Mahalaga-Expressionist Works

 I am an illustrator, painter, and teacher originally from San Diego. As an artist I do many different jobs to stay an artist. These pieces displayed here I call Mahalaga; they are my expressionist works and I explored different mediums and approaches while I created these in hopes that they convey complex feeling and other interesting thoughts. With these works I rely on the viewer as I am vague about my intent and I use mark making, color, and figures as a visual language. The strokes or marks I make show either soft and curvy lines or aggressive erratic movement etc. I use figures as another hint of emotion by using body language and color adds unity as well as flavor to my pieces. Again as I have mentioned I rely on the viewer and I urge whoever is looking at my art to feel okay about thinking and taking their own narrative as there is no wrong way to view these particular works.
These images were from my art show and I enjoyed getting multiple people’s takes on my works.
Some technique: My works are a series of figure paintings/drawings as well as some pieces incorporating the hands in some way.  The hands I think have a lot of symbolism in attaining or the idea of working.  It’s the most dexterous part of a human and does the most work for most people.  It’s what we use to grasp and to communicate.  I use the hands as a kind of symbol to create my loose meanings.  I use the figure in a way to identify emotion through body language; I try not to put too much detail on the faces as to keep the identity of each figure blurred because I want people to see themselves in them.  I also attempt to convey feeling as well by the way I approach and handle the medium, pressure, line quality, and color.  There’s a lot of thought that goes to these pieces.  I think about the subjectivity of things as well as the object if it’s carrying meaning.  Down below is Urizen and that is just one piece I will cover that kind of shows my thought process.

Urizen is a monochromatic, two dimensional piece with elements of receipts on the floor. It is large with presence and occupies space well. I was making a hybrid, I wanted the work on raw canvas as it was still to be in the realm of traditional art, but I did use receipts which is somewhat found art as the item (receipt) contains a symbolism of being spent. I am using the old title of Urizen to refer to William Blake’s mythology and to give historical reference/relevance to my work and my composition is akin to Diego Rivera’s “The Hands of Dr. Moore.” The message I have is the idea of the embodiment of a or the system(s) that seek to control human time and labor. I think now more than ever the issues of human rights and fair labor is one that is important to many of us and the powers that be which control things from the background are ever increasingly becoming topic of the youth as they are the most affected.


This piece was made with charcoal and highlights loosely the negative effects of human experiments.  It couples with the above larger piece and mimics the composition as well as the theme.



Planter tree stumps in boxes photographed and put together in Photoshop.

9 Stumps

Allegory 1 

mixed media and found items.


Allegory 2

mixed media and found items


Untitled Assemblage

Here I was in SOHO L.A.

I think sometimes materials such as the ones you find (found objects) can be imbued in meaning and when one is juxtaposed against each other it creates a totally new and sometimes hilarious message.  An example would be like if trash was like scrabble pieces and you can put them together how you like, to spell out something.  Anyway on the floor there was a banana peel which is organic and sort of comes from nature, I had a partially drunk coke in a bottle (which Andy finds special for its pop cultural currency), and a toothbrush (an item we all use hopefully).  I found these on the floor and put them together and the result was a viscerally weird sculpture of contradiction.  One can almost feel the syrupy coke in their teeth, but in hindsight I should have shoved the peel in the bottle more in some special way to interact with the other two items or something.  My point is everyday items like life present themselves in certain situations and we can either ignore them like trash or enjoy/interact with them like materials.  Not unlike the homeless people.


Cheap Love


“Mahalaga” is a word from my culture that means important.  Mahal is a root word alone that means value or price interchangeably.  Mahal can be used to say love or precious while also used to say that something is quantifiably expensive.  I think my body of works are broad and abstracted in a way that it’s reaching or finding a place between price and love when put together which is a very human kind of importance and is worth sharing.  I like the question, “What’s the meaning of life?”  as well as Its answer, “to make life meaningful.”  My recent works are born from this and the body of work is an in depth exploration of worth.

‘What I learned in school is that the spectrum of visual language is vast and in Illustration one can be very clear (and even amazingly clever) and literal while in painting one can be vague and poetic with wonderful loose meanings. (work in progress)