I was born and lived in La Paz, Bolivia until the age of 10 when I emigrated to St Louis, Mo. I drew and painted from an early age, graduated from St Francis De Sales High School in South St Louis then formalizing my studies at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville where I graduated with a BFA in 1978 with extensive coursework in Architecture and Mathematics. Although my degree is in sculpting, my activity in art includes painting drawing and structural designing for over 30 years and today I’m considered one of the foremost muralists in Bolivia.
While living in Chicago, I became inspired by a new dawn in Bolivian history: the election of the first indigenous president, Evo Morales Ayma in 2006. In 2007 I submitted one of my most important paintings for a government sponsored Art contest that so impressed the authorities, the Bolivian Department of Justice commissioned me to translate this painting called “Usurpacion del Boliviano” (The Usurpation of the Bolivian) onto a huge mural located in “El Prado,” the main boulevard in La Paz. This extraordinarily political mural, inspired by the works of Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, was meant to serve as a discursively charged panorama of Bolivian history depicting the moments of both tragedy and resistance that have marked Bolivia’s complicated historical trajectory, yet it also portrays a positive vision of hope and optimism for the future. A foreign correspondent labeled it as “Bolivian history in 5 minutes,” and Professor Mark Goodale used a partial photograph of this mural to grace the front and back of his textbook “Surrendering to Utopia: An Anthropology of Human Rights.” There are various publications on my artwork including a small biography: “After the Academy Memories of Teaching and Learning in the Land of Lincoln” published by SIUE in 2012.
After many years of living in the U.S. mostly in St Louis, I decided to return to Bolivia for this project, and stayed for almost six years. After the success of this first mural quite a few commissions came my way ranging from small murals for private patrons to significant political and social murals financed by international embassies public universities and local governmental offices which all can be viewed on my website firstname.lastname@example.org
During this exciting time in Bolivian history not only did we complete various murals and sculptures in public and private spaces but I also wanted to share my knowledge and passion with other local artists, some of who today make up our collective “San Pedro Estudios.” A group of artists dedicated to the growth of muralism in LaPaz Bolivia. Today not only can we see murals that were produced by us but other groups such as Apacheta etc. and La Paz has been painted.
Today I’m back in St. Louis; I was invited back by SIUE to participate in the inauguration of its new Art and Design West Wing where I showcased my newest work along with photographs of all the murals that were done in the last five years. I was asked to give a few lectures of my works along with a seminar on muralism where we painted a small mural with the aid of the top students of the painting department.
Currently we are in conversations with the university to paint a historical mural but we are in the beginning phases. Also I just finished a mural project with The St Louis Art Museum, which was intertwined, with the Grand Opening of the new wing at the end of June.
My aim now is to reproduce what was done in La Paz, Bolivia paint the city with murals from historical subject matter to political and social issues. Create a group of artists whose aim is to translate the social relevance that is happening not only here in St Louis but as a country. I will go out and initiate projects look for venues to paint murals and as I transition my stay here in St Louis any monies available will be used to generate opportunities. I am also looking for venues to expose my art I am constantly painting so new works will always be available.
The mural to me is an expression of the times in which one lives, it is a language that transcends time and speaks without words. Generates talk of controversial issues, such as social injustice, stories, tales, a social conscience, etc.
The history of murals was born in the man's infancy, it is the most primitive form of communication . The murals in the caves of France tell us a story and I'm sure at that time it launched talk of their times.
WHAT IS ART TO ME? WHAT IS ART? DOES IT HAVE A SPECIFIC DEFINITION OR IS IT DIFFERENT FOR EVERYBODY? I BELIEVE THAT IS THE BEAUTY OF ART. THERE IS NO SPECIFIC DEFINITION. Art has an infinite amount of meanings - like our universe. To me Art is the elixir of life; it gives me the joy to live. Art is the essence of my existence; my constant companion that I can confide in, it nags and comforts me. It is a perfect mate. In my younger years I believed emotions were the catalyst of my expressions but as I matured I realized that was emotional conclusion, an erroneous assumption. Today as I discover more about us human beings, in particular our beginnings, I see how insignificant we are in the whole scheme of things but yet follow an evolutionary universal law. The grandeur of the universe has left me in awe – questioning our perception of a three dimensional world.
Today I have been immersed in other possibilities, like different planes of existence, parallel universes, the relevance of infinite space with the inner space, black holes that exist not only in outer universe but also in our immediate space. The order in the universe is so exact and precise and expressed in such detail that there are definitely rules that are working here and those rules also apply to the art that is being carried out by this body. I believe there are specific rules in creating art no matter how abstract they are expressed. These rules are mathematical in every sense of the word; there is no randomness or emotion. Art is an exact science and to understand it one must acquire knowledge. This knowledge we are required to learn in order to express ourselves as human beings is processed through the brain in a very logical sequence. Therefore it follows an order, an order of events, and a universal law of deduction. Art is no longer an emotional outlet. To me, Art is a science that has specific rules like the rest of the universe.