“América Utópica” is an ongoing art project that uses crowdsourced skin tones, data, language, and other materials to create mixed-media works that explore themes of race, migration, sense of belonging, identity between communities in the United States, and my indigenous identity.
When the confinement started in March 2020 in the U.S., my portraiture work was completely interrupted. Soon after, the socio-political situation in the U.S. took a turn over the death of George Floyd who was brutally murdered at the hands of the police. This situation made me shift during this period in the way I work. I began collecting images of skin tones via an open call to create work. My curiosity for skin tones steadily and expansively grew since I moved to the U.S. and had to fill a migration form for the first time, and then the United States Census.
"Shine America 2043” (2021) is a direct interpretation of the 2011 U.S Census data prediction, which states that all the non-white groups combined will be the majority by 2043; surpassing the white population in numbers and making up more than half of the U.S. population. Mirroring this data, I’ve created this color study mostly composed of skin complexion tones from people who self-identify as BIPOC and skin tones, minor in numbers, from people who self-identify as white. Each square represents the skin tone of a person who lives in the United States. Additionally, the participant’s first name is imprinted on each square. The work aims to show the diversity of the United States, to be a positive message of hope, and to question the actual space that is given to people of color in society.
“Hechos del Mismo Barro” mural (We Are Made from the same Clay) (2022) is a photographic mural that uses crowdsourced skin tones to represent the demographics of the city of Houston. It is composed of hundreds of four-inch square tiles ranging in hues from light tans to warm browns, blush pinks to dark browns arranged in order of how they were received to avoid hierarchy. By reducing the submitted skin tone photographs to colored squares, I look to convey our similarities and erase our differences as people.
The photographic mural is an ever-evolving work that changes according to the demographics of the city for which it is produced. Ultimately, the work becomes a demographic portrait that represents the diversity across regions.