalion who fought in World War I and World War II. This shirt was dyed using bugs.
“It utilizes cochineal bugs, which can be found in products like mouthwash and Jell-O. They use that bug to create a deep scarlet hue.”
Lucas also created pastel drawings showing his own ancestry. The portraits are of both his grandmothers. A third drawing of hands reaching for each other through a barbwire fence describe a disconnection that is becoming increasingly common in our country.
While Ancestors, Immigrants and Neighbors was a one-time exhibit, Lucas is hoping to get the chance to create more art shows that further explore these themes in Wisconsin. Photos of Lucas’ work can be found below the audio interview.
Click below to listen (and watch) the interview with Lucas.