Everyone in this culture is familiar with the symbolism of angels. The artist
tradition of angels and what they look like is, naturally, Eurocentric. Even
modern paintings and other media almost always show angels as White. I decided
to paint "Jessy" and other people of color as angels as a device to challenge
and question the Eurocentrism that I and others like me must endure in our
American educations and the Media. Even those of us characterized as "The
Other" must have a cultural mirror to look in in order to heal the psyche
wounded by racism. A deliberate decision and effort, in my case.
This heart pulled straight from the body of a victim and being offered to
the Sun or a lover and its fiery background are an attempt to "stick a sharp
pin in the pink balloon of faint-hearted and weak sentimentality about love
and relationships." There is a trend in these post-modern times to see any
kind of passionate feelings as pathological. Especially if you don't express
the "right" feeling at the "proper" occasion and setting (such as a yucky
pop song sung at a wedding). This view that you must put out a false feeling
and pretend that you don't feel certain emotions, I think, denies our humanity.
The Cupid Indios continue to wound the still beating heart. And if you are
in love with someone who sees you as less than human, you are going to suffer
for a long time.
Traditional Calvera folk art usually depicts humorous situations. This painting
was inspired by my favorite Posada prints and depicts "collection notices
from beyond the grave." A personal mix of the modern and the traditional to
depict the stress of modern life and my feelings about death, as I felt about
it, at the time that I painted it.
It's a Boy
This self portrait shows a graphic depiction of a private moment. A miscarriage
or spontaneous abortion. The calm and reflective pose of the figure belies
the tragedy of what had taken place during the night. Even with the bloody
evidence of the end of a pregnancy in close examination, the realization of
what has happened will not sink in for a long while, to be blocked out by
youthful callousness and bravado, only to come up to haunt the conscious mind
of the mature adult over and over again.