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2017—the year in review

I am finishing up 2017 in the same way I began it—humbled and grateful of all the people that I've collaborated with, jazzed about all the exhibits I've participated in, excited about the upcoming exhibit opportunities and preparing/planning with new works and media directions on the horizon for 2018.

The winter into spring of 2017 found me meeting up with L.A. David Vato Cosmico planning for the Riverside show, testing new textile printing patterns for an upcoming print, dealing with absurd tooth pain, beginning a more intense cooking documentation routine, attending the Women's March in Austin with Kim Bishop and Alicia Helton, getting the A3 Printing Crew back (this included student volunteers from Kim Bishop's Thomas Jefferson High School Art Class) together for a Large Scale Pop-Up at Lone Star Studios to print Ricky Armendariz's DoSeum installation textile prints.

I began a triptych in the mid-spring period that later surfaced into one of my proposals for a public art piece in San Antonio that I got short-listed for. It was for a railroad bridge crossing in a neighborhood. The public piece opportunity came with a very short turn around for the presentation—this was definitely one of those situations where the deadline was not going to be extended. A site visit, drawings and super imposed concept marker mock-ups were needed for my presentation. Packaging and shipping off the work for the Riverside show went without a hitch. A little switch in media happened when Kim Bishop and I rendered an image on ceramic plates to be auctioned off for a fundraiser. Jose Esquivel is my mentor, we have conversations about All-Things-Art. We also run into each other at H-E-B and remind each other to buy garbage bags—Ha!!! The very first anthology of Chicano Futurism was released in the Fall: Altermundos-Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture and Cathryn Merla-Watson Phd. presented on it at the San Antonio Book Festival held at the Southwest School of Art. My friend Michael Witzel passed away and we held a memorial for him with the help of David Zamora-Casas and Laura Varela in the Lone Star Art Studios and at La Botanica on St. Mary's Street.

During Summer 2017 I used the grounds at the home studio to shoot some concept photos using my skulls. Cody Vance and Polo Calimag were part of the Veterano Team that assembled to move the Veteran Door Sculptures to the Commander's House in San Antonio. Later we celebrated there in a 4th of July ceremony. Kim Bishop and I were the premier exhibit with Felipe Reyes for the new location of the Aanna Reyes Gallery on North San Pedro near North Star Mall. For 6 days in July we hosted the Spanish muralist group SurVibe that Luminaria brought in to paint a few murals around town. They Stayed at our Air BnB for a week while they painted murals around town. We joined them on a rest break at Dorćol and for their first introduction to Tex-Mex food at Mi Tierra Cafe. We finished up their visit by going to eat at Mi Tierra Restaurant at Market Square. At the end of July I accomplished what I waited 7 years to do—go to a Roger Waters Concert with Kim Bishop—it was well worth it at the AT&T Arena and the highlight of my summer especially considering the year's events.

Fall found us at the Mundos Alternos Exhibit at UCArtsBlock(Riverside CA) Part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Exhibit “Mundos Alternos—Art and Science Fiction in the Americas” exhibit dates are 09.16.17— 02.03.18 reception 09.30.17 6-8pm at the UCR|ARTSblock in Riverside California. There is an exhibit art book available and I highly recommend it (the link to purchase one will follow shortly). This major national/international exhibition includes 7 San Antonio artists — Claudio Dicochea, L. A. David, Luis “Chispas” Guerrero, Deborah Kuetzpalin Vasquez, Paul Karam, Raul Servin, Luis Valderas. Kim Bishop and I traveled to the event opening with Luis Chispas Guerrero and met up with L.A. David and the rest of the Project:MASA group (Laura Molina and Sergio Hernandez) that made it into the show. We got interviewed for the video documentary—yay!!! We also appreciated the support of Ricky Armendariz showing up to the opening night too. Rob Hernandez and Tyler Stallings were great hosts to the Texas group and we hope to visit/work with them again. As soon as we got back Kim Bishop and I got asked to do a piece for ArtPaces' Chalk-It-Up Festival. I continued hand-coloring the large woodcut-Volando Como Cuahutemoc and finally finished it. The piece is now available for purchase. I was commissioned by ArtPace to create a Dia de Los Muertos Altar for Linda Pace in the very first ever Dia de Los Muertos Festival at the Historic Pearl. I collaborated with my Mom, Victoria Moctezuma Valderas (she still runs a flower shop down South in McAllen), to use wreaths that she made out of ribbon and silk flowers in combination with sculptures I made of styro-foam and ceramics for an arrangement of Strawberry Skulls. Together with videographer/artist Luis M. Garza it was installed and video footage recorded including two evenings of a virtual testimony for a modern virtual Dia de Los Muertos Altar. I also released my first recipe video on how to make salsa the way my mother taught me. You can expect more of those and eventually a whole collection of these how-to cooking videos. The rocket is an iconic form that I will further be exploring and manipulating especially with the series of blue photos that I took during a session of photo research that I was conducting.

Now during this winter break it is Studio Season!!! I am working in the studio with Kim Bishop and finishing up the mold for the rocket while she finishes up her San Antonio 300 art piece that she will be exhibiting at the Southwest School of Art in the Spring of 2018. My San Antonio 300 piece will be at the Carver in the Spring too. I will be casting rockets out of clay and also exhibiting them in a show with Kim Bishop in the Spring of 2018!!!!

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