Artist Statement 2016
I’m a Chicano Artist living in San Francisco, California. I’m a long time cultural worker, art teacher and social activist/poster maker and print maker.

Both my parents were born in Texas and migrated first to New Mexico, where I was born then later migrated to California in 1952. I grew up in the farm labor camps of Monterey County in California, picking fruits and vegetables along with my parents and eleven brothers and sisters. Neither parent was able to attend school growing up, and we relied on each other to survive the hardships of being poor and working in the fields.

My art and social activism stems from my strong conviction that art is needed to make social change a possibility, to help heal the injustice’s faced by people of color around the world. I have the historical experience of the Civil Rights Movement and the Chicano, Black Power Movement, Native American and Anti- War Movements of the 1960s and 70s for my inspiration.

I work from photographs, news clips, my own drawings and family photos. I like to reassemble/change, and redraw sometimes directly onto the block of wood or linoleum before I begin to carve. The act of carving allows me to use the cutting tools as pencil, to more thoroughly explore the materials and feelings that I’m trying to convey. Once I have developed my ideas through drawing and carving, selection of color and printing become essential parts of the process. My goal has always been to portray our people in a very positive, beautiful and dignified manner in contrast to the continual negative portrayal of us in the media.

Juan R. Fuentes

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