From looking through my art matrix and back at my previous series projects, the concept I would like to revisit is lotería cards and the way they feature aspects of Latinx culture. The format of a lotería card, in recent years, has been frequently visited because of the way it is commonly known among Latinx households and holds a cultural significance. It’s also a fun form to use because there is so much room to add your own twist. The format is usually the object, person or animal in the center with either a color gradient background or an actual in-context scene. I want to revisit this format because after creating an art matrix, I realized some themes I would like to work with more.
The main three elements I want to explore is skeletal figures, animals, and plants. For the lotería cards, I want to paint skeletal figures in action or wearing outfits representing what they are doing. I’d paint them in a similar style to the previous skeletal figures playing instruments. After painting chickens and axolotls, I want to explore the style of alebrijes or just the appearance of colorful animals that are from Latin America. I hope with watercolor and focusing primarily an individual animal per card, I can add more detail or color texture to each one. Lastly, for the last set of cards, I will be mainly focusing on the national flowers from Latin America and on cactus flowers. I hope to create recognizable flowers and in case of repetition, I will work on cactus flowers. Overall, these three elements hold enough room for me to explore throughout the series.
Since I will be working mostly watercolor and possibly gouache, I will use watercolor paper. Considering the scale of lotería cards is about 4 inches by 2.5 inches, I will be working with a larger scale in comparison to that. My dimensions are currently 6 inches by 9 inches, working with a vertical canvas. The palette will be my usual vibrant color choices all across the cards. But, I am limiting the palette to 2-3 hues per card though I will be using the value spectrum from the hue. For each of the three elements, I would create 5-6 paintings. Though that might change depending on how much I get done within the class time.
As for inspiration from two contemporary artists, Aliza Nisenbaum and Rashid Johnson both provide unique approaches to their themes of representing culture and social justice. Rashid Johnson’s work, it mainly revolves around using his work as a way to discuss issues of African American identity and history. I’ve been to one of his exhibits before, in the Milwaukee Art Museum, and was interested in the way he communicated his message. Also, despite the abstract appearance of his work and the different use of installation and mediums, it all looked consistent. I’d like to incorporate ways to address social issues in my paintings, particularly in the skeletal figures. In Aliza Nisenbaum’s work, I was inspired by her use of social justice and colorful textures. Most of her work is portraits of her students and immigrants from Mexico and Central America. She uses vibrant colors and patterned backgrounds. Her general usage of color and texture is a good source of inspiration for me because it reminds me of what I do. In particular, her painting, Las Talaveritas, is a good example of her overall work. It has a mainly blue palette but with touches of other colors in the smaller details. There is also a lot of texture and pattern in the background but it isn’t overwhelmed with it. Both Nisenbaum and Johnson provide good inspiration for my lotería cards idea for potential subject ideas.