My art practice explores the materiality, technique, and artistic potential of handmade paper. My mantra for this series was “Todo Hecho a Mano,” or “Everything Handmade.” Through my papermaking practice, I investigated the technical design of Papel Amate by the Otomi Peoples and incorporated the use of modern materials and locally sourced natural elements. I created a hybridized medium that transcends cultures and borders, exactly as I, a Fronteriza do.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Growing up Mexican-American during the ’90s in a quiet Colonia in Palmview Texas, provided a safe shelter I will always appreciate. As the youngest daughter in a single-parent household, I followed my mom like a shadow all my childhood. My earliest memories include helping her at her job as a laundromat attendant during the weekends and cleaning Winter-Texan’s trailer park mess halls, and their homes on school nights. “Vamos con Los Viejitos,” were the words I sometimes dreaded, but those evenings cleaning as a means to survive were the ones that opened my eyes to a different world and taught me the importance of education.
My introduction to art began in many of those nights in the Winter Texan Mess Halls. I would pay attention to the paintings residents would bring, illustrating landscapes from their hometowns up north. I was also fascinated with their vast collection of National Geographic magazines. I’d flip through them looking at photographs from around the world. Through those glimpses, or “vistazos” I believe I developed an eye for basic concepts of artistic composition.
During my adolescence, I focused on photography and graphic design. I earned my bachelor’s degree and have been working in the public school setting as a teacher for Language Arts and Art History for the past five years. I am currently working towards my MFA in Studio Art at the University of Texas -Rio Grande Valley.
In my artistic practice I explore the materiality of media I use in my work. “Todo Hecho a Mano” has been my mantra lately as I focus on creating hand made paper that has the potential to become a piece of artwork itself and media to be used as compositional elements in collage. I have explored different coloration methods for paper pulp using natural and synthetic dyes. I have also incorporated the use of locally sourced elements in nature that hold cultural significance. Through this premeditative process I strive to create multi-faceted layers of meaning in my artwork.
My professional goals begin with becoming a better artist. I strive to continue making artwork that is meaningful and can contribute to the amazing creations of Chicano Art. My goals also include working at the collegiate level as a professor in the university setting. I want to inspire students in my community to become receptive to art, understand it, and enable them to use their creative abilities to the fullest. After completing the master’s program my goals are to continue my education and earn a Ph.D. in art education to improve my teaching skills and to serve my community by expanding fine arts programs in schools. Ultimately, I strive to support students to reach their potential and improve their quality of life through education in the arts.
© Karla Gabriela De La Fuente