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Title: Sueños Reflejan – Medium: Pencil on Paper – Year: 2009 Artist: Eduardo Montalvo
Sueños Reflejan is a drawing I created back in early 2009, a time where I was having a difficult moment accepting myself for being a gay male. A majority of my life I feared that I would not only be looked down upon for being a gay male but also be neglected by friends & family. I remember waking up & looking at myself in the mirror feeling guilty & disgusted because media portrayed gay men as weaker beings, I refused to be looked at as someone weak. I kept telling myself “this is a phase, you’re young and don’t know what you want”. Many scenarios went through my head, the thought of me being looked at as a gay male made me feel weak & ashamed to even attempt to express who I truly was. I was a gay male trapped in a body of lies portrayed by what the media wanted me to be. I remember having a lot of dreams, good and bad dealing with my sexuality. One dream I had stood out to me the most, causing me to draw this piece I titled Sueños Reflejan. Below is the description of what I dreamt about, after I’ll explain how I interpreted my dream
While I’m spinning in circles I look up towards the sky and see a lot of green trees. I began to slow down & focus on my surroundings, I then realize I’m in a jungle. I took a deep breath & began to walk slowly in a stealth like way. The thought of being watched & followed kept going on in the back of my mind, I then stopped & saw something ahead. I see these Aztec like men begin to come towards me with a sense of rage & creepiness, I immediately get scared. As they start running towards me I notice one of the Aztec men looking identical to me but seemed evil. I immediately began to run away from them as fast as I could, while I’m running away I began to think about why I was running away & why I couldn’t escape from these evil beings. Every direction that I looked my evil twin kept appearing, I looked left he was there, I looked right he was there. The aztec feathers he wore on his head began transforming into a clowns jester hat with bells on them. I also noticed each bell would fade words in & out while they glowed for half a second, one message I caught said “Me” the other said “Run”. As I kept running I noticed the Aztecs slowly disappear allowing me to also slow down & catch my breath. Right as I had stopped, I look towards the opposite direction & saw my evil twin standing right in front of me for two seconds. During those two seconds he smiled at me weird and then disappeared leaving dust behind. I finally woke up from my dream feeling frightened & weirded out by what just happened. After absorbing what I just experienced I immediately started writing about my dream.
The first thing you see in this drawing is the last thing I saw in my dream, my evil twin looking directly at me. I feel it was important to capture that image because those 2 seconds were probably the most terrifying for me but also woke me up to reality. He represents fear, courage & heroism because my dream depicted those feelings throughout my experience. I was in a way fighting with myself, fighting with reality of who I truly am. He represents the dark times I had along with the the courageous times I had as well. When I drew this piece I was still afraid to come out to friends and family and felt I needed to come out through my drawings. I wanted to come out but not in an obvious way, I then decided to express everything on paper. I interpreted me running away as me running away from my sexuality, thats why I feel I saw the word “Run”. The word run was incorporated on the jester hat near the bottom right side of my face. The bells represent “Me” (The first word I saw in my dream) being stuck in a bubble, in a sense I trapped myself from coming out to everyone. The bells that are broken represent me finally coming out of my shell and telling the world that I’m gay. Along with breaking that bell came pain & fear of not knowing what was going to happen next. Throughout the drawing you see random sentences appear, these sentences aren’t complete because in a sense its my secret, my confessions of me coming out. Part of me coming out I feel was a secret and didn’t want anyone to know yet, fear played a big role of that process. Theres also part of the jester hat that was not complete & only left outlined representing me not feeling complete/empty. The overall process of me coming out was difficult to overcome and knew that at the end of the day I would eventually have to look at myself and realize I need to free myself. I was my own hero and held the key to freeing myself, the only thing holding me back was myself. This dream was a big reflection of who I am & titled it Sueños Reflejan.
Title: M.I.A. – Medium: Pastels – Year: 2008 – Artist: Eduardo Montalvo
The sky is dirty, your surroundings are ghetto, the average image of your neighborhood growing up. The streets of Sunny Slope at night are alive with dodging bullets rushing to melt through your body. Babies, kids & teenagers are all growing up with no father figures to lead them onto the right path in life. I have created this surreal image titled M.I.A. (Missing In Action) as it helps me define life through personal experiences.
M.I.A. is introduced with a lot of visual movement & poetic writing in various places, explaining my personal experience while growing up in ghetto neighborhoods without a father. To capture the image of urban life & loneliness, I used urban colors & space between certain objects. Towards the right side of the painting is a young boy sitting down with his hand slightly by his head, smiling with makeup covering his mouth. If you look closely the makeup covers a sad frown the young boy has. The young boy represents loneliness & somewhat of a front to the viewer. He tries lying about being happy by covering his sad face with a smile covered in purple clown like makeup. In reality the boy is hurting because his father’s missing. To the left of the boy is a human face representing the young boy’s father who’s at a distance from him. The image of his father is partially deteriorated representing his loss of character, personality & self being. The center of the art piece has an image of a blurry clown, this to me represented my thoughts growing up. I remember having conversations with my father & not feeling right about what he said to me. He always ended up being the person who gave me bad advice resulting into me being brainwashed with negativity. There were parts of me that missed him but others that made me realize he was better off not being in my life.
An interesting image I added is a small white mouse running down the boys shirt. The mouse represents the young boy trying to hide his feelings from everyone around him. Running away from my feelings seemed easy at that time but never concluded to any good. The use of squares & rectangular covered shapes represent the young boy’s thoughts. These thoughts are left untold & more for open interpretation to engage the viewer in the art piece. The young boy was painted behind a fence, illustrating the boy hiding from the viewer & being afraid to show any emotion towards anyone. Part of growing up was dealing with pride & ego’s, the last thing I wanted was to be looked down upon. There were times where I felt showing any emotion near my father was bad. It’s almost as if at any point I showed any feelings, my “machismo-ness” would be questioned. At times I felt trapped with no way to show my feelings leading to me being angry.
The odd shaped puzzle pieces represent parts of the young boy’s life he hasn’t discovered yet. It was important for me to have odd shaped puzzle pieces because I felt that during my childhood a lot was going on around me. There were times where parts of my life were going well & others where life didn’t make any sense. This translates to the puzzle pieces having to fit but not fitting at all, symbolically talking about my life. The mixture between green, yellow & brown capture the feeling of an urban sky, giving the viewer a feel for the atmosphere I grew up in. Though growing up in Sunny Slope was tough, it made me who I am today & allowed me to understand life from a struggling perspective.