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2018—the year in review

As 2018 comes to an end I find myself feeling grateful for all the new people that I met and hopeful for all the new opportunities that are coming up in 2019. The winter break between 2017 and 2018 was the casting debut of my Xiuhcoatl Series of cast rockets—I am officially in the "rocket manufacturing industry"!!! I made the slip casting molds for a paper mache' sculpture that I put on the shelf for 20 years. I had intended to make these rockets at the same time that I made my ceramic calaveras but it was not time for them. I am continuing to cast this series in order to incorporate it to the rest of my work.

About the Series:

Xiuhcoatl 1, Xiuhcoatl 2 , Xiuhcoatl 3 (10”x9”x9”) Ceramic sculpture 2018

In Aztec religion, Xiuhcoatl was a mythological serpent. It was regarded as the spirit form of Xiuhtecuhtli, the Aztec fire deity and was also an atlatl wielded by Huitzilopochtli. Xiuhcoatl is a Classical Nahuatl word that literally translates as "turquoise serpent"; it also carries the symbolic and descriptive meaning, "fire serpent". Space programs have a mythical gravitas that is the stuff of dreams. The dreams and belief in an idea bigger than us is the “Aha” moment that inspires humanity to escape the bounds of this “terra firme”. The stories/myths represent what it is to be human and the struggle with the eventual question of “why”. These myths are woven into our psyche and explain the before, the now and the after. As with the caravelle in the days of colonial exploration navigated the vast oceans the rocket jets through space— an ambiguous projectile. Why? Is it an exploration vessel or is it a munition? Does it represent life or death? Is it coming or going?

In February A3 traveled to Austin for the PrintAustin 2018 Festival. We took Texas Size Breach on the road and we did a dance print at The Elisabet Ney Museum. This was a new development on our large scale printing since we did not use an asphalt roller to make the prints and we displayed the textile print along Waller Creek which cuts the museum estate in half. It was like setting it up along a river. Many thanks to our friend Oliver Franklin-director of the Elisabet Ney Museum for inviting us to share this experience with the people of Austin.

Also in February Kim Bishop & I were selected by the New York Foundation for the Arts as mentors in their Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. This program is made possible with the support of the Ford Foundation. Thanks to our cultural partners in San Antonio: SAY Sí, Blue Star Contemporary, Artpace, City of San Antonio - Department of Arts and Culture, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. Jose Balli from Reynosa, Tamps. was the artist that I was selected to mentor. What a wonderful experience. Once again in 2019 I will be mentoring and in this case it will be 2 artists— Juan Flores and Juan C. Escobedo

In March I exhibited with Kim Bishop at Dock Space Gallery in a two person show titled "Om". She had the walls and I had the floor and the ceiling. I installed three of the Xiuhcoatl Rockets. The “VOZ: Selections from The UTSA Art Collection” Exhibit at the Centro de Artes was next on the calendar and it was part of the 300th Birthday celebration for San Antonio. It was curated by Arturo Almeida and it featured art from the UTSA Permanent Collection. In addition I was also one of the 300 artist selected to create an art piece for a specific year in San Antonio History—I made VOTE!-1961. That exhibition was held at the Carver Community Center in San Antonio. I was also asked to participate with 3 art pieces in The Other Side of the Alamo Exhibit curated by Ruben Cordoba at the Guadalupe Cultural Center.

In August I installed White Rocket Tezcatlipoca as part of a set for the Urban-15 video series "Hidden Histories". I also collaborated with George Cisneros and Jonathan Anderson on a short art video titled “Tezcatlipoca: An Interpretation of Azteca Intergalactic Ambassadors". As part of the city’s calendar of Tricentennial arts activities, URBAN-15 in 2018 debuted “Hidden Histories,” a monthly, magazine-format video series that pursues and preserves the stories, lives, and places that make San Antonio an inspiring cultural treasure. With the support of the San Antonio Film Commission and the San Antonio Area Foundation, URBAN-15 has developed this project to ensure that the histories memorialized by the Tricentennial celebration and by World Heritage efforts truly reflect the diversity of this region, which has been inhabited for over 10,000 years—well before 300 years of European settlement. Community-produced media is one way we can broaden public participation in official histories.

In the fall I was asked by Bill Fitz-Gibbons to participate in The First Annual Lone Star Neighborhood Dia de los Muertos Festival. The entire neighborhood celebrated and remember our loved ones. It had been 10 years since I set up an altar for my father. I also took the time to debut the documentary short of the making of the Linda Pace Altar at The Historic Pearl's first annual Dia de los Muertos celebration the year before.

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