Vásquez’s Animal Aktion offers a rambunctious, open-ended play space enlivened by the actions and interventions of NCM visitors. Anthropomorphic figures and animations inspired by Northwest Coast totem pole imagery along with a variety of animal-themed costumes, masks, and props encourage children to imitate their favorite animal. Visitors’ movements are captured on camera and projected alongside footage of actual animals. The instinctive, unstructured play that takes place among visitors in Animal Aktion reflects the importance of pretense and role play in children’s storytelling, as well as the prevalence of animals in such stories.
San Diego-based artist Perry Vásquez uses both traditional and non-traditional art forms in his practice, from painting and sculpture to video and installation. His work often explores the subject of the border between Mexico and the US, wherein he addresses issues of immigration with humor, promoting discussion on the subject rather than advocating a specific position. Vásquez earned his BA in Art and Political Science from Stanford University in 1982 and his MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 1991. Vásquez has served as Assistant Curator at the Centro Cultural de la Raza, has operated Ice Gallery in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, and is currently a Professor at Southwestern Community College in the School of Arts and Communications. He has exhibited widely in Southern California and throughout the U.S., including group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; the Orange County Museum of Art; Self Help Graphics in Los Angeles; and the Huntington Beach Art Center.
Q: If you could become any type of animal, what would you be?
A: I would be two animals: I would have the body and legs of a crane and the head of a praying mantis.
Q: Favorite food?
A: Fish tacos.
Q: What do you do regularly to help save the environment?
A: I recycle and meditate.
Q: Favorite smell?
A: The smell of a welding shop.
Q: Favorite sound?
Q: What was your first pet?
A: Tuffy, a Collie dog.
Q: What’s an unusual and interesting fact about you?
A: I snore in bed.
Q: Favorite game?
Q: What band or musician best represents you?
A: The Beatles, which I use often to teach art.
Q: Do you have a favorite animal joke?
A: Yes, the potato fell off the garbage can.
Q: Do you talk to animals?
A: Only if they talk to me first.