Jose Antonio Aguirre

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Artist Statement:
As a visual artist, I am dedicated to nurturing the development and production of an ongoing body of art that utilizes a variety of traditional mediums, materials, and techniques in combination with an experimental approach to contemporary technology and social issues. I seek to explore the application of space within an installation, painting, print or public environment that invites the interaction of the viewer with the elements of the composition; the spectator is to be engaged as an active participant and not a passive observer. The nature of my art is dependent upon the exploration and exportation of images, icons, symbols, and signs that have been contained within the continuity of creative expression in Mexican art from 3000 years ago until today. The essence of my iconography is traced from my personal pre-Columbian roots and it’s mixing with religious symbols of Spanish colonization, and compounded by the contradictory reality of “modernism” in Mexico and the United States. The content is inspired by the duality of history and social experience; the color palette inspired by the richness of the folk artists hand and the local regions natural landscapes. Reflecting upon my place of origin (Mexico) and its impact on the recent history of my experience in the United States, I probe the aesthetics of an artist that exists in two cultures bound by bi-national implications. I create a visual imagery that provokes definitions and questions that attempt to integrate the tentative everyday experience of human nature and its social implications with the cultural diversity of living on the border of two worlds that exist in the time of expanding globalization.
Relationship to Chicago:
Four decades ago, I embarked in an exciting summer vacation to visit Chicago for two weeks. Traveling by land from my parents hometown Teocaltiche, Jalisco; crossing the border in Laredo and driving through the central United States until we arrived at the Windy City. When I applied for my tourist visa at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, my interviewer wrote in my passport that I was a potential student. I decided to stay longer to study English which led to my enrollment in the American Conservatory of Music. During a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, I realized that my real calling in life was art and decided to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Spring of 1978. The following year I was granted a scholarship from the Mexican government to continue my studies and obtained a BFA in 1982 from SAIC. In 1978, I painted my first mural, “Recycling”, in Pilsen. In 1981, I got a grant from the Illinois Art Council to paint the mural, “Visiones de Aztlan”, for Latino Youth Alternative High School. In 1985, I painted the mural, “Nuestra Esencia, Nuestra Presencia”, for the Rafael Cintrón-Ortiz Cultural Center at University of Illinois. From 1979, I participated in various collective and solo exhibits at various cultural and educational centers. As a cultural promoter, I founded the first two Spanish cultural sections: “Vida Cultural” and “Cultura Activa” for the newspaper, “La Raza", and a radio cultural segment for WOJO 105/FM for the program, “Todo en Domingo”. In November of 1985, I moved out of Chicago to finally take residence in Los Angeles, CA.
Year of Birth:
Country of Origin:
Places Of Residency:
Pasadena, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Montrose, TX; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Mexico City, Mexico; Colima, Mexico.
Art Form:
Ceramics, Drawing, Installation, Mixed Media, Multi-Media, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Murals, Glass Mosaic.Murals, Glass Mosaic.