ABOUT ME, JUST A LIL SUM' SUM'
The who? what? where? and why?
I was born in Mexico City in 1988 and raised as a child immigrant in the south side of Chicago. Growing up in the south side of Chicago is hard, especially for a little gay Mexican kid. I questioned my position in society as the product of a lower-class household growing skeptical of the white institutionalized art world.
Working up to my “American Dream,” I received a B.A. in Studio Art from Northeastern Illinois University and a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago. During my studies, I exhibited my work at various galleries around town. Soon after my studies, I moved to Belgium to join my husband and continue my career in Brussels.
I make portraits and functional sculptural objects. My work reflects personal social anxiety within an urban environment and reality’s imperfect, chaotic nature. These portraits question the spectacle of perfection as performed by individuals and the norms I inherited as a part of my social conditioning.
My current work explores the decolonization of my practice, ideals, and presentation within the Western world. Since moving to Brussels and making Belgium my home, I have encountered a culture shock that deepened wounds I acquired as a child immigrant in the United States.
I grew up in an environment that was inherently racist, homophobic, and paranoid. As an immigrant child, I was held to a higher standard of conduct than my peers because the consequence of misbehavior could be my removal from the country. The portraits counter these deeply rooted memories.
My work is sometimes participatory and performative concerning personal and collective identity sprinkled with a mix of sexuality, gender, colonization, and Mexican folklore. As if in an ancient rite of passage, hiding, masking, and flaunting blend into an experience of self-display and self-affirmation, transforming shame and otherness into security and pride. The pieces give the viewer or participant access to a sacred space, my world, and culture- through the experience of a Mexican who was not Mexican enough for his heritage and not American enough for his peers.
I also make clothing …
As the founder of Extra Medium, I believe that stains, holes, and tears in clothing are great opportunities to tell stories. If you’ve ever met me, you probably noticed my collection of handkerchiefs that I use every day. In 2020, I visited my aunts and grandparents in Mexico for the first time in 20 years, and it was the first time I realized that the use of handkerchiefs was a legacy in my family. My aunts teased me for carrying on the “tradition” of using a handkerchief like my dad, and my grandad too.
When I was 16, my father gave me my first two handkerchiefs. It wasn’t until 16 years later that I realized how valuable these pieces of cloth would be to me. Today, I still have the two original small cotton squares my dad gave me, which are unfortunately torn on the corners and in poor condition.
We all have that one garment or accessory that needs repair, either to continue to be used or to keep it in good condition for the memories it holds.
Extra Medium values above all the sharing of stories and knowledge by focusing on raising people’s awareness of their relationship with clothing. Every garment has a story, but how can we keep track of these stories if our clothes only last one season?
Extra Medium offers a tailoring service to help you care for your new and used clothes properly, and give them the long life they were designed for. The service includes the repair and refurbishment of all clothes.
If you have a project in mind...
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