Juan Barroso

My work is centered around Mexican culture, with an emphasis on Mexican labor and the immigrant experience at the border. With the current political situation in America, and immigration policies that dehumanize and force immigrants into the shadows, the humanization of immigrants is important. It becomes difficult to separate people into us or them when it becomes clear that we are all working and fighting to provide a shelter and a decent meal for ourselves, and often a family. As the son of immigrant parents, I hope to pay homage to my people and the dignity with which they work to make a living. I mix 2-dimensional imagery, influenced by personal narratives, with 3-dimensional forms.

The subject matter of my work includes portraits of people and the tools of their profession. In order to mix form and imagery I have placed images on forms relevant to the jobs of the people depicted. An example includes the painting of a janitor on the side of a hand-built clay mop bucket. I also paint images associated with the experiences of immigrants that cross the Mexico-US border. Examples include the painting of a caged child or razor wire on a water jug. I see the water jug as a symbol of the perilous journey across the desert, the risk of dehydration, but also the humanitarian aid that is provided to prevent unnecessary deaths.

I paint images on pottery with underglaze, a small brush, and a pointillism technique. I chose pointillism on functional vessels because the process is time-consuming and labor intensive. My wrists and neck hurt after thousands of dots placed with care and accuracy to produce an image. I cannot think of a better way to show my respect and admiration for my people and their will to survive than with labor of love and time invested. After the imagery is painted on bisqueware, I bisque again to set the image. I then glaze the piece clear and fire it to cone 10 in an electric kiln.

Juan earned his MFA from the University of North Texas in 2020.

Showing all 16 results

Showing all 16 results