Empowerment can come in many forms and from unlikely sources. Being the eldest of four, the son of immigrant parents, raised in a lower-working class household, and struggling to articulate my ideas through language, has only empowered me. As the first in my family to attend college, I dealt with what it meant to be an “example,” leading me to always desire more. Utilized as a powerful form of communication, art has always been a means of expressing my need to delve further into conceptual realms. This discovery process has allowed for true self-expression as these types of conversations could not be expressed to my elders. Santa Ana, California has created my diverse identity and opened up a space to discover the beauty and poignancy of my harsh realities. Santa Ana has been my inspiration. I create work that has social relevance and continues the dialogue regarding how we coexist. Concurrently I also deal with the challenges to create work that is current and relevant. This can be seen in much of my work, such as Half-Ass Donkey, a part of Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Collection.

Now, as a father of four hungry-for-life daughters, and as a professional in a non-profit, I find myself at a crossroad because of my financial obligations as a father and husband. Economically, my family has never been in want for anything but I believe art can be an opportunity to create without the monetary sacrifices associated with exercising one’s right for expression.

Society, academia, and institutions have steered me to create a type of art that has felt inorganic or conforming, often asking me to drop the paintbrush and create sculpture, installations or performance-based works. While I have ventured in a variety of artistic mediums, painting has always given me an outlet that I have felt most sincere and true to who I am as an artist. My current project, while it would mean much for the exploration of ideas, represents my journey as an artist, continuing to grow, explore, and share my knowledge.

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