1978 Born El Paso, TX
My work is about Identity. My paintings and photographs explore what it means to be Mexican in a political climate that is suspicious at best and hostile at worst toward Mexicans and all non-white inhabitants of the Americas.
My technique is influenced primarily by graffiti – a medium that the marginalized employ to create their own identity, make their mark on the world, and avoid the certainty of living and dying without recognition. I create abstractions of form to express my struggle with personal and cultural identity utilizing the same markers and paints that writers and crews use to tag, bomb, and burn their surroundings in the face of adversity.
I am inspired by the dual nature of graffiti: destructive yet beautiful. Born in the U.S. to Mexican parents and raised to assimilate to a definitively un-Mexican community, I have always experienced personal and cultural duality. I benefited from a system that rewarded the “other” based on their perceived “whiteness.” I have been told by society what it means to be Mexican: illegal, invasive, other. Yet I know we are more than what we are being told we are. I am more.
As an East Coaster living in the West with no connection to my western, Mexican heritage, I strive to define myself for my daughter’s sake as much as my own. How can I offer her a view into who she is without first understanding who I am?