The smell of damped dirt gets picked up by the warm breeze as it enters my lungs. Our house in Totatiche is on Calle Seminario, if you follow it into town it stops directly in front of the church, but if you follow it out into el rancho, it curves and dips through hills and rivers until you reach Temastian. I have set up a binary outside my home, but choose to stay in between. I pace in circles pondering my extended history. Slowly my feet dig an inverted tower, and I fill the walls with arte meztiza: mixed mediums, mixed ideas… mixed messages.
Erick Ureña graduated from UCLA with a double major in Art and English. While at UCLA , he received the Martha Matthias Denny Scholarship for “outstanding artistic and academic achievement.” After graduating he took on the role as Visual Arts teacher for a middle school, and is currently an English teacher at a high school.
During my first quarter at UCLA I took a Chicane Literature class. Throughout that quarter I felt continually reassured in my own in-betweeness. I began to grow a context through which I was able to understand my own sense of incongruity within my religious and ethnic identities. During this time I heavily relied on theory to try to make sense of my life: my studies, my work, my relationships and my emotions.
At the same time, I was feeling a sense of (stagnancy) during my first year as an English major. Although I was participating in discussions that I held a great interest in, the digital void that consumed my essays after my work was done left me feeling (sad/un-producing?). I wanted to physicalize my ideas in more tangible ways. As a result, the summer after my first year in college I took my first two art classes in my life: Beginning Ceramics and Beginning Photography. Although the classes were more technical in the summer than during the school year, I grew to feel at home in the hallways and studios of the art school.
The following fall I took a video production class offered by the Art school. For my final work in the class I created a chaotic combination of video and sound that explored the side effects of sex-commidification in sex work. Although the six minute video is now lost, the vigor and breath of the work propelled me into a deep and continuing relationship with the New Genres department. In New Genres my theoretical impulses guided me, always
The act of creating art always coincided with its active criticism: is this work necessary when considering the narrative of art history?