Veronica Melendez was the CHAW Darkroom Artist in Residence for Spring 2019. For three months this spring, she worked in the darkroom and digital photographic facilities at CHAW, dedicating time to a project about her grandmother’s 8 daughters who almost all migrated to D.C from Guatemala in the 80’s. It has been amazing to watch Veronica in action and to have her in CHAW. Learn more about her work and experience as an artist in residence with us!
Darkroom Artist in Residence 2019
Veronica, tell us a little bit about you! How did you come to be an artist?
I have always been interested in making art- even as a toddler I would use crayons to make large scale drawings on our apartment wall and then proudly exclaim that I was the person behind the supposed masterpiece. It wasn’t until the end of high school while photographing immigration rights rallies that I realized it was something I wanted to pursue in higher education. 12 years later, with 7 years of studying fine art in the books, I am still making art.
Why did you choose a residency at CHAW?
The residency at CHAW was brought to my attention via social media. What made it stand out to me was that it has a darkroom to offer. I thought I could somehow incorporate this in the project I was proposing. This residency was also my first and I thought since I live in D.C that it would be a safe bet for me to apply, as there would be no need for me to move or commute for a few months if I actually got it.
What’s next for you now that the residency is coming to a close?
The next step for me is to scan all the images I’ve made and print them out in a small scale. This will help me visually see where the project is, what is missing, and what I should photograph next. Printing out the images and playing with sequences on a studio wall will also help me decide what will go well together for the show in August.
CHAW presents an exhibit of the works of Veronica Melendez on view August 19th - September 9th, 2019. A reception and artist talk will be held on Saturday, August 31st, 2019 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at 545 7th Street, SE, Washington, DC, 20003. The reception and exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit www.chaw.org or call (202) 547-6839.
Veronica Melendez is an artist based out of Washington D.C. She received her MFA from the University of Hartford and BFA from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. From illustrations of iconic household products to photographs documenting the diaspora of Central Americans, her work is greatly influenced by her Latinx upbringing. Having been raised in D.C within one of the largest Central American communities in the United States her work gives a platform to a voice that is often marginalized and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of culture and representation in art. Veronica also co-runs La Horchata Zine - a seasonal magazine featuring artists with Central American ancestry.