Courtesy of Joepenastudio.org
My work explores elements of ethnic identity, including aspects of cultural, familial and social issues, relating to my Mexican heritage. The subject matter, portrayed through various elements of still life, portraiture, and urban landscapes, are a further reference and exploration into personal narratives, as well as traditional and contemporary Mexican customs.
Currently, my work is exploring the use of Nightscapes based on food trucks, store fronts, and other similar venues used as a metaphor for the notion of home as an internal sense of place, not merely a physical location.
Prior to receiving my MFA Degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2005, I was recruited to assist in the formation of a contemporary art gallery entitled MB Modern in New York City which operated for six years before relocating its business to Houston, TX. Following that, I worked at Babcock Galleries (now Driscoll/Babcock Galleries) for four years, which at the time had celebrated its 150th year as a leader in American Modernism and had the distinct privilege of being the oldest gallery in New York City. Both experiences fostered a strong appreciation for historical and contemporary art. Concurrently, I attended private classes with instructors who continued to teach traditional painting and drawing processes which strengthened my studio practices. Living in New York City for such a long period of time, I realized upon my return how distinctive and captivating Texas is. Its culture, traditions, and of course artistic heritage are all unique. In 2006, I was recruited by the City of Corpus Christi to serve in the Department of Public Art and shortly thereafter, assumed the role of Gallery Director at TAMU-CC. Currently I am Associate Professor of Art where I continue to teach traditional methods of painting while also encouraging experimentation. My work has been featured in numerous print and online publications including Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection, Los Tejanos: Chicano Art from the Collection of Cheech Marin, Guitar Aficionado, Texas Monthly, The Los Angeles Times, The Austin American Statesman, ArtScope New England, and Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. Selected collections include the Cheech Marin Collection of Art, Los Angeles, CA; James Hutson, Los Angeles, CA; The Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, Hamilton, OH; La Universidad de Oaxaca, Oaxaca City, Mexico; and the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX.