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"Latina Seeks Thug" Turns Craigslist Personal Ads Into Hilarious Artistic Commentary (NSFW)

When was the last time you checked your local Craigslist personals? The slightly sad messages often written in broken English are somewhat artistic in themselves, but what happens when an artist sets out to turn the bottom-feeding outlet into meaningful exposition?

The result is gross and hysterical. Duh.

What started out as a joke for 27-year-old Marilyn Rondón is now a thoughtful, offensive, and definitely hilarious exhibition at the Little Haiti Country Club. She posted a Craigslist personal ad titled "Latina Seeks Thug," the rest of the message being "to make a baby with."

What possessed the tiny, tatted woman to do such a thing?

"I was in the car with a friend," the DASH graduate says. "I moved to New York for the past eight years, and then moved back down. It's totally different dating down here, meeting people. It's slim pickins.

"I was joking with her like 'I just want a thug,'" she continues. "I'm also working on a children's book, babysitting, and spending a lot of time with kids, and it turned into a conversation about how I really want to be a mother one day."

When she said the words "I just want a thug to have a baby with" out loud, a light bulb went off, and Rondón had a feeling the responses to such an ad would make a killer zine. She wrote up the ad, including her real information but as of yet no picture, went to sleep, and forgot about the whole thing.

She woke up to 40 emails and a handful of dick pics.

"I started dying," she says. "The things that people were saying before I even included a photo were just hilarious. The fact that a complete stranger will send a dick pic to a stranger is hilarious to me. I probably would do the same thing, though, if I had a dick."

Rondón is no prude. She's been known to send the occasional nude, but part of this collection is about exposing the difference between solicited and uninvited sexual advances, as well as shining a light on the unwelcome cat-calls women face in their everyday life.

"A lot of it, too, is reflective of things you possibly have said to someone or someone has said to you," she said. "You've heard it walking down the streets or someone's told you stories. It's very real, and it's shit that we all go through."

After that initial response, she added a photo of herself to the ad and continued collecting responses. She decided to test the limits and added another photo from her Instagram, one that showed off her butt in a bathing suit, but the post was soon flagged. After 17 hours, this signaled the end of the experiment.

"Game over," she says, "I had my fun."

Of the 101 responses, Rondón picked her favorite to blow up and print on 5 ft. X 3 ft. sheets. She then lined the walls of her space, an 8-foot-tall and 15-foot-wide former office, with the black and white emails. Repetition is a common theme in her work, something she attributes to her OCD, and certain lines or statements she found especially hilarious, intriguing, or just plain offensive are repeated in varying sizes and with different amounts of emphasis. The only thing not covered by repetitive, larger-than-life email correspondence are the windows.

"It's kind of like you're stepping into my inbox," Rondón says.

The viewer is bombarded with information. Some of the dick pics are included, as well as an image of a man's abs, his face replaced by a classic yellow smilie. The emails range in length anywhere from one-liners, such as "Sup Bitch show me tat pusse see if I likin tat shit?", to slightly more detailed proposals, including "Im in NC rite now and just caught a charge so I need to go missing for a lil while...why not Miami with u ma.. I will care for my new babymama ;-)." Some men wrote long letters, explaining their somewhat sad situations. Some of them she even kind of liked.

"It could also give you a sense of how old people are, too, the way that they respond or who they are, what kind of person they are just through these short little [notes], punctuation, sentences, slang, everything," she says. "The broken English, I love it, I think it's great. You're actually really trying to do this. You're really about this. Alright. How far would you go to get laid?"

Not all responses were taken so lightheartedly.

"This guy really pissed me off. I actually replied to him," she says pointing to one particularly angry commenter. The writer unkindly implied she must be mentally ill to look for a baby daddy on Craiglist.

"This also was a big reason why I made the show, what it is and why I decided 'yes I need to make this art,'" she said. "This guy is a fucking asshole and told me to get my brain checked. I understand that the ad is really ridiculous, but this is the way men talk to women, period. The whole piece is about how if you invite someone to be into your life, regardless of it being extremely absurd or whatever. Obviously this is a joke, but still, this is the way that these men approach women, and this is what we have to put up with. And it's even worse in real life, even if you're just walking down the street."

Since "Latina Seeking Thug" opened to the public a few weeks ago, most people's reactions have been something like "is this real?" Indeed, it's all 100 percent authentic, even if Rondón's intentions weren't so straightforward.

While at times funny, at others horrifying, and definitely off-the-wall, "Latina Seeks Thug" is absolutely an enlightening exhibit. It will be on display through Friday, Aug. 22, the night of which Rondón will host a closing party and sell 100 zine copies of the show. The display pages are actual-size of the collector zine which will include everything on the walls and more pages that didn't make the cut. The artist hopes buyers will have as much fun with the collection as she has.

"Whoever has them has them," she says. "It's super rare and it's a part of their life. I got to share my work with them, and that's it."

See "Latina Seeks Thug" on display through Friday, Aug. 22, at the Little Haiti Country Club, 8267 NE Second Ave., Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Check out more of Marilyn Rondón's work at totallystokedonyou.com.

Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.

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