Annie Lopez

The images I create, borrow, and manipulate are experiences, souvenirs, memories from my life. I may choose to honor a person or mock them as my reaction to a situation. I've been known to use my art to work through grief or work through a problem. I poke fun at those people who call artists of Mexican descent only for Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos exhibits.

I do not believe it is necessary to read an artist's race/culture in his or her work. My work reflects who I am: the product of my parents; a native resident of Phoenix, Arizona; the wife of a handsome and talented artist; the mother of a young son (also handsome and talented). Read into that what you choose.

My intention is to prove that I am unique. My experiences may or may not resemble yours. The prejudice I receive comes from both sides of the fence. The original reason I began my Hispanic series is because I was told my work was "too Chicano" and "not Chicano enough." This from Chicano arts organizations! The world is confusing enough without being told that you need to experience it a certain way just because you have brown skin.

Bad Thoughts
(Big Book of Bitter series)

I spent 17 years of my life with an organization that I cared about and wanted to succeed. I did a lot of work behind the scenes, letting others take the credit because I did not want the public responsibility of being the person in charge. My mistake. When new people came into the group and worked to change its image and mission, I was not happy, but still supported the organization. The group and its passion changed, and I was forced out. I felt like I had been through a nasty divorce. Not wanting to spend any time on the negative, I put my energy into creating this series. I used a photograph of a cousin of mine and added text to explain my feelings. I use many family photographs in my work, and the look on the face of the girl in the photo kept a lighter edge to the work than I was feeling at the time, but is appropriate for my current outlook.

1/4 Hispanic

My oldest niece has a son named Maximum. Max is the son of a half-Hispanic mother. That makes him 1/4 Hispanic. Max was born to eat beans and rice. I compared him to myself, who gets made fun of for my disinterest in Mexican food, even though I am 100% Hispanic. I try to make personal statements throughout my work, so the viewer gets a bit of an idea about who I am.