- The Sex Toy Project
The sex toy project stems from queer discourses and politics to look at how sexuality is lived and experienced in private lives; specifically, how the queer sexual act is mediated by objects, sites, and related ephemera. The images aim to address the concomitants of the sexual (play, erotics, fetishization, the transgressive vs. the normative) and how these emerge through pockets and subcultures of the gay community. In doing so, because the still images avoid the use of figures, they employ the language of the still-life, as both a photographic and painterly artistic tradition, allowing for an exploration of the metaphoric, symbolic, and psychological. The objects and spaces become, for example, anthropomorphic stand-ins for a sexual identity wherein the erotic can be seen as a site of performance. Mirrors, fabrics, and modes of concealment act as echoes of the perennial closet or as dissonant,uncanny objects that intermingle fantasy and fear for those looking in from the outside.
- Los Ruferos/Odessa
Taken from a year-long documentary project, these images portray members of my family who have worked in construction most of their lives. For the series Los Ruferos I shadow my brother, a roofer by trade, and the immigrant men by his side as they construct luxury homes in neighborhoods of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and outlying areas. The Odessa project, on the other hand, follows my parents, both house painters in rural Odessa, a west Texas city that has recently undergone tremendous economic growth and development. In this vein, the city has similarly seen the creation of a Latino community to meet its construction needs. The project captures my parents at various work sites and at their changing residence, as they strive to build a home on a plot of land on the outskirts of the city. Collectively, the photographs aim to provide insight into the ethnic and cultural dimensions of what blue-collar work might mean in contemporary America, and tenaciously to identify the people at its center. They are a lens through which I examine class division, Latino immigrant identity, and the strenuous attempts made at social mobility by people on the margin.
- El Pequeño Homosexual: Jesus is Always Watching/Aryan Boys/Prólogo
A blend of oral stories, superstition, Salvadoran history, and outright fiction, the anthology El Pequeño Homosexual is a self-mythologizing project in multiple parts that interacts with the literary tradition of magic realism, children’s pop-up books, and camp aesthetics to look at the American immigrant experience from a point of view of innocence.
The collage work from “Jesus is Always Watching” takes place shortly after my move to the United States following my immigration from El Salvador. They are intimate collage recreations of a sexual awakening, as perceived through my hyperbolic imagination, anxiety, and Catholic-ridden guilt.
Aryan Boys is an offshoot of an image from the prior work, “A Sea of Power Tops – Ad infinitum”, that meditates much more heavily on the reception of images, hegemonic masculinity, and beauty, and therefore works as a critique of its narrow racial definitions.
Where the others look at post-migration issues, Prólogo traces a few of the historical moments that underpin the Salvadoran diaspora. This is paired with a highly fictionalized account of events surrounding my mother’s pregnancy, which take place in a plywood reconstruction of the housing complex as seen in “El Chavo del Ocho”, one of the most popular syndicated sitcoms of Latin America.
- Arpad Eulogy II
A portrait of Arpad Miklos, Hungarian pornographic actor, a man often at the center of my sexual infatuations, who committed suicide February 3, 2013, paired with an NPR recording of Maurice Sendak, children’s book illustrator, sharing his thoughts on death. I miss them both.
- Venus Takes a Nap
My Drag character, Venus Trap, falls asleep on a couch after having consumed three sleeping pills.
- Conversion (After Acconci) Excerpts
I apply layers of make-up to become Venus Trap.
Milk is a performance loosely Inspired by the events surrounding the sack of Constantinople during the fourth crusade, when Latin Christians murdered the men, women, and children that had taken refuge inside the walls of Hagia Sophia, a former Greek Orthodox basilica. Many of the sacred relics inside the church were scattered throughout the west. I mimic the seemingly contradictory actions of worship and desecration by circumambulating – in itself a movement tied with various forms of devotional activity – a black plinth where stones have been neatly arranged. While I run in a circle, I drink a gallon of milk, increasing my speed and ultimately throwing up on the objects that I ostensibly have elevated to a position of adulation.