Recently, I completed the first of what I hope will be many projects here in my hometown of San Jose, California on 8th & Empire Streets. Juan Carlos Araujo of Empire Seven Studios partnered with me to manage it all, and also to gather assistance from neighbors, and local youth intervention service programs which made this a full on community involved Public Art Project.
Having just completed a solo show where I was asked to create pieces about San Francisco’s Mission District, I felt excited to come home and do something based on San Jose. Initially not knowing what that would be, I started out by revisiting this wall which I had painted years ago. Although this new piece was unfunded, Juan Carlos and I still felt the urge to get started on what we think could be an ongoing series. A lot of my work opportunities come from outside of San Jose, so it felt great to be here painting and receiving love from the neighbors, especially those who Bar B Qued for us!
On this wall, there is a portrait of my own daughter who goes to school nearby, and my friend’s daughter who lives a few blocks away. This recent wall marks the first of many that I plan to do which will depict the unique cultural landscape of San Jose through observations and interviews of its residents. My goal is to seek out actual neighborhood faces and elements—both past and present—by taking photos, observing each area and getting to know the individuals who live there. This will inform the content of the images, but more importantly, result in pieces that could only be found in San Jose.