Current Concepts in my Creative Process
Somewhere around 2005, inspiration for paintings and other artworks came instead as greater concepts for series and projects. They came revealing their own content, significance, aesthetics. Ideas and images for individual works arrived belonging to and organizing themselves within these greater concepts. Since then I seldom create individual works that float outside of these organized spaces. Unless there is a pressing issue I must paint about, get out, then a work might come in an individual, isolated form.
Creating for over two decades means at this point that I have developed my own arsenal of creative languages. I am honored to have come into this after much exploring, much trial and error. In the past, if I became too comfortable with a technique, inspiration would knock me out of it and force me to work on something entirely different, something I had to learn from scratch, something outside of my comfort zone. It is what has enabled me to grow as an artist.
I am still inspired to create paintings or mixed media works on canvas or burlap, but I have also painted on camouflage, manila file folders and bandanas. Right now, virtually everything I paint is on a black background. My creative practice is centered on painting light, drawing light from darkness. Presently I prime all canvases black or use black or dark fabric and black paper and cardstock. Inspiration for new works comes in different forms but again, all can be categorized under the following projects or series that reign in my studio these days:
Rematriating Boriken-My most recent painting series explores a new version of bioluminescence for me and that is deep-sea bioluminescence. Glowing/ light-producing organisms of the Puerto Rico trench are explored to create portraits documenting my own and others’ rematriation journeys back to Borikén. These references are metaphors for the journey south, having to cross over the trench to arrive. The trench is also a metaphor for looming dangers we must dodge, the darkness, and finding new ways of seeing and being.
CucubaNación- Combining the words Cucubano (native firefly of Borikén) & Nation, this project was born from the dark months following hurricanes Ir-María, contemplating the essence of light & drawing strength & wisdom from darkness. It explores these glowing creatures that kept us company in those dark nights, and the blue dinoflagellate bioluminescence of Borikén and Vieques’ bio bays. Recent works use the colors seen in the cucuyo or common firefly, red, black and yellow with a green glow: colors also associated with black liberation.
Nebulas- First visiting & painting the bio bay in Vieques in 2006, revealed those waters as a reflection of the cosmos. In Vieques in 2013, I realized I had to move to Puerto Rico. I began exploring nebulas & other light phenomena of the cosmos. A year later, I moved to Puerto Rico, developing this series more. Transparency & fluidity of plasma are metaphors for visibility, transcending colonialism, & for spirit energy. Much like I began with my first bioluminescent paintings of Vieques’ ancestors, I paint freedom fighters and other spirits as nebulas.
Guanín- This is a series of small drawings created with metallic gold and copper ink on black paper. I create these whenever inspiration comes and sometimes to decompress, unlike my paintings which sort of choose me and reveal themselves as larger projects. These are small, intimate, meditative, therapeutic works that I create with the purpose of releasing tension from my body by creating and reflecting on the patterns, symbols and concepts of our indigenous ancestors. Creating them brings me peace and joy. Likewise, I create these works to release them, unlike most of my paintings. These works eventually make their way into my shop or are given away as gifts. Guanín is the name of the golden medallions worn by indigenous Taíno chiefs of the Antilles. It is also the name of the same metal of gold and copper alloy associated with sun