Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Visiting Mexican artists display vibrant print artwork with “Convergentes” gallery

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A group of artists native to Mexico have brought their creative style to Catapult Creative House in a print exhibit called “Convergentes.”

The exhibit features prints by artists Alejandra Mares, Xavier Moreno and Juan José Huerta that will be on display in Catapult’s gallery through Sept. 28. In addition, Catapult will host several themed events in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month during this time. Events will include a second gallery opening with all three artists, a DIY printing workshop with the artists, traditional Latin-American songs performed by the Department of Music, performances by Southeast’s Dance Ensemble and several artist lectures.

“Su trabajo era inventar mapas” (“His job was to invent maps”) by Juan Josè Huerta
Photo by Micaela Griffin ~ A&E Editor

Mares and Moreno, who are married, met because they were both art students at the University of Guadalajara. They say their art is an extension of their heritage and experiences, and that creativity has always been a part of who they are.

“Since I remember, I’ve always been a creative kid,” Mares said. “I like to draw, make things, sew, paint, so I always keep my creative side very open.”

Moreno’s story is a bit different. He had to set aside his creativity in favor of going to work at age 16. However, he found himself back in touch with his artistic side after a series of events led him to make a living in graphic design.

He started drawing as a child but had to focus on work when he got a job at a newspaper as a paperboy. The chance to draw again came when he was given the opportunity to design pages for a local newspaper. This led him back into the world of art, where he decided he wanted to create art for himself instead of clients.

“A chance to change my world came up when I started to do pages for a local newspaper, so I started to get interested again in graphic arts,” Moreno said.

Moreno and Mares both said their inspiration comes from a variety of influences and that life invites creativity in itself.

“Nuestro idioma” (“Our language”) by Xavier Moreno
Photo by Micaela Griffin ~ A&E Editor

“The main inspiration I find is the ongoing daily stuff,” Moreno said.

Each piece of art in “Convergentes” reflects the Mexican roots that shaped the creative expression of the artists.

“With this exhibition, it’s like a diary of moments in León,” Mares said. “We want to show everybody how we live in León; there’s little things [in the artwork] that remind us of the city.”

Dr. Joni Hand, assistant professor in the Department of Art, talked with the visiting artists while on a trip to León, Mexico, and offered them the chance to create a gallery in Cape Girardeau.

“We’re here, we’re exchanging these moments in our life,” Moreno said.

The advice they would give to aspiring artists and creators is simple: be true to yourself and keep going.

“No matter if your father or your mother tells you that’s not a career — because in our case, my dad thought that arts is not a way of living — I think we need to think outside of the box and think that art is a way of living,” Mares said.

Moreno echoed these sentiments, and added that discipline is also key in being successful.

“Art also requires discipline; it requires you to have a notion of what is going on around you in the world because artists are more in touch with human feelings,” he said. “We all live in a big blue blob, and you can go out of your city and see for yourself that there’s a lot more human beings thinking like you. I will say that making art is a way to express yourself and make people connect.”

Connecting people is the main hope of this exhibition, which is reflected in its title, “Convergentes,” which is Spanish for convergence.

“We need art in our life because it’s our human side,” Mares said. “You’re gonna fall, but you can always stand up again and go forward ... it’s a big world and a lot of heads thinking differently, so you will find someone somewhere that says, ‘Oh, I like your things.’ Don’t stop.”

“Aqui es tu casa ahora” (“Here is your home now”) by Alejandra Mares
Photo by Micaela Griffin ~ A&E Editor

Mares and Moreno will be giving out free prints at West Park Mall this Saturday, Aug. 12, at Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information about this or any of Catapult’s upcoming events, students can contact Dr. Joni Hand by email at jhand@semo.edu.

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