Reflecting on my past works to create my art matrix, I found myself first listing off common symbols in my pieces and then branching off the influences. Overall, all the branches are all things I want to express and have done in my art. Even in the beginning phase of my process, some of these themes would appear in the end result. In my sketching phase, I would find myself expanding on a storyline from previous works. The main themes are usually cultural traditions, narratives, and folktales. I think my planning often leads to stories because of one major key in Mexican and Latinx culture is storytelling. I grew up with family members recounting their lives back in Mexico with each other and entertaining the younger generations with cautionary tales or simplified folktales.
Other than personal influences, the other source is culture, specifically Latinx culture. From my color palette to my usage of skeletons, I have been influenced by my culture to incorporate these ideas. Though, on my matrix, I specified that music, art, and traditions have influenced what symbols I use. Under art, I wrote artists, Manuel Manilla, Jose Guadalupe Posada, and Frida Kahlo. Their use of skeletons, texture, and theme of stories are major inspirations I refer to. In addition to famous artists, I take inspiration from either unnamed or recognized folk artists who handcraft their work and occasionally sell it in shops or markets. For example, the embroidery and the alebrijes, which are wooden sculptures typically made in Oaxaca, were a constant image in my environment. The patterns and texture are present in some of my pieces and have become a part of my visual vocabulary.
Another aspect of my culture that has greatly influenced my work is music. For me, I usually need to listen to music to get into the flow of things when developing a project. The main music influences are Natalia Lafourcade, Juan Gabriel, and Selena, and most of the Latin rock genre. Natalia Lafourcade is a Chilean-Mexican singer-songwriter whose recent work revolved around folk music. Her music videos would inspire me to create something off the aesthetic. In one of my daily sketches, I drew a pair of skeletons with instruments loosely based on the musicians in one of her songs.
Some of my influences have helped me develop a solid visual vocabulary that has helped me form different works. A major component is the imagery of skeletons. These figures have been a constant in my work and it shows in a few of my sketches. Additionally, the imagery of skeletons is a present symbol in many Latinx animated movies, such as Coco and The Book of Life. Jorge Gutierrez, the creator behind The Book of Life, has especially influenced my earlier works in terms of storytelling and style. Another aspect of my vocabulary is the color yellow. For me, I connect the color with happiness, warmness, and a sense of familiarity. I have a personal connection to the color and it always been one of the things I notice around me.