Painting is a passion of mine which I have been seriously pursuing since 1992, the year that I transferred to California State University, Hayward. Mel Ramos, the famous artist, was my painting instructor and mentor. He encouraged me to pursue graduate studies in art, which I did, and received my Masters in Fine Arts degree from San Jose State University in December of 1997. From 1998 through 2001, I worked with a small staff and tons of volunteers at a non-profit arts organization in Oakland, Pro Arts Gallery. I decided to pursue teaching and became an instructor of art at a couple community colleges and an art center in the Bay Area, CA from 2001 - 2005. From Fall 2005 through Winter 2014, I was a tenured, full-time college art instructor (Allan Hancock College, Santa Maria, CA) and artist.
I am currently an artist and Instructor of Art in the Bay Area, CA, both at Ohlone College (Fremont) as well as for the Peralta Community College District (College of Alameda and Merritt College in Oakland). I have been teaching art (studio and art history) since 2000 at several California locations, including Civic Arts Center in Walnut Creek, Ohlone College in Fremont, Contra Costa College in San Pablo, and Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. Prior to teaching, my focus was in helping numerous artists in their careers while working with a small team of visual artists and musicians at a non-profit gallery space in Oakland, CA, Pro Arts Gallery. I graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts (Pictorial Arts concentration) from San José State University (1997), from California State University, Hayward (1992, Bachelors in Art (Studio Arts concentration), and Alameda College, CA (1990, Associate of Arts, Social Sciences). I have loved making images (whether with lines, colors, or words) since I can remember. I started my career with crayon markings on the walls…
The main focus of my work is the interconnectedness I feel with my natural and urban environment as well as with the connection I feel with my culture, our planet and with the phenomenon and celebration of existence. Through my painting and poetry I explore my identity in this space and time, dreams, memories, projections of the future and rejoicing. Although I often use symbols and color schemes in my work that serve as visual icons (huaraches, serpents, pre-Columbian deities, for example) or connections with my Mexican ancestry, it is my intention to communicate to all cultures. As an artist of Mexican descent, I wish to express my profound sense of cultural pride to the world. I want to inspire those who view my images in a way that may prompt them to learn more about my culture. Furthermore, it is my interest to motivate people to want to have a better understanding of and desire to make art.
I am interested in exploring the human condition through the use of colors, through figure-landscape relationships, as well as through geometric and organic forms to express my optimism and love for life. The images mirror my belief that everything is interconnected in a sort of spiritual embrace. The energy behind my work is my profound love for the natural earth, the divine, and art. In my paintings I often merge human figures (symbolizing humanity) with the landscape in an effort to express the tight bond and interdependency with the elements, with the land. Furthermore, I am interested in visually expressing the politics of relationships between a couple, between a community, and within oneself, especially when it comes to one’s psyche and spiritual belief systems. I am interested in a timeless sense of cosmic peace.
In the paintings that I have been working on for the last few years, I have been inspired by the internet platform as a way of investigating relevant current events as well as the human condition as it relates to and is tightly interwoven with our inner, cyber, natural and urban landscapes. My paintings are a critique of as well as an assimilation and celebration of the multiplicity and disparate abundance of visual information often intended to side-track, seduce and/or sell something to the public. My work is based on the visual realm of popular and often infamous imagery that permeates our social consciousness through the media, especially the internet (specifically youtube.com). I simulate the internet environment through the depiction and layering of unrelated visual units, browser “windows” for dialogue, for information, designs and, of course, "spam". I have been, over the years, intrigued, amused and informed by the phenomena of youtube, apps and, most recently, "selfies". These techno-gadget-oriented "arenas" have been fodder for me through a creative lens for many years.
This video features classic song "Close To Me" © 1985 by The Cure . It served as the inspiration to display my early paintings (1989 - 1994). These paintings were based on dreams, nightmares, lyrics my imagination. Most of the paintings are mixed-media (acrylics, oils, wax, and discarded, "found materials"). The imagery includes preoccupations with environmental matters, content with a "dark disposition" as well as a surrealist sensibility. I focused on matters that included relationships (with oneself, others as well as with ghosts), thoughts on the after-life, anxiety, somnambulism and absolute bliss!