Artist in Residence Victoria Hurtado-Angulo
Artist in Residence program producer Kati Szeker sat down with artist Victoria Hurtado-Angulo to discuss her poetry, inspiration, writing process, and libraries. Read below or watch the video to learn more about Victoria. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Kati: Could you please introduce yourself?
Victoria: I am Victoria Hurtado-Angulo and I am a poet that lives in Long Beach, California. I usually like to stick to my roots and I've stuck to the artistic Long Beach style within my poetry and it's highly influential in my art.
So I do both poetry and visual arts, so anything ranging from theater arts to drama to short story writing. My pronouns are she/her and I plan to write artistically and introspectively for the rest of my life through poetry.
Kati: What experiences helped you become the artist you are today?
Victoria: I come from a place where my parents weren't always around and my mother had her own issues and she wasn't really there for me. So I needed some type of outlet to express myself.
I found myself doing diary entries, and within the diary entries it wasn't just full sentences being done, but it was more like fragments and then it started to look like poems. I never knew what they were, which is kind of weird, like everyone knows what poetry is at a young age. But for me, it didn't look like poetry until I got used to the idea of - Well I guess I'm writing this way so might as well continue. And that's when I started writing in an artistic manner because that's how I perceive the world
Kati: Can you describe your style?
Victoria: If I had to describe my work it would be put this way - I am your 80-year-old tour guide, oblivious, yet composed, showing you things of death, sex, and oddities living in the world I create. It's entertaining, it's unpredictable, and couldn't be done in a more eccentric manner. That's how I would describe it
Kati: What is your creative process?
Victoria: Once I experience something that's memorable or remarkable I naturally think of a line. It's so rich within its language already. It's like a button that clicks in my head. I just have to get started on it.
So I then have to rush to find a piece of paper and a pen and then just write the first lines that come to me. And once that richness comes through in what I call in the poetry community gusto, or that forceful passion that comes out, I usually have to do this in one sitting. Once I get that line then I can't stop until I feel fulfilled, when it's finished. So it usually just starts with an actual moment and that's why I think the poet is the natural observer of life.
"So it usually just starts with an actual moment and that's why I think the poet is the natural observer of life."
Kati: Do you have a favorite library?
Victoria: I kind of read too much into this question when you first asked, but my favorite place inside the library is the kid’s section. For me, there's something nostalgic and comforting to be in that space because of all the things that they do provide like toys, children's books and computers and even all the colors that they have. It just inspires me so much. It's something that I crave, just to be in that type of space and not have to worry about anything at the moment.
Kati: What did you think when I asked you to join this residency with the theme of libraries and politics and art?
Victoria: When you asked me to be part of this project I just wanted to learn more. I'm always intrigued if I don't understand something. Especially something as important as a library. Then I think I should find a way to contribute somehow, so that's the first part of my answer.
The other is the actual politics of it and what I have seen in Long Beach. Even though I love the downtown location, I've seen things I consider unfair or I can just tell there's just not enough funding in the library. It should be funded because of all the resources and the communication and temporary shelters for any visitors. They provide the restroom, they provide art, so any leisure stuff too that they would provide for anyone for free. I think that's really important too.
Kati: I always felt like art brings people together...as a community. Your poetry expressing advocacy and movement is a fantastic way of combining your talent and letting the world know what’s going on. I think it’s a beautiful, non-violent way.
Victoria: James Baldwin, he felt a certain guilt for being a writer because he wasn't on the front lines as MLK was or any of the other activists were, but he still considered himself an activist of at least capturing these moments through his words and he's still commemorated.
So we can know that even if it's a secondary or indirect way of being political or being active you're still making a change and I think that was really important for me to learn. I can be politically active even through what I'm passionate about which is writing
"So we can know that even if it's a secondary or indirect way of being political or being active you're still making a change and I think that was really important for me to learn."
Kati: What made you want to work with EveryLibrary?
Victoria: I'm honored to be the face of poetry in this project. Aside from that, the fact that I'm going to be alongside other great, successful artists such as Corinne and Ray and they have much more experience than me. So I'm trying to just learn from everyone at this point and I knew once I read that the description like - We're gonna have visual art, she does collage work and then Ray, and he's a musician and a professor. I'm like - Wow, I can't say no to this!