My art is grounded in a desire for interaction with the natural world, and with natural materials that maintain some portion of their inherent vitality and fluidity long after they are removed from the ecosystems in which they arose. Materials such as stones, beeswax and branches act as a locus; the need to understand them, to adapt my practice to them provides insight into the environment that formed them. The resulting drawings and sculptures reflect that understanding, not through a literal reproduction of the visible landscape, but instead in forms first distilled and then allowed to branch out and take on a new vitality.
My work has been exhibited in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. I have been profiled on PBS' "Defining Art," in the pages of Voices of Art and other publications, as well as in photographer Stefan Falke's exhibition and book La Frontera, which highlights artists along the U.S.-Mexico border.
I advocate on behalf of the borderlands community of which I am a part, and the natural world that is the impetus for my artistic practice. The focus of much of my activism is the environmental and human impacts of federal enforcement along the U.S. – Mexico border, particularly the hundreds of miles of walls that slice through ecosystems and communities along the borderlands. As part of this effort I have visited dozens of Congressional offices and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee. I also co-authored a pair of reports, Death Damage and Failure and its subsequent update, for the American Civil Liberties Union that detail the numerous harms inflicted by border walls. My work on the issue led the Texas Observer to name me a "Tyrant's Foe."
As part of my ongoing efforts to raise awareness of these impacts and move public opinion and policy I have given numerous interviews, from Texas Monthly and National Public Radio to The Intercept and Scientific American, along with many other outlets. I have also published articles and op-eds in magazines and newspapers ranging from the Texas Observer to the Christian Science Monitor, High Country News and the Austin-American Statesman, and some that have been distributed via the Progressive Magazine to McClatchy-affiliated newspapers. My writing has also appeared in the two-volume book of images and essays titled The American Wall.
I am an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at South Texas College, where I teach studio arts courses at campuses just a few miles north of the Rio Grande. Along with drawing and painting classes I regularly teach Capstone for students on the cusp of graduation. The community that I serve has one of the highest rates of poverty in the nation, and many of my students are the first in their family to attend college. I do all that I can to help my students simultaneously navigate this academic maze and to achieve their artistic potential.
Prior to accepting a position at South Texas College, from 2000 through 2005 I taught study abroad summer courses at the La Suerte Biological Field Station in the lowland rain forest of Costa Rica and at the Ometepe Biological Field Station on the volcanic island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. There I taught Drawing the Landscape, Mixed Media in the Rainforest, and Earth Sculpture courses, introducing students to the range of natural materials available for the creation of drawings, sculptures, and installations.