Local Latino/a Artist
of the Month
- Miguel Dominguez -
"The effect I seek to achieve with my work is not merely visual. I want to transport the viewers beyond the veil of appearances and have them reconnect with the inner nature of our world. I portray humans and the environment, both revealing their inner depth and absorbing each other as parallel mirrors. I seek to give expression to a consecutive dynamic between the inner and outer reality of the individual from which alternative forms might arise and produce a shattered transposition of reality. A sort of time-space continuum where the viewers may be able to reencounter themselves. The aim of my art is to establish a direct appeal to empathy with the world before our eyes and inspire the pursuit of ways to coexist with it." - Miguel Dominguez
Love Beyond Nations
I made this piece thinking of all the innocent people struggling in the Middle East, wishing that this world was a safer place for everyone. Love is universal and the one thing that bonds us human beings. Acrylic / Canvas. 11” x 14”.
How do you incorporate your heritage /identity/ culture into your work and why?
My artistic identity first took shape in Mexico at the age of 18. Self-taught at first, I later underwent rigorous formal training at El Sótano Graphic Arts before graduating from Universidad de la Vera-Cruz as graphic designer. During my academic training, I never rested in my independent development as a painter and my research and study of Mesoamerican art. My great passion was to travel to small secluded villages such as Tatei-kie and San Jose el Tesorero. I am most proud of my work in these indigenous villages where I painted murals, learned about the Huichol culture (an ethnic tribe living in the Sierra Madre Occidenta), and learned art techniques from the locals. From those experiences, I realized that my strength lies in my ability to create compositions perfectly complementary to the surrounding environment's beauty.
Does your work comment on current social or political issues?
Yes. This isn’t the main purpose of my work but there are events, ideas, and movements I identify with, such as Black Lives Matter. I feel like I have to do something to support these things. Recently I made a painting promoting peace between Jewish and Palestinian people.
This mural, commissioned by Besharat Arts Foundation Museum and Gallery in 2017 acknowledges the efforts of the many working classes to achieve their safety and stability in life, and emphasizes in the fact that a well integrated and prosperous society can also be one where the many different cultures merge their highest values. ⠀
Initially this mural was inspired by the Manifesto of the Sindicato de Obreros Técnicos, Pintores (SOTPE) [Technical Workers, Painters, and Sculptors union], Mainly led by the well known artists Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo by his side and David Alfaro Siqueiros, which was a social-artistic movement that began in 1924, with the aim to warn Mexican people of the eminent threat by their oppressive government in favor only of the wealthiest classes. The proclamation expressed the high value of the Mexican expression rooted in its indigenous tradition and hard working classes, describing it as the healthiest and most spiritual, in contrast with the superfluous, individualist tendencies of the ruling classes. ⠀
Esta pintura esta basada en un sueño en el cual yo y un grupo de personas queríamos descubrir el paraíso. Estábamos en la ciudad y yo, en mi búsqueda miré al cielo y vi que estábamos en una prisión. Al despertar mi interpretación fue que es tamos sujetos a demasiadas reglas y condiciones absurdas y pensé que para ser libre muchas veces es necesario romper las reglas.
Tell us a bit about being a Latino artist or the Latino artist community.
It is an honor for me to be able to represent my country with my art, especially nowadays when all you hear about Mexico is the violence caused by the cartels and our authorities. I always think that my art will help people focus, at least for a moment, on the positive aspects of our world. If I happen to paint tragic events, I always make sure that my art highlights a possible solution.
Green Lady Gardens is all about celebrating the joy of color. How do you use color in your work?
I notice that I use a lot of blue in most of my paintings. Maybe because it is such a calm color and also helps me add more depth to my backgrounds. I used to not use as many colors. But for some reason, at some point, my art became very vibrant. Maybe as a reflection of my own emotional mood since I started feeling more fulfilled in different areas of my life.
Earth and the Cosmos
Metaphorically speaking, we all have to go into the desert sooner or later in our life. The desert offers an opportunity to transmute the ego into a higher version of the self by vanishing its useless desires that impede our own spiritual growth. It shows us to identify not with that part of our psyche that is stagnate, prone to error, far apart from following healthy instincts and achieving a beneficial change for life and nature, but instead it shows us a path beyond the limits and comfort of the known. I personally can identify the symbol of the desert with what Buddha showed us thousands of years ago "I teach the suffering, its origin, cessation and path" a path into a life of profound static joy, free of suffering caused by unnecessary attachments, fears and vain desires. One can enter the desert as much to lose as to find oneself.
All images are the property of Miguel Dominguez (unless otherwise credited on his social media page or portfolio.)
Some content may have been edited for clarity.