One of the things I most admire about the Mexican art I’ve seen these past few years is the subject matter. Or perhaps how the the subject matter is handled. For many artists there is no fear in taking on what has crucial meaning for them. They tackle their culture, politics, religion, sex, personal experiences in their daily lives. Artist’s in other countries do the same yet there is an intensity in much of the Mexican art that just feels different. It’s their street stories. It’s anger at how a country (their’s and others) is run. These stories feel very personal. They have impact as you stand before the work and reflect on their message.
Blogs usually feature an artist’s own work. In this post I wanted to talk about the inspiration of other artist’s in our own daily practice. Not necessarily how they technically produce their work but why they produce what they do. My time studying Mexican art helped clarify something I already knew but I felt the reminder was timely for me as I begin some new work. It’s about the importance of speaking from your soul. With similarity to writing, you need a personal language with which to share your story or statement.
An example of work that had a huge impact of me, was the work of painter/sculptor Alejandro Santiago who died last year at 49. His story is significant with regards to his country, yet is sad because there was surely more for him to say. The show I saw exhibited drawings, paintings and sculpture by Alejandro and his son Lucio. (Lucio’s paintings are raw, ‘Basquiat-like’) Santiago’s drawings, paintings and sculpture tell the story of the 2501 people in his village who left as illegal migrants to the United States in order to find work to support their families. His drawings express his emotional commentary through wild scribbles. Each migrant sculpture catches human characteristics despite their extremely abstract nature. Watch this short film and witness his story-telling through art. If you google him, you will find even more about Alejandro Santiago.
Visit my Facebook site to see other contemporary artist’s paintings and photography that I recently saw in San Miguel De Allende, Puerta Vallarta and Sayulita, Mexico. They have worthwhile stories to consider. In my studio this winter, new stories need to surface, are are now beginning to unfold.