eric almanza

...subversive chicanx figurative painter...

Artist Statement:

My current body of work examines social and political issues such as Chicano identity, the criminalization of immigrants, urban life both present and future, and visualizes how they are weaved into the fabric of mainstream twenty-first century American society. Often it is said that Chicanos feel caught between cultures. Not fully American, yet at the same time unable to identify as Mexican. I was born in the United States to parents of Mexican ancestry and I have struggled my entire life justifying my identity to others as well as to myself. I am not fluent in Spanish and I am told that I don’t particularly “look Mexican”. With a plethora of labels such as American, Mexican, Mexican-American, Hispanic, Latino and Chicano in which I may use to categorize myself, one can see how I might struggle with the idea of self. Therefore, I craft my work through the lens of a Chicano Artist because it is the only label that seems to fit.

 

The calculated objective of my work is to revise what mainstream twenty-first century American society looks like with the inclusion of both immigrant and minority populations. Over the past 50 years the demographic of Los Angeles, California, and the nation has slowly shifted to a majority consisting of Latino Americans. However, that same demographic shift has not translated into the art world. My work continues to establish both the existence and relevancy of classically trained narrative painters who identify as Chicano, Mexican, or Latino American to the national artistic dialogue.

 

My work draws inspiration from traditional history and easel painting and artists such as Michelangelo Caravaggio, Jacques Louis David, Gustave Courbet, José Guadalupe Posada, David Alfaro Siqueros, Diego Rivera, John Valadez and Vincent Valdez.

 

I hold a BA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, a Secondary Teaching Credential from California State Dominguez Hills and an MFA in Figurative Painting from Laguna College of Art and Design. I keep an artist’s studio in the LBC and I teach fine art at HArts Academy of Los Angeles, a College Preparatory High School specializing in the Visual and Performing Arts in the Los Angeles Unified School District.