Episode 10. Interview with Loriann Hernandez (Elle Seven)

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Loriann Hernandez, also known as Elle Seven, is a roller skater, curator, artist and educator.

"My goal is to affect the fields of art and skating in ways that will bring a positive transformation to the world.  I’m an unconventional curator and so far I have accomplished this locally, but the world is a big place, I can probably keep skating, painting, curating and teaching for the rest of my life and in my 80’s finally start seeing the affects of my commitment....but hopefully sooner!" -Loriann Hernandez 'Elle Seven'

Hernandez is currently living, working and skating in Mississippi, and is creating imagery of various 'skating saints' that will become a series and also be exhibited as a solo show. I am honored to share the story of this truly amazing human being and I am really looking forward to further introducing to the world this incredible woman, skater, activist and artist!

 

Here is the conversation with Loriann Hernandez 'Elle Seven':

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Music featured on this podcast by the following artists: Rufus Thomas, Jose Feliciano, Portugal. The Man, SACH, Mala Rodriguez, T.V. On The Radio, EDIT, and Warpaint (Eby Le Beatz Remix).

Elle Seven at Port Orchard Skatepark Opening. Photo by MRZ. Thrasher Magazine 2013

Elle Seven at Port Orchard Skatepark Opening. Photo by MRZ. Thrasher Magazine 2013

Whatever. Digital Mural. Elle Seven. 2006

Whatever. Digital Mural. Elle Seven. 2006

More about the Artist: 

American Woman Series. Ink and Acrylic on paper. Elle Seven. 2010

American Woman Series. Ink and Acrylic on paper. Elle Seven. 2010

Loriann Hernandez 'Elle Seven' grew up in Riverside, Ca where both of her parents are also from. Her mother and father grew up down the street from one another but didn’t know each other until High School because of integration. Ironically in school Hernandez still had some of those teachers that had been there since integration.  Hernandez reflects,

"I think this pushed me away from being interested in what was being taught in school and more towards the art education my family brought to me from inside of prison walls.  Some of the first things I drew were naked women and low riders and at age 11, and at that age I decided to take my art seriously.  When I took art classes, my teachers told me what I did was not real art.  Even at the college level, where I thought the teachers would have a progressive approach towards art, I was told my California prison tattoo line drawings would never be taken seriously."

Now, many years later Hernandez' “not real art”, has become a vital voice in the art movement known as, Low Brow. 

Hernandez' work is influenced by her family foremost. Her other biggest artistic influences are Patrick Nagel, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Alphonse Mucha, Religious art, Chinese and Japanese illustration, graffiti art, music, fashion, her subconscious connection to Indigenous pattern making and of course skating and her friends. 

In her work, Hernandez is currently using Sumi ink, watercolor and some gold, silver or metallic colors to transform skaters into saints.

"I’m a vertical quad roller skater and besides some coaching from veteran skaters, I’ve taught myself everything. I didn’t start skating parks seriously until I was in my mid 30’s.  Being a female on roller skates in a male dominated skateboarding world has been a challenge.  Occasionally a guy might find it funny to knock me down while I am skating but I try understand because it is their world I’m imposing on.  It is pretty dangerous to be knocked down on skates because you have your wheels attached to your feet so I work hard to earn their respect and after they see my skating abilities I’m usually left alone.  This situation makes me reflect back to my origins and at times really feels like another form of integration.  But I don’t think about it too much, if I did, I would probably be too intimated and never show up to the park.  90% of the time I am the only female skating at the park and 99% of the time I am the only roller skater.   Having the right to be a lady skater at male dominated skateparks may not seem as significant as racial issues or for females to have legal say over their bodies, but it is an underground way to fight against people’s misconceptions, stereotypes, even beliefs about themselves.  Lots of people my age watch their kids at the skatepark but none of them would dare even try to learn because they think they are too old, and then they find out that I am 39." 

Currently, Hernandez is working on an image of pro skateboarder Mike Carroll and more skating saints for a series and solo show.  The last painting Hernandez completed was for a friend who is the only other female vertical roller skater in the State of Mississippi.  

"We (roller skaters) are such a small family, world wide there are only about 700 in our 8 wheels ramp riding family.  No matter where you go, as long as there is another vert rollerskater, then you have family and that is the only reason I agreed to move to Mississippi from California after accepting a job." -Loriann Hernandez

Follow the work and skating of Elle Seven HERE!