Oil on canvas
7 ft x 4 ft
About the artist:
I was born and raised in Los Angeles with an older brother by parents who immigrated here from El Salvador in the 70s. We all lived in a cramped one bedroom apartment, with little to no privacy or control over our environment. I am driven to capture and catalog the various tenuous and unstable living spaces we often call home. Those depicted in my works share a community and personal relationships with me.
This large scale portrait of Mando is in their room in Oakland, CA in 2016. It is 1 of 5 portraits from an ongoing series capturing the homes of other trans queers from immigrant families. Mando is someone I grew up with. May they Rest In Peace. I strive to offer solace and homage to those who too experience systemic violence and white-washing from similar up comings.
Through layers of painterly gestures and the drawn line, I render the psychological portraits of queers in their personal and lived interior spaces. I find the home, how ever that may manifest for each individual, a glimpse to someone’s internal world and heart space.
On paper, it’s simply a room one pays rent for a limited time, yet a vulnerable and uncensored focal point to observe how identity, reprieve, trauma, loneliness, healing, tears, vice, heartbreak, chaos, dysphoria, lust, love, loss, the mundane, mental health and memories thrive like weeds. These spaces are complicated. The home is alive, private, decorated, loved, missed.
Although my works are personal portraits, I challenge viewers to sit with my portraits and ask yourself, what is one’s personal role in investing in the safety of others.
Adam Borone wrote, “The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American Dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance.”
What a lie.