DOODLES ON CULTURE

Throughout this body of work, my thoughts have revolved around playing with façades. I have created elusive spaces with perspective, and literally hid faces by creating masks. In this work I am displaying many things at once, while also keeping many things hidden (my edits, see if you like)

THE HAND
Growing up in Los Angeles, my brother and I would help our dad fix cars, getting dirty and bruised at times in the process; taking out motors, unscrewing parts and reassembling them back together, like a big 3D- puzzle. This hands-on experience has stayed within my work ever since. My work displays my arm gestures and keeps the work from looking highly refined and clean. In retaining these individual marks I hope to express two things to the viewer; one being the playfulness and expressiveness of creating something--good or bad; and second, to focus on how the image is created from the sum of the individual marks and colors. This can be seen in the "Aztec mask" I made where small brush strokes are used to reference individual pieces of turquoise rocks, but closer inspection reveals the individual short brush strokes. This approach is a way to keep me engaged in the work, create challenges for myself and push my technical abilities and styles.

PERCEPTION/PERSPECTIVES AND STORIES
Hollywood is probably one of the first things people imagine when thinking about my hometown of Los Angeles. I'm not a big fan of the place, but it has somehow influenced my work. Cartoons, video games, films, and other forms of entertainment that come from Hollywood are important to the pop culture environment from which a lot of my inspiration is drawn. Recently some of the more influential materials have been literary and artistic works that revolve around the fabulous and the absurd; Cervantes' Don Quixote, Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Monty Python, and David Shrigley. The use of of fabulist ideas, absurd characters, settings and ideas are some themes that have increased in the work that I have been doing.
The story telling aspects I create are left open-ended, focusing more on blurring the line between fantasy and reality rather than creating a clear narrative. The imagined settings, objects and characters are meant to focus and entertain viewers, and construct an illusion of depth and space created on flat surfaces. Small jokes and small messages are hidden surprises for those who look closer.
In the Más Caras series, some of the masks are referencing particular stories, characters or cultures. The masks are meant to be humorous and absurd, in that they are not wearable, thus defeating the purpose of a mask. They also reference the way we see ourselves wearing different masks or personalities depending on our situation and setting.

TIEMPO
For a couple of years, I worked with imagery of death (skulls, Dia de los Muertos, roadkill), focusing on the decay of everything around us. This construction and reconstruction, and similarly life and death, is present within my recent work as well, but not as prominent. Part of it is from trying to deal with one's own mortality and the decomposition and recycling from one form to another. This cycle also brings to light the fragility of things, as well as humanity's desire to keep everything clean and new, wanting to make sense of everything before one dies.
Focusing on decay (and thus, time) and remnants (such as the small trash paintings), I begin to reference, as some people have said, anthropological approaches to the imagery I use. I don't entirely agree with their observations, though. For me, the work is a way to create allusions to different cultures, digging for similarities between them and trying to make sense of it all. The same can be said with music, which is a huge influence in my work. I can use music to either give me more ideas for other pieces, or trigger some inspirational thought.

TEMPO
Music is a big influence in my work, and there are specific musical artists that have impacted my creative process. Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and Bob Dylan I would say are the most inspiring, followed maybe by Beck and Motorhead. What I admire and take away from these artists' work is their energy and passion for what they create while listening to criticism people may give them, but not having that affect their work. Experimenting and varying their style, focusing more on their work than how well it sells; my admiration for these artists comes from their desire to create great music, and how they are able to reach and influence millions of people around the world at the same time. It is also good music to have playing while you work....and most of my work goes on with music blasting in the background.

MULTIPLICITY
Printmaking is something I really got drawn into right after I began studying it. The idea of having multiple originals of drawings was an interesting concept, and fun to do. As I kept on making prints I started thinking more about the multiple(s) and the minute differences within them. I took these differences to further extremes by using print and other forms of reproduction as the basis to create bodies of work where the works are similar in the beginning. By working them over with other mediums, though, the multiples become unique individual works (Más Caras series and the Piggies). As Tommy Chong says in Cheech and Chong's Next Movie, "It's like the same thing, only different. "

INSTALLATIONS
I see my installations as a connection to my sketchbook drawings; different ideas lingering and overlapping throughout the work taken from studies of people in social settings mixed with my own thoughts. In this sense, I see them as just a large drawing with some of the elements pushed into 3D space. This is the case with Noah's Taco Truck and Untitled (street drawing) display. I use aspects of museum displays and movie backdrops to set up an environment referencing an urban setting and street culture--Mexican-American culture in this case. I then add my personal views and experiences, blending them with popular culture and movie references. These large-scale drawings also celebrates through their visual aesthetics the humbleness of the handmade infused with humor and some irony.
In its urban context and particular imagery, the installation drawing connects back to my memories of being in the city while focusing on some of the aspects that are usually overlooked; the dirt and trash that is omitted in movies, photos, etc, smaller streets and neighborhoods away from the center of a city, and other small nuances that are forgotten and eclipsed.

PERFORMANCE
With this body of work, I realize that much of my process revolves around taking a bunch of information from my surroundings (such as interactions between people, the landscape and etc) and sketching whatever grabs my attention, while trying to create new narratives in my drawings. With the Mano y Mano installation, this process is a bit more visible and controlled. I will be doing four drawings a week in the museum, doing the two handed drawings to demonstrate the drawing process from beginning to end. In a way, this exercise will tie my in my interests of printmaking, drawing and playing together; and resulting images will allude perhaps to a Rorschach Test. Plus, it will hopefully inspire the people who see me to pick up a pencil and start doodling, but mainly be entertaining and spectacular.
And Now For Something Completely Different
The next step for me is to relax and begin reading again, watching some documentaries, movies and cartoons, and drawing stuff around me so I can have more material to play with in my work. This of course is only temporary, before I get back into creating the next body of work. I have been looking and applying for jobs, residencies and gallery shows, mainly in LA but been thinking of expanding my search area. I also would like to travel, taking sketchbooks with me and recording my trips through drawings. Things are just getting started.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Cheech and Chong's Next Movie. DVD. Tommy Chong. 1980; Burbank, CA; Universal Pictures; 2003