Aspects of art I create is a genuine reflection of my interest in conceptual and/or formal notions in art making. By using conceptual matter and formal matter as a vehicle, my body of work attempts to balance contrasting elements be it through materials, design and/or subject matter.
While earning my undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Iowa, I apprenticed with artists, Tom Stancliffe, and Preston Jackson. With Stancliffe, I gained experience working on public art commissions. I assisted in the various stages to complete and install a fabricated outdoor sculpture. Stancliffe was an invaluable influence and the knowledge gained was extensive. I accredit much of my work to his tutelage. I learned the comprehensive public art proposal process. The technical skill developed during this period of my life; working with metal, problem solving design concepts through the manipulation of materials, was due to Stancliffe's direction and mentorship. In summer months, I would also work with Preston Jackson. Jackson challenged me to be aware and sensitive to my artistic hand in relation to the material; and by investigating the interplay between the two I should find personal artist meaning as this interplay relates to me. Working with these artists was grooming my formalist notions in art making. To be developed was my understanding of conceptual subject matter in my art. During this time, performance artist Jeffery Byrd consistently challenged me to explore personal conceptual notions.
While in graduate school at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, I began to get away from my more traditional formalist notions and began to explore concept through installation and performance art. In time, professor Buzz Spector directed me to investigate art theorist Ernst Hans Gombrich's notions on recall and recognition with in his book "Art and Illusion." The result of this research challenged my understanding of my own personal identity both externally and internally, and how identity influences what I create.
As a biracial person, adopted as an infant into a Caucasian family. Growing up and today, my race and nationality are routinely questioned. I have been identified as Latin American, West Indian, Middle Eastern, North African, Pacific Islander, Asian, White, Black, and other. These experiences are synonymous with my internal perception, and the variety of cultures I personally identify with because of my racial ambiguity.
All of this in time has influenced my work to create a balance between polarities and or dualities. No matter the material, form, content, or body of work; at the core of the work it will hold this form of identity conceptually. This notion can be found in my 3D work, 2D work, performance and installations. In my work that gives more attention to formal design, most often there will be a visual push and pull. The same notion, push and pull will also be captured in my conceptual work.