My work comes from my past. As a child in Ecuador, I sold fruit in the markets of Guayaquil and used canvas to display the produce on the ground. Over time, the bruised papayas, bananas, and watermelons left their mark on the canvas. The memories of that stained canvas have been a guiding force in my paintings. My process has been to delve into memories from my childhood, dissect them and reassemble them into a visual glimpse of my past.
You will see animals in my paintings. A dog is a theme that wanders through my work. He represents my beloved childhood pet, Oso, a major character in my memoir-painting project. When he fought other dogs in the slums of Guayaquil, he would come home with vibrant blood stains all over his muzzle. It became his war mask and left a profound impression on me.
I portray myself as a monkey in my paintings; that’s what people in my city have been affectionately nicknamed for centuries. Ñaño Mono/Monkey Brother.
The Venus Flytrap is also a recurring motif in my paintings. This tiny plant, which must survive on insects, symbolizes the life of the newly arrived undocumented immigrant to the United States. The way a carnivorous plant stretches itself and longs for something as insignificant as a fly, is my metaphor of how “illegals” are perceived in our society today.