Artist Statement

I have been drawing and painting since I can remember. My earliest memory is when I was in third grade- I knew I wanted to be an artist and I have regarded myself as one ever since. At an early age, I began receiving recognition for my artwork from school and my community through various art shows and competitions. Growing up in rural Minnesota, I didn’t really have many resources to draw from as far as influence other then what I was exposed to at school or on television. The paintings of Ernie Barnes are what inspired me to become an artist. Most people may recognize his work from the closing credits of the T.V. show Good Times. I admired his figurative style, color, and subject matter. It was the first time I saw paintings with people of color.

Today, I draw inspiration from many of the things around me- the African American and Latino community, urban style and street art, and film. I am also influenced by my South American heritage as well as historical art movements like early Hip Hop and The Harlem Renaissance. Even though one may not see a direct connection to those influences in my art, they act as a starting point or vehicle in my process. For stylistic influence, I'm usually inspired by artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Aaron Douglas, Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, Mercedes Matter, and contemporary artists like Kadir Nelson and Kehinde Wiley.

The most important goal I strive for in my work is communicating positive ideas and images about the people and culture in my family and community. I want to provide a social, political, and cultural voice for a group of people that may be misunderstood, misrepresented, and stereotyped. I like to create work that not only illustrates the beauty and strength of a multicultural kaleidoscope of people but also create work that is identifiable and relatable to those that are usually ignored.