Jose Delgado Zuniga

I consistently fail to live up the lineages of American painters and Mexican muralists. It is only through making art and failing in those ideals, that I can momentarily unify both identities.  To be a Mexican American in the trump era means that I have to be more American than Americans and more Mexican than Mexicans.  In the work  “More Americans than gringos“ the title is an expression of the present political climate of my Mexican and American heritage. The work is invigorated by Mexican Corridos which are narrative songs and poems often about oppression, spirituality, God, history, daily life, and other socially relevant topics. The lyrics in the painting translate to invader, white man, and sons of Anglo-Saxon.  The lyrics come from the Mexican Norteño band Los Tigres del Norte song titled Somos Mas Americanos. This Corrido is about the history of the eight Mexican states that were stolen and the lack of respect, and dignity towards the native populations that live in the Southwest long before the occupation of the Anglos Saxons.

While trump’s America points the finger at my other heritage as a problem, I am pressured to choose sides and left feeling mentally paralyzed. It is as if I am the spectator of a boxing event and I am both fighters and the referee; I am the trainers, I am the commentators, I am the security guards and the sports fans.  What is left is my failure to be a proud Mexican and failure to be an American.  The paintings titled “Frankenstein”  are a bricolage of historic painted imagery that haunts our present.  Then the history of mainstream white America that has failed to understand the voices of people of color while reinforcing the criminalization of Black and Brown bodies. What they see is an other, misunderstanding the language we speak as noise and alien, unable to recognize as human.

The rejection of brotherhood and sisterhood from mainstream white America has resulted in the creation of shared bondages among people of color. My undergraduate series of paintings  transforms the grooming practices of Black and Brown men into shape and form have been generated through discussions of these shared bondages of identity, icons, and communal spaces. The Barbershop is a communal space where men of color, specifically Black and Brown Latinos come together for an aesthetic propose. Grooming practices such as line ups, tapers, and fades are prevalent among Black and Brown Latino men; it is their gesture of brotherhood. Hair and fashions have allowed them to express themselves as an individual and part of a collective. My trajectory as an artist has been to cooperate my Mexican American identity between barriers of cultures, which have been historically opposed but unify in the act of making. The work itself is evidence of my identity beyond binaries.

(b. 1988 In Ventura CA)

2017, MFA painting at Columbia University School of the Visual Arts
2015, BFA in painting from Otis College of Art and Design

Awards and Scholarship
2016-2017 Columbia University Visiting Artist Lecture Fellowship
2016 Robert Gamblin Fellowship
2015-2017 Columbia University Visual arts program Scholarship
2012- 2015 Otis College of Art and Design Institutional scholarship
2012 Honorable mentions award for painting from the Buenaventura Art association
2011 Oxnard College Scholarship for Painting and 2 dimensional design
2009 Ventura College Friends of the Arts Scholarship

Group Exhibitions

Summer Show Columbia MFA 2017, False Flag Gallery, Long Island City, NY
Columbia University Thesis Exhibition, Wallach Art Gallery in the Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University, NYC, NY
Southland, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Finished Goods, Pfizer Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY
First Year MFA Exhibition, Miriam and Ira D Wallach Gallery Columbia University, New York City, NY
World money Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
We Are, Lobby Gallery 725 s Spring St, Los Angeles, CA
Gripper Multi-purpose Dulux Ultra Semi- Gloss, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA
La Bulla, Plaza De La Raza, Los Angeles, CA
570-590: Group Show, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA
enneagram, Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA
Yard Sale, Boslky Gallery, Otis College of Art Design, Los Angeles, CA
2014 Junior Show, Galef building, Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles, CA
The Oxnartians have return, McNish Art Gallery Oxnard College, Oxnard, CA
The Oxnartians have landed, 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA
El velorio, KGB Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2012 Oxnard College student show, McNish Art Gallery Oxnard College, Oxnard, CA 24th Annual Open Competition, Buena Ventura Art Gallery, Ventura, CA
Versa, 343 A Project Space, Ventura CA
Los Doce, McNish Art Gallery, Oxnard, CA
De colores, Santa Paula Museum of Art, Santa Paula, CA
2008 Student show, Gallery 2 Ventura College, Ventura, CA
Selected Murals
Red and Yellow on top, Elliot Arts Magnet School 21’x 12’ – Altadena, CA 2015 Believe, Ramona Gardens Gym 9’x 12’ – Los Angeles, CA 2013
Fresh Mex, Fresh Mex Bar and Grill 17’x 20’- Oxnard, CA 2010
El Rodeo, El Rodeo Community Center 48’x 12’ – Oxnard, CA 2009