My current paintings explore the environments of my homelands of southern Colorado and New Mexico, conjoined with supernatural spaces inhabited by characters and transformative beings representing spirits and ancestors that take on various forms, including parts of animals, humans, figurative shapes, and elements of nature. Each character and scene gives a glimpse into their stories and worlds while also integrating inspiration from my Nuevomexicano and Indigenous Genízaro heritage, which has a complex history of colonization, integration, and slavery.

 

From the 16th to the 19th century in New Mexico, Indigenous women and children were often captured and enslaved during raids by enemy tribes and Spanish colonists. They were then sold to other tribes and Hispano families as indentured servants. Many were designated the ethnic label Genízaro, defined as detribalized/Hispanicized Indian slaves of mixed tribal derivation descending from war captives. As Genízaros and Hispanos intermarried, both communities and cultures in New Mexico and southern Colorado merged. After the Mexican-American War in 1848, the U.S. took over the area with assimilation and discrimination, contributing to the loss and destruction of many teachings and histories. To motivate Anglo settlers from the East Coast to move to New Mexico, the U.S. promoted false narratives of Nuevomexicanos/Hispanos as Spanish European without Indigenous mestizo lineages to appear more welcoming. This distorted and damaged our history over the generations as many forgot their true origins. The effects of these issues still impact us today. With access to archival records, a process of consciousness, and community, much information about these complex histories is being revealed. Today, we carry our ancestor's blood, and the lands still hold their bodies with the imprints of their energy. I find this powerful as I honor and explore the diverse connections of my past and express them through my art as an instrument of resistance and awareness while creating new narratives that are symbolic, imaginative, and still rooted in reality. 

 

I use a range of mediums to create my paintings, including digital art, acrylic, spray paint, airbrush, ink, and oil on the surfaces of canvas, panels, watercolor paper, and leather.