Philosophy of My Art
Tiempo de lectura 9 min
Tiempo de lectura 9 min
With all of that out of the way, I would now like to talk to you about the purpose of this specific blog entry, and that is to explain the philosophy and ethos of me and my art. Think of this almost as my artist manifesto, except not that serious…well kinda. When it comes to making art, I have a much larger idea that I am working with besides the topic at hand, and that is usually something along the lines of “Art should be lived in”. What the fuck does that even mean? Well that's what we’ll be discussing right now.
The expression of “Art should be lived in” comes from an expression my mom has always told me which is “Tráeme flores mientras aún estoy aquí, ya que ya no tiene sentido traerlas a una tumba”, (bring me flowers while I am still here since there is no longer a point in bringing them to a grave). A bit grim, but it makes sense. You should appreciate and love people while you still can before it is too late. There is no point in bringing flowers to a grave since they will no longer be able to smell and appreciate them, they become more of a gesture for yourself.
I remember when my Grandpa died and they played a mariachi at his funeral. Besides the obvious unfortunate passing, my dad was upset and said “"¿Por qué esperamos hasta hoy para llevarle el mariachi? Ya no puede escucharlo”.He questioned why we never did that for him while he was alive, why only now that he is gone that we decided to get him a mariachi. It really got me thinking a lot about telling people you love them, to spend time with them right now while their hearts are still beating.
During my early days of becoming an artist my slogan was “BUY MY ART BEFORE I’M DEAD”, which at the time I didn’t realize was along the lines of what my mom had been saying to me.
When I came up with the slogan at like 17 or something, I was thinking more about how artists are only ever appreciated when they have long passed. Like any other art hoe, I was obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh. I still love his work very much. One thing that never sat right with me was his tragic life story. How his life was almost romanticized as this tortured soul who was never given a break during his lifetime. It broke my heart to read that no one ever bought his paintings, the people of his village thought he was just a madman. There was even an episode of “Doctor Who” in which they go back in time to bring Vincent to the future to show him how much the world has grown to love him. I cried the first time I watched that.
The tears were of both heartbreak and rage. I just kept thinking what would happen if he was given even just an ounce more of love during his life. If only people had bought his art before he was dead.
On a similar note, this is also why I admire Louis Vuitton’s heritage. We all mainly know LV for their monogram covered bags or flashy clothes, but historically it has always been a travel company first. They got their start in the industry creating trunks for travel, and over time they began to transition into small leather goods.
This spirit of travel is very much a large part of their DNA, and it can perhaps best be seen in two of their most iconic pieces: the Speedy and Keepall. These two bags in particular were designed with the intention of being used for travel, the Speedy for on the go and Keepall for longer trips.
For me, what makes these bags extra special is their Vachetta leather straps, which basically means that they have leather parts that are unglazed. You see, leather bags are oftentimes treated with a coating to help prevent the leather from staining and shifting color. This is what makes these LV bags so special, the Vachetta leather is able to patina into a deep honey color as it ages.
When you purchase one of these bags brand new, the leather is a pale cream color, and over time the color deepens. In the LV handbag community this patina is praised as it is used as a way to show off the fact that the bag has been used and traveled with. The bag is not just sitting in a closet collecting dust rather it is being used for its intended purpose. The oils from your hands and other liquids slowly transfer onto these leather parts to stain the leather in a unique manner each time it is being utilized. No two patinas are the same, they each tell a unique story. The bag is being appreciated and enjoyed.
This kinda reminds me of how Jane Birkin and the Olsen twins use their Birkin to the point that it looks beat up. It’s like wearing your favorite shirt that you’ve had forever despite all the holes and stains on it. It’s transformed from being just an article of clothing/ accessory, to a part of your life and legacy. This is not to say you need a super expensive purse to experience this, it can truly be anything. It is just that LV put it more succinctly for me.
The idea of enjoying and living in something has always been a core part of my brand identity and ethos. When I first got into clothing making, I made clothes with the intention of people wearing the garment until the seams pull apart. Whenever someone asks me to custom make them a garment I have to make them promise me they will actually use it and not let it sit in their closet. What good is clothing that sits in a dark room, not living to its fullest capacity. I have always loved the idea of cherishing an item for so long that it needs to be repaired constantly. That this item follows you around and you live all your favorite moments in it.
For instance, I made a “Boys Love Boys” and “Girls Love Girls” sort with the intention of queer people wearing this piece outside of just Pride month. The shirt was meant to be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion, something so versatile that you’d want to wear it everywhere. All of these memories would then become associated with this shirt so much that even just looking at the garment can bring you a huge smile and transport you back to those times. Thus, this clothing item becomes more than just a piece of fabric, it has transcended to become more of an idea or even diary. It is something that you actively engage in and evolve with. They become almost like a flower, where it isn’t just a clump of organic cells, rather it comes to represent so much more. In a way you are bringing yourself these flowers while you are still alive by allowing yourself to enjoy and appreciate all that you have here and now.
This is all to explain my philosophy: “Art Should Be Lived In”. As you can see, this is not just a throw away slogan I say to sound cool…although it does sound cool. It is more of a way of life, a core DNA. Everything I just said about my family, LV, and clothing can be applied to my art. I can’t really see my work existing in a stale white gallery space where there is little to no life. My work is meant to exist and live in a place that allows viewers to engage with it on a more personal level.
When someone purchases an original painting, I am hoping for the piece to be used as a way to honor someone and be cherished. Even if it is just a gift for yourself, it is still a gift to show love and appreciation. The piece is also expected to become a part of your life. Whether it be hung on your bedroom wall for it to be the first thing in the morning/last thing before bed or somewhere more open like the dining room for you and your guest to engage with during dinner. If it gets scratched, knocked or bumped, these become a part of its patina. The art has extended to beyond just my work and has become a collaborative piece with you, fulfilling its ultimate role of being lived in. Over time it will become a family heirloom.
Outside of the private home, I also like the idea of it being presented in more open and accessible spaces such as museums with free entries. I grew up very low income so we weren’t able to really go out much, one of the few places we would actually go often were museums. They were free and close by. As an adult I can see how much that has impacted me and would love to inspire others like me as well. When the work is presented in these manners publicly, the piece is able to be treasured and inspire a shit ton of people. The discussion of the art is then opened up to everyone, so now anyone can see it and take away what they needed to hear. They are living with the work. Art should be for everyone.
Moving forward, I will be working towards completing my “Mystic Garden: Bring me Flowers While I’m Still Here” series. It is a collection I started my last year at UCLA and never quite completed. The idea of it is inspired by the phrase my mother told me, I’m just expanding on it and taking it quite literal. I’ll be painting flowers and mystical elements to create a garden atmosphere. The mini flower portraits will then be given as gifts to people I love so they can have a flower forever, and I’ll make a couple extra for others to be able to purchase for loved ones. I will also be using the garden as a way to honor my family with paintings dedicated to them. There will also be more general works about queer and Latinx identity scattered throughout. This is all I will say for now, I’ll write a deeper blog post about this collection once I’m closer to completion. I am hoping to create more long form YouTube videos to document the process and really just bring you in closer to the work.
So with all of that being said, I would like to formally welcome you to the world of Picasshoe!