1978 Born El Paso, TX
I am unknown, to you and to myself.
My work is about the search for identity. My paintings and photographs are a conversation in duality. I am exploring the manner in which our internal and projected selves are simultaneously coexistent and combatant.
Born in the US to Mexican parents, my brothers and I are first generation Americans. We were raised to assimilate to a definitively non-Mexican community in suburban New Jersey. We benefitted from our perceived whiteness - doors always seemed open to me, opportunities around every corner - but we lost our past, our history, our very cultural identity.
I was heavily influenced by graffiti in my youth. It was a culture I understood. As younger brothers tend to do, I looked up to my older brother - a prominent tagger in our area - and I imitated everything that he did. I scrawled my names - I could never settle on just one ¾ on any scrap piece of paper around the house and every surface I could find out in the streets.
The dual nature of graffiti inspires me still. Its beautiful colors and shapes conflict with its destructiveness, mirroring the dual nature of the writer: always seeking fame and attention while hiding behind a created persona.
Now I create abstractions of form and line that parallel my struggle with personal and cultural identity. I utilize the same tools and techniques that I used to tag and bomb my surroundings so many years ago.
I paint in order to leave a mark; I hope to explore and discover who I am and to reconcile all aspects of myself through my work.