Sep. 1 @ 12:00 pm – Sep. 30 @ 12:00 pm
About the Artist
Juan Carlos Escobedo (B.1985 El Paso,TX) explores his identity as a brown, Mexican-American raised in a low-socioeconomic community along the US/Mexico border. His work addresses residual class and race shame that arises from living in a predominantly white structured United States which favors light-skinned individuals and middle-class and above socioeconomic classes. He addresses this through the HouseMan Adventures and the x J.ESC apparel. He also addresses his experience as a queer brown male through the Emoji Tarot cards and and Fruity Men digital collages.
Escobedo received his BFA from New Mexico State University and MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work has recently been exhibited in San Antonio at Blue Star Contemporary, Centro de Artes, and The Southwest School of Art; in Boston at MassArt X SOWA; and in Darmstadt Germany at Darmstädter Sezession for The World Heritage Festival. His work has been recognized through awards and grants, including a Collective Futures Fund Grant from Tufts University Art Galleries: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as a consultant; an Actos de Confianza Grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures; a Luminaria Artist Foundation Professional Development Grant; and a residency with Casa Lü in Mexico City, Mexico.
My work explores my identity as a bordertown brown person from a lower-class background in a predominantly “white” structured world. I have chosen to display selected works from “The Houseman” Series, “Cardboard by J.ESC”, and the “Repisitas” Series. These series explore my background as a lower-class Mexican-American, residual class/race shame, psychological homelessness, and liminality (depending on the works discussed).
The common thing that all of these objects and images have is my commitment to cardboard as a material for making. This originated in graduate school, which was a predominantly white, middle class(and above) institution located in Boston, MA—a stark difference from the very brown, Spanish speaking border town of El Paso, TX. I began using this material because of its availability, practicality, and zero cost. As I used it more, people reacted by overly questioning its presence, encouraged me to eradicate its brown identity, or were simply offended by it. Something that peers using “traditional” materials were not scrutinized for. Similarly, during my time as a grad student, my identity as a poor brown person was met with similar reactions to the cardboard—my citizenship was questioned, I was encouraged to diminish my “brownness”, and people felt uncomfortable discussing my socio-economic background. This put my identity into perspective and forced me to dissect the implications of my presence in spaces that were not originally aimed at people with my background.
As a result, I felt more determined to use this material. Not only because it is a viable making substance, but because its identity is charged with preconceived perceptions and physical characteristics similar to mine. It is important for me to use it as an actual and implied structure for my art. This is because the perceptions of the material parallel the phenomena I discuss in my work. Finally, it forces the audience and myself to analyze perceptions of brownness and accept the richness of this identity.
Changarrito Instagram Live Interview
You’re invited to Mexic-Arte Museum’s Changarrito Instagram Live event with artist Juan Carlos Escobedo on Thursday, September 29th from 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm CST, taking place virtually through the Museum’s Instagram account @mexic_arte! Isabel Servantez, Mexic-Arte Museum’s Curator of Exhibitions and Director of Programs, will facilitate the virtual event with a series of questions directed at the artist including a Q&A taking place during the last 20 minutes of the event.