think of myself as olague, The Kings Painter, a character
that already merits immortality in the public archives of American history.
I create collages and works of art from found objects. My work physically
identifies who I am. I utilize the physical discards of my lower class Mexican-American
community to create aggressive, street-wise works. In a world where technology
has given us the ability to manipulate digital imagery and information into
one media; to collage the worlds history upon my lap with my Mac PowerBook
I feel an artist is compelled to produce one-of-a-kind creations. It becomes
the artists responsibility to protect humanitys spiritual essence
through the ritualistic manifestation of an object tied to a specific time
and space. My work identifies where I reign from, my Chicanismo, my faith,
and my concerns for my own spiritual wealth. I collage the personal physical
affects or materials momentous from my life unto my paintings. I make an effort
to empower them with the spiritual essence that exists around me as I make
my journey through this temporal, material world.
I insist that there is a relationship between Picassos collage and the
Internet. I love the philosophy of art, and have followed the ideas of Martin
Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, and Jean Baudrillard. I have been discussing the
aura of the one-of-a-kind vs. the aura of the mass-produced for years. We
are living in a world that is saturated by simulacra (the simulated without
reference to an original). We are controlled by mega-powers beyond
our ability or desire to recognize them. We think we have choices, but we
really dont, our freedom is contained within the complex of corporations.
We are consumers.
In the ritual of my creations, my physical and spiritual essence is embalmed
with the paint applied to the object I create. I draw comparison to Jackson
Pollack, and that small group of American Abstract painters who felt such
deep conviction for their spiritual relationship to artmaking. In my paintings,
I worry that like a drunkard on Friday night who spends his paycheck foolishly,
I too and the worlds population will squander away its spiritual paycheck
and show up flat broke and hung-over on Sunday. My work is about the infinitly
subtle ways that humanity is falling, and my desire to capture it all on videotape,
and create a really cool work of art.
(and other cigarette paintings)
Ive been utilizing the symbolism and metaphor of cigarettes in my artwork
for over fifteen years. I use smokes principally as a metaphor for sin: a
behavior that can eventually kill you. Physicality and spirituality, it appears,
are cohorts to many shenanigans. To create art where cigarettes are paired
with Pop and cool is nothing new. Cigarette advertisements have been some
of the most innovative, attractive and coolest in American history. In choosing
cigarettes as a subject matter, I am making use of the beautiful form and
geometric lines that boxes and cylinders present. I am also demonstrating
my ability to pain t and the different styles I have mastered.
The American cigarette is part of a complex social tapestry interwoven into
our lives. In the subject matter of cigarette smoking ads, for example, women
were liberated socially and politically by smoking. One could create a lengthy
series of paintings on the many different Surgeon General warnings. Or on
the Congressional investigations on nicotine and tobacco, with the thousands
of backroom deals, and the piranah-like behavior of these institutions suing
and devouring the tobacco industry. Or I could simply deal with the personal
aspect of smoking and how very difficult it is to stop.
I was a smoker for over three years. I smoke Camels. I quit by
exclusively smoking Faros, a very popular brand of Mexican cigarette
where the sweet-tasting rice paper wrapping the tobacco hides the hideous
taste of the unfiltered drag. Faro means light and
the package depicts a lighthouse perched on a solid rock. Remember the American
cigarette brand True? As if we were going to find honesty and
integrity in an activity so clearly detrimental to our health.
Smoking is a very attractive activity. I wish I could still be smoking today.
But like so many other things that are detrimental to my physical and spiritual
health I have reluctantly elected not to.
This work was constructed out of found objects acquired from El Pasos
south central area. Chronic Ethnicity is what the characters depicted
here are suffering from: A severe, chronic, ethnicity. The ideally proportioned
female is often worshiped for her physical attractiveness. The physicality
of physical form represents the material nature of our society, this countrys
driving life force. The material is attached to the commercial; the commercial
to the political, the political to the life and death of cultures and countries.
Our physical and visual tendencies have totally dominated our standard for
measuring existence, replacing the spiritual values founded from the Word
of God. The Somalian crawling on hands and knees is starving to death, literally,
physically dying right before our eyes. Imagine stopping at some busy intersection
with a long traffic light. Imagine seeing this man crawling on the curbside.
Would you not help? Well, we do see him right outside our technological window,
and we do just drive on by. The manipulative power of the visual and the physical
is here utilized to jar the viewer into transcending two unique and before
incompatible genres, to compel the viewer into an uncomfortable realization.
It is difficult to imagine that to this man, to these starving, dying people,
that possessing perfectly proportioned breasts is any kind of concern.