M A R I E L B A Y O N A
San Francisco Based Artist/Tattoo Artist
From: Cd. Juárez, Chih. México
BFA Painting - 2012
MFA Sculpture - 2014
San Francisco Art Institute
“They are so stubbornly undetermined that they can barely be called monsters..” - Leonora Carrington
There is no such thing as a “pure blood” race in contemporary society. Migration and globalization have led to the formation of multicultural countries where race is so mixed, it makes young generations question and examine which specific lineages they belong.
Based on mystical animal hybrids and elements of Mexican folklore and folk art, my work reflects this issue—seeking identity within modern fractured culture. These native creatures, or as I call them “Tescuani”, are a break between the fantastic and the real while they inhabit an uncanny setting, a space of liminality.
The analogy of animal hybridity is a representation of my own background and lineage.
I grew up between two countries, born in the United States, raised primarily in Mexico. Growing up on either side of this border brought me advantages, one being bilinguality. This duality of language opened up my interest in the concept of “language” and led to a questioning of the duality of communication between the written word and images/art. My characters address these social issues by mixing discrete universal symbols with traditional aztec zodiac signs. I choose symbols from the aztec “Sun Calendar” and combine them with other symbols from other cultures and times with similar meanings to create a kind of super symbol. I am interested in connecting and creating dialogue of the common thinking and expression of humankind, the abstraction and history of meanings, and making them relatable in a unanimous way. These combinations create what I call a “connected visual-language” of cultures and time.
I employ the technique of automatic drawing as well as a meditative process of repetitive movement to create intricate patterns. All of my drawings start from the illustration of the eye and the rest of the Tescuani arise from my subconscious, so the process is highly important to the body of work. I have the same philosophy with my sculpture and ceramic works, which is to represent pattern making through the reproduction of shape and animal alteration through the collected images stored in memory.
My practice and current body of work include large-scale drawings, sculpture, and ceramics. Every piece is highly detailed and labor intensive. Every piece brings something different to the viewer due to the variance of symbols and content of meanings and semiology. The purpose of the work is for the creatures to be unique to the viewer, but universal at the same time.