I was born in South San Francisco, California, and graduated from California College of the Arts in 2014 with a BA in painting and drawing with honors. I live and have a studio space in Richmond CA. Around creating art I work as a preparator (art handler) at SFMOMA’s Collection Center. On my daily commute, I gather inspiration for my content from observing the people I encounter and their pursuit.
I began drawing and painting in middle school as a way to express frustrations of being bullied. My “scribbles,” as I call them, did not make sense for a very long time. Once I graduated from high school, I began to attend college on and off, and in the span of ten years; I earned his BFA from California College of the Arts in Painting and Drawing. It was in art school that he learned how to make sense of my “scribbles”.In the beginning, I painted cityscapes; a professor told me during a critique that my work was too Mexican. Unsure how that professor came to that conclusion, I decided I had two options: either to continue to paint what she called too Mexican or to expand on what my style had become and build on it to create paintings that could be interpreted as universal.I am most inspired by Mexican Muralists who’ve made art to show powerful stories of work along with politics, and Impressionists that used color and movement, creating emotion to suck in the viewer.
I recently participated in“On their Backs” at Fellows of Contemporary Art July 2019 in LA, Mexi-arte’s YLA-23 “Beyond Walls Between Gates Under BridgesBeyond”, in Austin Texas. I’ve also shown in MACLA’s 6th Chicana/o Bicentennial. In 2018 I completed the series “Contrapposto” that was shown in Sanchez Contemporary in Oakland CA, and In 2017 I exhibited the series “Pursuit” (truck series) at El Comalito Collective.
Tell us about the work(s) you have in this exhibition.
oil on multilayered canvas & metal bars
Received an Honorable Mention in the Exhibition
The series I am currently working on, The American Dream: Putting Down Roots, explores how a home is more than just a place to store your things. A home is a place of security, a place that provides a sense of belonging and a place to grow. The art pieces in this series capture remanence of action – homes are intentionally depicted to reflect a lived-in feeling; from dirty dishes to gardening tools scattered across the yard. My intention is to inspire and remind the viewer of the basic human need of being able to establish and have their own “home” and the unfortunate reality/struggle to obtain such.
The American Dream series is inspired by my parents and their ambitious American Dream of owning land and establishing a home along with my experience as a privileged first-generation American and recent homeowner. Homeownership for me was not the American Dream my parents envisioned. The importance of having a home depended on the accessibility given our current economic climate in the Bay Area and ultimately the aspiration to create a space to go to after my 9 to 5 grind to achieve my own dreams of creating art.
Themes explored include Homeownership: the American Dream then vs. now, the concept of and process of “putting down roots”. The metaphoric expression – “putting down roots” for us (my wife and I) has meant repairing broken fences, pulling weeds to plant new plants, decorating our home with art, building creative spaces for us to work, and the like to establish our “home”.
55” x 34”
oil on canvas
The people represented in these paintings are hard workers, people who hold this country together, some of them do jobs others wouldn’t do; they represent my family, your family, our ancestors, and the foundation of this country. To be American is to seek and seize the opportunity. my ultimate goal is to invoke the viewer to find both a universal and personal connection to the artwork, for the viewer to recognize their own privileges and how their ancestors (ultimately who were immigrants to this country) contributed to the history of America.
What draws you to your chosen medium, what do you love about it?
In my works, I seek to showcase …objects in their form, color, and relation to space. I use hues of different colors in the highlights and shadows of the objects, which introduces an expressive, emotive aspect in my work. I use texture and brushwork to move the eye within the work. I explore different mediums to explore my content including Oils, linocut printing, watercolor, and mosaics.
I prefer to use oils because they seem to slow me down. I work fast and oils dry slow, It helps me think and step back.
What inspires you to make art?
The intention of the artwork that I am currently creating illustrates who we are as individuals, as a society, and as a nation. I use art to express my individuality, my identity – but also to connect with others who might relate to the shared experience, culture, and identity expressed in my artwork. The artwork and the process of creating allows me to take a look inside my core, reflect, and see how and where I fit within contemporary art and culture.
My body of work is a documentation of moments and sacrifices my parents have had to endure to afford myself and my siblings’ resources and opportunities to have the life we have. I am reminded every day of the hardships my parents went through that eventually afforded me the ability to actively pursue and accomplish my own dreams. I create with a weight of guilt that comes from knowing I will never have to endure the struggle or make the type of sacrifices they did. This guilt pushes me to work on my art just as hard as they did to give me a better life.
I’ve always had problems communicating with my parents. It is not that we speak different languages, it is a difference in communication style. Instinctively I have always drawn my emotions; my parents showed me, love, by their actions – we did not have open, candid conversations. Art is an action and art is a medium to communicate without words. I am using my creativity to further understand my parents’ actions and also to understand myself because I know that I am a reflection of them.
My layers of paint, color, and movements, are an imitation of their movements and energy. I use earth tones in my artwork, but there is always a brightness to my main subject serving as a way to enlighten what may often be ignored. My content consists of labor, the tools used to work, nature that is nourished, and ultimately the struggle of migrants and the first few generations of Americans (children of migrants) also known as America’s backbone and most recently coined as “Essential workers”. I believe that our work and tools are a reflection of our identities. My artwork is never smoothly painted and I want my viewer to want to touch the art. I am not making artwork that is just aesthetically pleasing, I’m creating art that impacts how we see those around us.