Arriaga’s thesis project titled,
"Designing in Color: Graphic Design Through a Xicana Lens" looked at
contemporary Xicana graphic design and how it can be used to build community.
This work reflected her culture, community, and personal experiences.
The designs are mostly colorful vector illustrations that are based off photographs she
captured or personal drawings. Through out her thesis journey, she
would host pop ups at community events or marches and hand out stickers or posters
of her work through out California. For the final thesis installation, she
looked to capture this community experience and bring it into the museum.
Thesis Committee: Thomas Maiorana M.F.A.(Chair), Glenda Drew M.A., and Brett Snyder M.
Arriaga’s final thesis installation was presented at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. The installation included a sticker cart that was used to hand out free stickers to guests. The cart was built with the assistance of two design interns named Phillip Diaz and Cliff Yang. Arriaga also embraced rasquachismo in her installation by building four 6’x4’ panels that were covered in her posters that just used copy paper and wheat paste. This installation was featured in The Sacramento Bee, Enterprise, and UC Davis's College of Letters and Science News.
The process to build the cart began with prototyping, using cardboard and tape. Arriaga was inspired by a palatero cart because of her personal experiences shes had with street vendors and it was a form that could bring familiarity to the community. After the prototype, the measurements were taken to create a blue print for the cart. Arriaga and her two interns spent 5 weeks building the cart out of plywood and testing it to make sure it was able to move smoothly between tight spaces and textured surfaces. After that, Arriaga painted the cart and covered it with stickers and doodles. The cart is small enough to quickly and easily move around a space but bright enough to stand out.
Arriaga then created four panels that were 6'x4' that would flush together to create one image. The panels were covered in Arriaga's posters and organized in columns, Similar to what one might see in the streets. Next, Arriaga cut out portraits from her "Shades of Brown" series which stood about 5'. To create this large image, Arriaga used copy paper and wheat paste.
Arriaga showed her installation at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art for the Art & Humanities Graduate Exhibition along with design, art studio, music, creative writing, English, art history, theatre and cultural studies graduate students. This exhibition was open May 29 to June 16, 2019.