I am Mexican American with heritage in the land of Texas, which has shaped my understanding of relationships, and daily life. Unforeseen to my upbringing, I have become a Prospect Jew; working to become a convert, I study and observe Judaism. My research covers a gambit of topics, mostly focusing on the input and output of Identity. In addition, I am researching Spanish Inquisition as it is a moment that links my inherited Chicano culture to the addition of my chosen Jewish culture. In the conversion process I see correlations between Mexican American and Jewish American experiences: the fallout of Spanish and Yiddish being used by American parents to speak about the kids without them knowing, colonization and expulsion, pride, (reclamation of) traditions, activism (or lack thereof), music, textiles and colors, immigration versus diaspora, assimilation (throughout history), religion, and the everchanging practices of culture.
I make bodies of work focused on storytelling, with my approach landing between elements of a plot and traditional album structure. Each artwork contributes to the larger project. Taking from Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, I turn to comedians and rappers for inspiration and to continue sampling by pull quotes from them. Culturally instilling value in performance, storytelling coming from comedians and rappers seamlessly participates in Non-Western Oral History. Within a body of work, I create a short story that incorporates selected history and life experiences, while taking the audience through a character arch. It is relatable through joy and depression, all the while using the symbols of a sycamore leaf to represent the passing of time. The seasons and treatment of the leaf illustrate the development of narrative.
My work has realistic depictions of people through sewn and embroidered thread, fabric collage, painting, and drawing. Compositions are lively with – imagery overlapping transparent and opaque layers, implied human movement, gestures of touch – all aiming to redefine back, mid, and foreground. By using people, handwritten notes, and personalized symbols, I am building Ethos, Pathos, Logos.
Artworks become complete when they create a soft sculptural painting/drawing. I expand the definition of painting with traditional quilting processes, 2D surface applications, 3D use of space, and materials. Occupying the space of installation, adds to this innate taste in Art that is not singularly defined. If you are to put the work into a box, then put it in as many boxes as possible. The in between space captivates me be it in between: Chicano and Jewish cultures, 2D and 3D works, resurgence of craft and traditional forms of art, comedy and serious tones, and private and public spheres. Art allows me to critically self-examine my behaviors and beliefs formed from culture and a lower social class. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is crucial to the thought process behind my art practice.
Raised with linguistic privilege, I use language as an access point for the audience. If we are politically aware, we need to meet people where they are, so I confront the audience with floating notes written in English, Spanish, and Hebrew. This is tangibly fighting linguistic hegemony. This intersectionality is important to both validate and put a spotlight on most often a class struggle (the global north versus the global south). Do not forget, “Hispanic” culture in America is very important to the formation of rap music and hip hop culture; what the Bronx was in the mid ‘70s is what created hip hop. Ideally, hip hop stands for being the voice of the voiceless.
The trajectory of my work will continue exploring identity through markers of skin, clothing, and language through lyrics. I am investing into the Theme of Identity by pairing concepts broadcasted by comedians, artists, and musicians with the imagery of historical events, physical family photos, and virtual documentation seen on social media outlets. I am mixing Western applications of rendering as well as the decentralizing Western thought, by recognizing nontraditional sources as academic thought. This action-value praxis questions what knowledge is, while visually educating the audience on cultural traditions.