The term "gringo" is Spanish slang for someone who is American, or simply not Hispanic or latino.
The video to the right is the most basic premise of this whole exploration.
My concentration is a dissection and lampoon of my Hispanic heritage through the lens of satire and self-awareness. It is not a celebration of my culture, rather, an analysis of my acceptance and association despite being a sheer opposite to the preconception of the Hispanic. My work is an attempt to translate my insecurity and anxiety of being a Hispanic who can understand, but not speak Spanish.
It is incredibly polarizing to be in a Dominican and Puerto Rican family having been born and brought up in the United States. I have assimilated into a scholarly English speaker bearing the culture and nuances of American culture while Spanish-Americans have stayed stagnant, nearly worshipping the same Spanish language, food, music, etc., at least in my eyes.
Primarily, I use ink and paint in my work, using water to blend and pair the unlike mediums. Ink and print is representational of my cold and calculated side, specifically my love for computation, logic, and wit. The ink builds emphasis on dramatic, chaotic line arrangements displaying tension and structure. Paint and watercolor being symbolic of family, warmth, and Hispanic tradition, topics I am incredibly familiar with but tend to avoid. The paint is more fluid, floaty, and blended into the paper through layers of washes of acrylic and watercolor.
Water is the binding force between these opposites, like how I'm trying to bind my logical side with a more compassionate approach in my life. The vibrant convention of paint and the monochromatic dissimilarity of ink coalesce to form a contradictory tone and feeling based on the viewer's perception. For instance, you may laugh at a banana in an unexpected environment, then learn that I represent the banana, reflecting my difficult inner dissociation from my family and heritage.
I perceive art as an entertainment, humor and absurdity being the vehicle in which I can create a bridge of relatability with the viewer. There is a large emphasis in visual and conceptual puns to create irony through symbolism and the duality of opposite interpretations. I require an instant reaction, the reaction I crave but starve of when interacting with family and relatives.
I use unexpected imagery, grotesque subjects, and exaggerated scale to show unusual scenes that may be intensely chaotic, other times intimately melancholic. My drastic switches between emotions parallels my feelings during its creation. Sometimes I was deeply saddened that I struggle with genuinely connecting with my culture, other times I was very self-aware that my problems may be unimportant and that I am only creating the problem myself, and that I am only comically exaggerating what is actually occurring.
There is something humorous yet melancholy about not being able to speak a word of Spanish, yet I am unquestionably embraced by love and sense of community. I am not sociable and eccentric like the common Hispanic, yet I look the part, so that must be my identity.