Portrait of a Young Man

104W X 86H X 22D

PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN: 104 inches wide by 86 inches high by 22 inches deep. Digital print on canvas, oil paint, antique chest of drawers, antique side chairs, antique bronze lamps, custom lampshades, bronze cast skull, plexiglass. 2019

This piece began with the research that I started on Guatemalan gangs and gang tattoos. I helped start a philanthropic group in Guatemala, Pionero Philanthropy, a few years ago and hearing the stories of the tactics that are used to recruit young people and the social causes of the rise of gangs in Latin America prompted me to look more closely at them.

While art is a manifestation the viewpoint of the artist, the movement to create is more complex. In our contemporary society, we are in the midst of re-evaluating who we are as Americans and looking at our history with a more critical eye. This piece begins to represent my view of the complexity of my personal place in a society based on Western European history.

As I researched both gang imagery and portraiture in art history, I was stuck by the similarities in the painting by Giovani Battista Moroni and the photograph of a leader of the Mara Salvatrucha, MS 13 gang.