Finding Aid for the Linda Vallejo Portfolio 
In the late 1970s and early 1980s she studied Maya and Azteca dance with Las Flores de Aztlan Troupe. During these formative years, Las Flores de Aztlan presented teachings and workshops throughout the State of California at cultural centers, universities, and in traditional Native American and Chicano ceremonies that included Fiesta de Maiz and Dia de Los Muertos in Los Angeles, Fiesta de Colores in Sacramento, and Chicano Park Day in San Diego. Over the past twenty years, she has participated in and supported traditional Native American ceremony in South Dakota, California and Arizona. She served as a community volunteer for the Native American Religious Society, California Rehabilitation Center, Norco, for fifteen years between 1986-2001. For the past twelve years she has hosted the All Nations Women's Tea Circle, providing a social celebration focusing on indigenous values and traditions for women to become familiar with and participate in traditional ceremony and culture. The All Nations Women's Circle has created and donated giveaway baskets for the Annual Many Winters Elder's Gathering in San Pedro for the past ten years, and hosted a dinner celebration for the Annual Ancestor's Walk, feeding over 200 dancers, supporters and their families for the past eight years. Linda has also supported the Southern Door men and women's monthly Inipi circle, and has been dedicated to this circle for eight years.
"Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye, it also includes the inner pictures of the soul." Edward Munch
My first memory of painting was at four years of age and it has continued as my life's dedication. My goal as an artist has been to consolidate multiple, international influences gained from a life of study and travel throughout Europe, the United States and Mexico. My creative influences are many and varied. They include the surreal, violent, and spiritual images of Picasso, Goya, and Dali, Turner's mysterious and glorious skies and cloud formations, Rothko's distant horizons and soft edges, the monumental forms and brilliant coloration of the Mexican muralists Rivera and Siqueros, and the sensual power of Georgia O'Keefe's landscapes. I have also been deeply influenced by international contemporary artists such as Kaoru Arima's (Japan) haunting manipulated newspaper collages, Ana Mendieta's (USA) uncanny use of nature and natural materials combined with photography, Lee Bontecou's (USA) nature-inspired, mixed media "crystalline" sculptural forms, Harum Farocki's (Czechoslovakia) monumental digital photographs and videos, Isa Genzken's (Germany) complex digitally-based mixed media sculpture, and Mangelos' (Croatia) postproduction digital paintings and sculptures. Finally, I have always had a keen interest in ancient architectural sites, history, and mythology. I have visited several sites in both Europe and Mexico, studied ancient philosophy and symbolism, and participated for the past twenty years in indigenous ceremonial rights. All of these influences have been brought together to create two environments entitled:
A Prayer for the Earth and HOPE, In the Midst of War, Death and Destruction.
During the first twenty years of my career, my painting and sculpture investigated humanity's fundamental and metamorphic relationship with nature through the completion of over 200 "fantastic realism" landscape oil and acrylic on canvas paintings and 50 earth-based sculptures made of found tree fragment and handmade paper. As I continued to explore images to articulate the significance of our relationship to the natural world, I began looking for ways to incorporate these paintings and sculptures into a three-dimensional presentation. After much investigation and experimentation, I produced A Prayer for the Earth and HOPE, In the Midst of War, Death and Destruction.
A Prayer for the Earth was originally presented at The Carnegie Art Museum in California. This first environment combined paintings representing the beauty of nature; earth-based mixed-media sculpture focusing on a symbiotic relationship to nature; a central "mandala" of manipulated photographs with images of pollution juxtaposed with images of international indigenous cultures in the act of ceremony and prayer; all surrounded by a mixed media assemblage depicting earth, water, fire and air. A Prayer for the Earth has been successfully installed at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum, and the Orange County Center of Contemporary Art in 2006 and 2007.
HOPE, In the Midst of War, Death and Destruction, an installation originally produced in 2003 in response to 9/11, is a political and spiritual statement focusing on the reconciliation of opposites: the spirituality and tranquility of nature juxtaposed to the carnage and violence of war. This original installation combined paintings inspired by Goya's Desastres and a central "mandala" of manipulated photographs containing images of war dead (Civil War, WW I and II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Iraq, Auschwitz and Hiroshima) surrounded by an assemblage of natural forms and symbols representing HOPE.
After continued research and development, both A Prayer for the Earth and HOPE, In the Midst of War, Death and Destruction have become environments with accompanying mixed- and multi-media sculpture and collage components. This newest series of digitally based works have been designed to reveal the complexity and obscurity of postmodern life and experience, and to serve as "juxtaposing" elements within the environments. Censored, GTMK?, The Ferris Wheel, Postmodern Trash, and Earth's Altar utilize pre-produced wood and plastics, newspaper pages, and recycled products in combination with mixed media and manipulated digital images taken from the Internet and my own paintings. The environment is installed in one or two rooms, with paintings and collages placed on walls, sculpture placed on walls and pedestals as appropriate, and the central "mandala" composed in the center of the floor space. Walls and floor may be painted in brilliant colors to unify the multiple aspects of the environment.
A Prayer for the Earth and HOPE, In the Midst of War, Death and Destruction present interlocking, juxtaposing painting, sculptural and collage elements that surround the viewer, pressing them to search for the question: "What is the value of nature in calming and resolving the confusion and losses created by the far-reaching postmodern problems of raging pollution and war?" The environment draws the viewer into a space where their attention is divided between images that portray the loss of natural resources and human life juxtaposed with images of the beauty and solace of nature and the natural world. My goal is to create a space that communicates the idea that without nature humanity, history and culture as we know it are lost, that nature is the thread that encircles and describes all of us, regardless of gender, race, age, or creed, and finally, that nature is beyond politics, religion, market, and even art!
What critics and curators say about the work:
William Moreno, Executive Director, Claremont Museum of Art, California, states, "What makes Linda Vallejo's art so compelling and relevant to contemporary life? For one, her broad command of a variety of mediums: painting, sculpture and site-specific installations are all within her prolific oeuvre. There is nearly something for everyone. Ms. Vallejo's interests and subject-matter spans are considerable. Themes of beauty, consumption, war, excess, world pollution, iconic references to international indigenous peoples and earth-based installations all reside in her works. Ms. Vallejo has a natural affinity and bond with the natural world and that connection is reflected in her ethereal works. Her paintings of surreal, electrified and transformed landscapes suggest a more vibrant and alluring reality. Color and energy swirl throughout the canvasses and transport you into her alternative world. Her work is not held hostage by fashion or trend – rather she is a singular voice with apparitions all her own. Such visualizations and the tactile nature of the work resonate in a contemporary and abstracted world – we crave the "here, now and hope" of a less complicated life. No commitments are implied in her work, but rather veiled assurances and alternatives. Such well-composed and thoughtful gestures seem hard to come by in our image and information-saturated lives. Ms. Vallejo's posture is one of deep concern and commitment. One can't ask for more than that."
Dr. Betty Ann Brown, Art Historian and Critic, states "Linda Vallejo who participates Native American ceremonials, is keenly aware of the sanctity of the oaks. "Electric Oaks" combines beauty with expressionist intensity. Looming above a sacred circle, these paintings unite imagery with spiritual action. The saturated colors and sense of dynamically charged landscape evoke the work of Vincent Van Gogh, who once wrote, "Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more." Vallejo would agree.
A Prayer for the Earth
HOPE, In the Midst of War, Death, and Destruction
Nature and Spirit
Linda Vallejo 1980-2004
Scope and Content Note
A Prayer for the Earth
HOPE, In the Midst of War, Death, and Destruction
Nature and SpiritLos Cielos