Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I am a Los Angeles native and currently relocated back to Los Angeles for about 2 and half years. I received my MFA at Lesley University in 2014. I am primarily a painter but always love to experiment with a wide range of things.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
It first hit me in fourth grade, then came back while in high school. In high school I spent hours making art and got really into painting. I would choose making art then going out with my friends, I think that’s when I knew how important and special it was to me.
What do you like most about working where you do?
I’ve been enjoying the creative buzz and energy that gets bounced around in a city, after I’ve been living in a rural area for awhile. I am enjoying the industrial feel to my building, my the window to the city’s skyscrapers have been pretty nice, all the sunsets I get to see while in the studio, its close to home and easily accessible to pretty much anything I need.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
This last year I have been influenced by nature, the symbolic images of Mesoamerica mythology, and the compositions of post-impressionist paintings, I link elements embedded within nature and myth with signifiers of my contemporary urban surroundings. A kind of incident results through a myriad of visual cues that interact with subconscious semi-trance character marks that I create. While not depicting actual figures I examine the ambiguous traces and movements constructed in the paintings to seek and explore cultural identity. I am interested in merging the personal, textile patterns, symbolic structures, and iconography from pop culture to bring to mind the various meanings and associations that cling to particular methodologies, and reshuffle the interpretations of cultural signs. The stylized manner of gestural brush marks and colorful abstraction without spatial depth give a sense of being pulled in and out of the paintings, perhaps to show a space where fixed identities do not exist. In a world where bodies of water could be tripped over and traffic cones no longer divert, these works are the reflection of lived experience.
What is your process like?
Years prior I would research a lot before I started a project, have an idea planned out of my statement and what the work was going to look like. I would also Photoshop what the paintings were going to look like prior to painting, it was a step in myself mediating the final concept of the piece. I feel like I have been stepping away from this process these last couple of years. I have a collection of lists and images, my own private lexicon, and from there I have been doing a lot of sketches and drawings of potential paintings. Then I intuitively paint from there and then write a statement when I am done.
What is your favorite material to work with, and why?
I love paint, its been my primary medium as an artist. I feel so comfortable with it all these years but I still know I need to push myself in experimenting with all the different tricks it can do. The paint Itself can be very fleeting and ephemeral. Painting always calls me back after I have been using different mediums.
What is the last thing you read?
Decolonizing Decolonization in Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis 2014
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
Being in Los Angeles I’ve been paying attention to associations with representation of Latinx identity, such as pop culture, domestic, labor objects, historical monuments and mythology.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I teach art part time to adults and youth, it helps balance my studio time, designating certain days to studio practice and helps by not procrastinating in the studio.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
Some advice I got from a visiting artist at a residency is that I shouldn’t be making work if it is feeling to overly conceptualized for me personally or what would be expected from me in art school. To just make the work that feels true to myself and everything else should come after that.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
I’m learning that this is not a race to success. The practice of the work really should be what is important, the marathon and progression of the work is what really matters, try to spend time making good work before worrying if you are successful or not.
What do you do when you’re find yourself in a creative rut, or feeling unsure about what direction to go?
I watch other artists and there progression of work. I stop and pause on my practice and try and see the entire picture, of work I was making last year to three years, see what ideas I left behind and see what I have integrated to my current practice. If feeling unsure I really have to listen to my intuition of what I really want my work to be doing, focus of that and leave the rest at the door.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
It feels necessary to have community to have emotional support, not feeling isolated in my own thoughts and realize other artists feel and experience the exact same things that I do.
What is your studio like?
Bright, inviting, feels rejuvenating for others. If it starts getting too messy I clean to help not let the space feel stagnate.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
It was an overall significant experience receiving my MFA. It was daunting and a kick in the butt. I took away great advice from professors and meeting all my fellow students. I just left everything that didn’t work for me behind.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
It can be challenging to talk socially with others who are not in the field. If someone asks you “What do you do,” responding that you are an artist can be daunting in itself. It can also be financially fluctuating, I feel like I always have to have a back up plan to my art, several careers that can help with bills.
How would you define “success” in art?
Success to me right now is having an image or depiction in my mind of what I want my work to look like and then finally arriving there, even after years of failures of trying to make it look like what I had in mind, and then sometimes having good surprises pop up in the work.
What are you working on right now?
Finishing up an installation piece for my solo show and a mural project.