PACO VELEZ




Click to view more images from this portfolio UNDER THE BORDER/BAJO LA FRONTERA

I was born and raised in Nogales Sonora Mexico and educated in the United States. I currently live and work in and around this area were my family still resides.. The social, cultural, political and economic tensions (and contradictions) of the U.S./Mexico border has informed my artistic expression through multiple disciplines: painting, installation, drawing, video, sculpture and performance. My current work investigates the landscape in the idiom of borders, relating it to the postitive and the negative experiences connected to border life and issues. It explores the complex idealogies and sentiments of anti-immigrant movements of the U.S./Mexico border region and directs criticism toward the Mexican goverment for its utter failure in providing a safe and dignified life for its populace within their own homeland. It also examines the shared human experiences within a border region that has been transformed in the post 9-11 erainto a full-fledged militarized zone. My art, which has included the developing of a visual vocabulary in which I use Rabbits as a signifier of the legal, illegal, and lower socio-economical class of the Latin and Indegenous population that resides in Mexico and the United States by visually juxtaposing that imagery through what can be deemed as art performance/ art intervention and visual art documentation I hope to accomplish a social commentary on the daily issues faced on border towns such as Nogales.

Click to view more images from this portfolio Rascuache

Amalia Mesa-Bains, artist and writer, writes that "In rasquachismo, the irreverent and spontaneous are employed to make the most from the least... one has a stance that is both defiant and inventive. Aesthetic expression comes from discards, fragments, even recycled everyday materials... The capacity to hold life together with bits of string, old coffee cans, and broken mirrors in a dazzling gesture of aesthetic bravado is at the heart of rasquachismo."

Click to view more images from this portfolio TERATOLOGY

TUCSON WEEKLY "Escape and Overload" Paco Velez deals with two cultures in his life and in his art By MARGARET REGAN PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 1, 2007: The installation, "Teratology: The Study of Human Monsters," re-creates the border wall in all its barbed and sheet-metal ugliness. Traditional Mexican holy objects--burning candles, statues of the saints, photos of ancestors--turn the work into a shrine. On an altar, a mannequin is dressed as El Niño de Atocha, the patron saint of travelers often invoked by crossers slipping over the international line. Velez uses the rabbit--quick, smart, vulnerable--as a metaphor for the migrant. In "Exe/cute," a painting that made it into the competitive Tucson Museum of Art Biennial this spring, a bleeding rabbit has been impaled by barbed wire. A menacing Minuteman with a swastika on his helmet aims a gun at the critter, who keeps a helpless cartoon grin on his face. In "Teratology," five mutilated children's plush bunnies hang on the walls. Their ears and paws are torn off, their stomachs ripped open. Painted blood drips down from each one. The rabbits stand in for the corpses yielded up by the desert, "unknowns" and "desconocidos" in the language of border medical examiners. Velez has done them the courtesy of naming them Juan or Juanita Doe, and labeled each with an age and cause of death. Juanita Doe, 14, a bunny whose ear and front legs have been torn off, was "raped and dismembered by coyotes (smugglers)," he notes on a label. Juan Doe, 27, swathed in barbed wire, suffered a "cruel and unusual punishment" at the hands of Mexican soldiers. Velez is at home in both the U.S. and Mexico, and he doesn't let his native land off the hook for the deaths. A furious diatribe on one wall, all in Spanish, attacks Mexico for allowing the hemorrhage of its poorest across the border, sometimes to die, leaving widows and orphans behind.