From one hop to another, I make my own path

 

Large roosters traveling by pogo sticks. Mexican rancheros traveling on flying horses, powered by Duracell batteries. These imaginative pieces of work are the newest creations of graduate student Juan Mora, an up and-coming printmaking artist.

Mora’s art show opens this Thursday, Nov  3. Mora, like other grad students, has prepared for his MFA thesis show for two years. The show will feature 11 prints, all of which are monochromatic. The show will be at Satellite Space, UTSA’s off campus gallery at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Complex.

“The theme of the show is relating to the Mexican-American culture. You will find a lot of made up, shaking vehicles,” Mora said. “I’m not sure in real life if they would work, I think so.”

Mora has a wily smile on his face, as if he is holding back, trying hard not to laugh.

“The way I express myself through my art is to portray something funny, but at the end if you put it together it is actually going to have a meaning related to my culture.”

His work is dream-like, exciting and imaginative. Mora’s prints show an incredible attention to detail. It is easy to see his talent for space and concept.

Mora’s work reflects the influence of Jose Guadalupe Posada, Mexican cartoonist and artist who used his art as propaganda. Mora alludes to Posada’s work using some of the same techniques to reference his own identity. 

“I want to go more into the traditional, something that relates to my culture,” Mora said.

Mora has a lot to say about his own culture and finding his identity as he moved from Mexico to Laredo and later to San Antonio to attend UTSA.

“Nowadays a lot of people consider me a part of the Chicano movement, the Post-Chicanos. I do not consider myself a Chicano, and I don’t consider myself a Mexicano because my themes don’t fit in either. Border Art-maybe I will coin that term.”

 Border culture. Hybrid culture. Mexico and American culture. “I am trying to put it together,” he said.  “A lot of what my life revolves around is assimilation.”

 In Mora’s formative years in Mexico, and even Laredo, many people used what they had to get by. Mora’s work reflects this lifestyle and his assimilation into American culture.

In his childhood, they had to be resourceful. A lot of what Mora discusses in his own work is how his family survived by using this resourcefulness to create what they needed, rather than by going out and buying something new. Not throwing something away because it is broken, just to buy the newest greatest thing.

“Grabbing what they can find in their surroundings, to make it work,” said Mora. “This is something that is not taboo, in my culture. We see it. We love it. It is part of us. That is the way we live.”

“I think that what I am trying to do is to educate, investigate why these things are here. My intention is for you to explore it, find things that make you like it. If there are things you don’t understand, you need to explore them.”

Mora presses his fingers against each ridge of the litho-block. An incredible look of pure enjoyment shines on his face. Those blocks are his babies, his children. The work that he goes through to create such beautiful prints is a hard process, but it is easy to see that it comes with great rewards.

 

 

Juan Mora’s work can be seen at UTSA’s Satellite space in the blue Star Contemporary Arts Complex. the show will be free of admission and open to the public until Nov. 20.

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