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An American Odyssey

I have had the opportunity to see my fair share of places. Over the years, I have hoarded the images of the people and places that influence my art.

My itinerant impulses were instilled early. We were agricultural migrants. From the tiny town of Coleman, Texas with its three school systems – white, black, and Mexican, to Windsor, Colorado with its immigrant German and Russian farmers who spoke English far worse than my father. Every season, back and forth. Travel to Colorado in April to thin sugar beets a short-handled hoe, back to Texas in October to pick cotton. A migrant’s pilgrimage of the sun. Powered by ideas and ideals developed during these peregrinations, my graduation from high school in 1963 served as the benediction for my pilgrim instincts. Joining the Peace Corps, I traveled to Puerto Rico, the  Dominican Republic, and Guatemala roaming wider in my odyssey, now as a beneficent pilgrim.

Returning home, I began what, at that time, would be my most foreign pilgrimage. I attended Stanford (BA 1970) and Harvard Law School (JD 1975.) As the first in my family to attend college and one of the first US-born Mexicans at either school, I often felt the “stranger in a strange land.”

After my academic studies, I made the requisite pilgrimage to Europe visiting England, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Denmark, and Spain helping to establish historical, cultural, and social context for my personal odyssey.  I have returned many times afterwards in different times in my life.  The first time I went with a backpack and a sleeping bag and slept under Pont Neuf in Paris. Years later I stayed in the Ritz Carlton.

In the period after Harvard, I traveled to Latin America working in Brazil and Colombia and traveling to Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador. Those travels informed the fundamental search that runs through all my pilgrimages: the Latin pilgrimage – the ongoing exploration of my Latin self.

As formative a journey as any was my 20 year trek as a corporate executive pilgrim for Anheuser-Busch – a beer evangelist to every corner of the USA, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

In 2001, I moved back to San Francisco to work on my art. The wanderlust ingrained by a lifetime odyssey, however, has not abated. Travels to China and Korea have been sensory pilgrimages providing a wealth of imagery.
My art is an irregular record of my odyssey. An ongoing journey across the globe and across my mind. At every station along the way asking, what makes us different? What makes us alike? And where do I fit in? Does this odyssey have a destination?