Artist Victor Maldonado grew up in California and spent much of his childhood going back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico, where his parents were from. That experience, the feeling of being an outsider in both countries, has recently manifested in several projects.
Most recently, he’s been taken by the Mexican lucha wrestling masks. Maldonado sees the masks as symbols of an ethnic stereotype — one that makes him uncomfortable, but that also seems fertile to explore and examine through his art. He’s been exploding concepts of identity through social media postings of his lucha-wearing alter ego, MadMex.
Recently, the project took on a new dimension. Maldonado was granted a residency at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts to work with master printmaker Frank Janzen on prints featuring the lucha masks. The pair spent two weeks coming up with vibrant works featuring silhouettes of the masks. Maldonado saw the medium as a good fit for the project:
“I thought, let’s really take advantage of how flat prints are, I mean stereotypes are really flat. And when you know somebody all you can tell is that silhouette. And then you get to know them, and you see the difference, you see how they’re not like the stereotype.”
Tune in to State of Wonder on Saturday, August 2 at 12pm on OPB Radio when Victor Maldonado joins us as guest curator.