Your grandmother starred in Translation, your video in 1999 that featured her translating Japanese soap operas for you on film. Thatís pretty cool that you collaborated with her to make an important piece of work. Was she instrumental in inspiring you to be an artist?
My grandmother is awesome. She watched that video for 3 hours straight with her dictionary in her lap and did not get up from the couch until she translated that whole thing. Going to visit her was always an inspiration because she had all her batik work up and my grandfatherís sand paintings were up on the wall too. My grandparents were really talented.
I read that your grandmother also did beautiful embroidery and knitting work. Was that something that influenced you to work with the handkerchiefs?
Ahahah, no. Growing up in the Mission there was a lot of exposure to prison arts as well. Iím not sure if itís the proximity to San Quentin, the gang culture in the mission or what, but I remember my friends and I would copy the art we saw in Teen Angel Magazine. It was this Latino Arts magazine that showed lots of handkerchief ballpoint pen art from jail. They were the most incredible detailed drawings in ink and some of my first reference material. Most of the imagery was of low-riders, Aztec warriors, naked girls on cars, etc. It came full circle in college when a friend was curating a prison art show and I saw some of the handkerchief pieces again. I remembered how I tried to copy them and decided to do a series of my own friends, which lead to pop icons etc.
Did your use of silver foil paper and glitter in the more recent paintings come from your familyís interest in producing crafts?
Iím not sure about this. It is a possibility but Iím thinking itís maybe more of a pop art reference.