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Enrique Chagoya: Painter and Print-maker - Research Paper Example

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As an artist and a print-maker, Chagoya has been deeply involved in observing and recording this process, particularly as it has been affected by Mexico's nearest, most powerful neighbor, the United States. Working as an artist in the United States since 1977, Chagoya has produced a corpus of works that continuously question the various influences that have played a role in his life and so many others' lives. Some of these influences are strictly cultural, but many cross the lines between religion, mythology, politics and current events. To understand his artwork, it is necessary to have some concept of the various iconographies of the different nations he represents and why he so often places these images in direct opposition to each other. By examining some of the history of the regions he reflects, it is possible to glean meaning from his artwork and to see how this artwork has an effect on his viewers and the greater society at large. Some artists create images that have very little correlation to the images they produce, but Chagoya's work depends heavily on understanding the historical/cultural context from which it springs. As a young child, Chagoya was already steeped in the cultural oppositions that surrounded him. Cared for by a Nahua nanny who spoke with him in her native Nahuatl language and living with his banker father, he was already caught sometime between the ancient past of Central American culture and the hectic present of the capitalistic world (Cadge-Moore, 260; Chagoya, 2012). The Nahua are considered to be the original indigenous peoples of Mexico, descendents of the Toltecs and the Aztecs among other early civilizations, so it is likely Chagoya's early childhood bedtime stories included many of the myths and legends of these ancient people (Lockhart, 1996). His interest in art was also started early thanks to his father, who relaxed in the evenings with his painting and taught his son the basics of drawing and color theory. However, like his father, Chagoya did not envision art as his primary future occupation. When the time came, he enrolled in the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, majoring in political economy while he put his artistic talents to use within the pages of the student and union newsletters (Chagoya, 2012). His political views were shaped to a great degree by his experiences directing a team focused on rural-developmental projects in Veracruz and as a union organizer for farm workers in San Juan, Texas. Of these experiences, he told Steven Nash, it was "an incredible growing experience ... [that] made me form strong views on what was happening outside in the world" (24). Art didn't become his main focus until Chagoya was 25 years old and moved to Berkeley, California, supporting himself as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. This is a position that requires an individual to stay in touch with the shifts of culture and social events happening at all times and started a habit that would carry him through art school and into the world of the professional artist. Bringing his past and present together within his work has created a number of controversial artworks that continuously question assumed beliefs and values. One such work, entitled Crossing 1 (1994), mixes popular U.S. superhero Superman with equally popular ancient Aztec god Tlaloc in a way that expresses modern American's ...Show more
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Instructor name Date Enrique Chagoya: Painter and Print-maker It is often remarked that those most recognized for their artistic talent or vision are those who have lived in exciting times politically or otherwise. Such is the case regarding Enrique Chagoya…
Enrique Chagoya: Painter and Print-maker
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