Making in Santa Fe with Katrina Mendoza
Katrina Mendoza is a digital storyteller and maker of many talents. She’s a super volunteer with MAKE Santa Fe who took some time to talk to us about her work there and with the Nation of Makers Conference happening now in Santa Fe.
This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with emerging media trailblazers. Stay tuned for more by following Emerging Media Alliance on Facebook.
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I’m a community-builder, filmmaker, activist and digital marketer passionate about helping community groups, leaders and artists who make a positive impact to tell their stories and amplify them in digital space.
A lot of the work I do is very specific to the particular person or group, based on what it is that they’re trying to achieve. Telling their stories is what I’m most passionate about. I love playing with multimedia, so if I’m making something it’s probably to help with my music or my filmmaking or even just for fun.
Tell us about MAKE Santa Fe and the makerspace and what you do there?
MAKE Santa Fe is one of the reasons I moved to Santa Fe. I remember visiting and feeling so empowered by the possibilities of what I could learn to do. When I moved to Santa Fe in August of 2016, I got really involved. I contracted with MAKE Santa Fe on digital media, social media and marketing, then quickly became a volunteer for their membership, and then I became a super volunteer helping with all of their different community initiatives.
MAKE Santa Fe does so well with community cooperation, and they also have an incredible group of people in their membership base that are artists and business owners and amazing individuals. Being a part of MAKE Santa Fe really means feeling more connected to myself and my community.
Right now we’re working on the Nation of Makers Conference in Santa Fe. A lot of the work we’re doing is around intentional inclusivity. My wife and I are working on making sure that we have diverse representation both on the speaking side and on the offensive side as well. I’m getting all of the parts for that Rosie the Riveter statue going, so that we have an amazing time.
A Rosie the Riveter statue?
Yes! We The Builders is a really cool group, and they created a 6 foot tall 3D model of Rosie the Riveter that is going to be put together using over 2,600 3D printed parts from all over. You can go to their site and download a file, and you have 24 hours to print it. Then you can do a video talking about what that process was to you. All of those parts are being sent to MAKE Santa Fe. I’m helping collect them all so we’re able to assemble it as a crowdsourced 3D printed piece at the conference.
Can you talk a little bit more about the Nation of Makers Conference?
They chose Santa Fe for their first inaugural Nation of Makers Conference. We’re honored to be hosting them this year. We were among many different cities like Portland, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver and Austin who applied to host it. I think a lot of the reason they chose us is because they appreciate Santa Fe’s collaborative culture and all of the partnerships we were able to show them.
I really appreciate how dedicated we are to making sure that community is accessible. A lot of groups are very dedicated to this. The Nation of Makers community is working to make sure that everyone can access to conference. I hope that other groups follow that lead.
We’re going to have about 10,000 people attending, and the train from Albuquerque is going to come up and drop people off at the InterPlanetary Festival too. It’s a perfect weekend, and the perfect type of demonstration of what’s going on in Santa Fe.
What do you think about this moment in Santa Fe and all the emerging media stuff that’s going on?
The moment feels like a blank canvas. The moment feels like you can come here as an individual or as a group, and create whatever it is that you want to create. You have the space, and you have the resources. There’s a community of people who are really passionate about what’s here.
I don’t think I’ve ever met so many people who do so many things. You’ll meet someone who is a website developer, but they also build motorcycles and like to paint. Everyone has their own creative craft, and they also have a lot of passion for the work that they’re doing. I think that’s partly out of necessity, but mostly out of passion for community. There’s a lot of collaboration that naturally happens with partnerships. Whenever I put on an event, I feel like I’m working with three to five different organizations who are all invested in making it happen.
When we work on videos, we hear the stories of what working organizations are doing, and they’re truly mind blowing. The Birdie Foundation is one group that we just did a video for, and they have a five-tiered program for the youth to work through and get real-world experience, and they’re all interconnected. So the greenhouse that receives compost from the wildland fire program also helps grow food for the culinary program, and then the culinary program delivers to all of the students in five different districts in Santa Fe. I think they deliver 1500 meals a week, or something ridiculous like that.
When we hear these stories, we want to make sure that everyone knows about them.
Can you talk about your work a little bit more, particularly in the realm of digital media, and what draws you to it? Why you do it?
I’m a storyteller. I love to tell stories, and I studied communication my whole life. I have a ton of different angles on it. For me, video is one way to communicate to someone who isn’t face-to-face. What’s great about video is that you can transcend time and space. You can do things that you can’t do in person in a physical way. With the ability to bring things into slow motion or add different kinds of color and add the music, suddenly the story becomes a full sensory experience.
The process of creating the video itself—that collaborative process and the reflective process—makes it a very fulfilling type of work to do. It’s hard for me to call it work, because it really is a passion. I don’t think I’ve ever met so many passionate young filmmakers in a place before, but it was very easy to find that community here in Santa Fe.
New Mexico is such a huge player in the film industry at large. Really it’s a catalyst for for groups to take a project and run with it. One of the passion projects I’m doing right now is for a friend of mine, Leah. Her friend, Eric, is a music producer, and they provided me with sound effects and music and all the video footage. We cut the trailer so that we can look for funding to create a feature length film out of it, and that’s the kind of thing that just happens one afternoon really naturally, and the next day it will become a reality.
It’s about creating things. The pathway to making things happen are accelerated here. I don’t know how to explain it. A lot of people who live in Santa Fe, will talk about it as a vortex of creation, because you’ll have an idea one day, and the next day you’ll go out and meet exactly the person you need to make it happen. It’s almost like a magnet system.
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