Andrés Hernández’s work probably deals with the act of admiration above all else.
The desire for a lover’s touch that has been lacking for a long time. A conceptual sense of wanting to be understood and accepted. A seemingly inevitable boundary between physical and figurative boundaries.
Think of note music that singers like Sade and Juan Gabriel can hit. Remember the words of Sylvia Plath and Pablo Neruda. Recall the strokes of paintings such as Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” and John Singer Sargent’s “Secret Muse”.
Or A kind of longing.
“I would like to consider whether each project is a unique encapsulation of everything it is experiencing at the time,” said a non-binary / genderqueer artist who recently concluded his solo exhibition of analog photography and collage. Says Hernandez of the Hill Street Country Club. , Properly, “crying on the blue trolley line.”
The title of the exhibition refers to the trolley line that connects the border between San Diego and Tijuana and aims to convey these feelings. When you step into the Hill Street Country Club (HSCC) at a certain time and in a certain mood, the viewer feels like being surrounded by photographs. The photo itself is a combination of photos of buildings, walls, and elevated roads along the San Diego-Tijuana border, re-rendered into a moody, atmospheric, and sometimes harsh statement about love and existence after Hernandez snapped. it was done.
Listening to Hernandez, she had no intention of using photographs for this kind of exhibition. She initially planned to use them as test shots for her first solo exhibition at HSCC. Hernandez, who got a disposable camera, says she started taking hundreds of test shots at places such as the mouth of the Tijuana River and bridges and tunnels around the border. It’s a place where she turns out to represent her bilateral experience, and it’s a difficult place to navigate her cross-border relationships.
“When I was first asked to do a show, I wanted to do something completely different,” Hernandez recalls. “I thought I would paint a series of landscape paintings. A blurry painting of a landscape painting depicting a journey through the border area and these concrete structures along the border.”
“Until one morning, I talked to my partner Neville and said I didn’t want to take a picture. I didn’t want to paint anymore,” Hernandez continues. “I would like to take a picture and combine the picture of the bridge I have with the border wall in an unobtrusive way. Just waking up with that idea made me feel very natural and organic. “
This kind of “organic” sensation can also be seen in “moving around the city like a dove on the wind.” This is a very vulnerable graphic novel that tells the story of Hernandez’s experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from Neville, who lives in San Diego, when the border is closed, Hernandez gently talks about the feelings of isolation and movement that he felt during this period. With gorgeous acrylic and pencil illustrations and text (some of which are taken directly from text messages, voice memos, and Hernandez’s own diary), “We were on the move …” is a poetic pandemic experience. It’s an explanation and I’ve created everything. The fact that Hernandez was separated from her partner by crossing boundaries made her more unique and profound.
“I sometimes go crazy. It’s the fact that I have to share things with people and sometimes explain my work,” says Hernández. “But when I talk about it, it’s when it really hit me. When I’m making it, it’s just for myself.”
“We once moved …” also speaks of these experiences from both the perspective of Hernandez and the experience of her partner, a colored person in San Diego.
“I always want to capture as many perspectives as possible, but I don’t necessarily want to tell a story about something that doesn’t affect me,” says Hernandez.
“At first I didn’t mean to write that,” continues Hernández. “But after finishing the first draft, I thought it wouldn’t be complete until I gained his experience. There are two parts to the story, and the boundaries are between these two stories. I like the concept of representing dots. “
Born and raised in Tijuana, Hernandez struggled to grow. She likes to tell anecdotes about finding her artistic spirit after her doctor tells her that she is no longer allowed to drink milk, she is hot with a sad face Draw a cup of chocolate.
“I think I’m talking about it because it’s interesting to me that I still remember it,” says Hernandez. “But I basically just drew everything. When the dog died, I drew it like an angel. Milk was just one of the first examples I remember.”
Hernandez often felt like an outsider who grew up in Playas de Tijuana. Living as a non-binary person can be difficult wherever someone is raised, but Mexican culture, which can infiltrate conservative Catholicism and strict gender roles, can be particularly difficult. Hernandez says he felt at ease in literature and fairy tales. This helped us to take advantage of a world that is not structurally dual.
“We do things like change the ending for fun,” says Hernández. “It’s part of escapism, trying to escape from the limited environment and find a world where you can feel like yourself. What was happening in my head is no longer impossible. It’s a place. “
Still, Hernandez added that she quit art in many of her high schools and didn’t take it seriously as her family pressured her to choose a more “realistic” career path. .. She says she understands where her family came from and she decided to study communication when it was time to go to college. But even there, Hernandez says her mind is still filled with ideas of what she wants to make.
“I was really afraid that my parents would even ask me to buy art supplies, because my parents were like,’Don’t go into it,'” Hernandez recalls. By attending her school and earning her own money, she became easier to do art again. “For me, there was this great fear of making something.”
One of the moments to overcome this fear was in 2016 when Hernandez, then 19 years old, was accepted into a volunteer program to work and live in Hamburg, Germany. She says her work was exhausted and she often felt lonely, but that was where she felt really free to explore the local museum — and her sexuality. She returned to North America with a new sense of purpose and began to take her art more seriously. From acrylic paintings to poetry readings, many of her early works focused on polyamory, toxicity, and work at the Maquiladora factory in Mexico.
“I’ve always written, but to me everything comes with images, but until I started feeling these emotions, I couldn’t contain them and looked like a cartoon in my head. “Hernandes says. “I didn’t grow up as a fan of comics and I still don’t know if I could call them comics. I call them vignettes or illustrations and my relationships and how those relationships are influenced by borders. Is documented. “
Hernandez plans to export this further in her next project, a series of self-portraits exploring her own gender journey and identity. She plans to use the same photo and collage process that she used for images in HSCC.
Hernandez, who plans to work on this concept at Logan Heights’ Bread & Salt Art Space Artist Residency, said: In August. “How it became a caricature in the United States”
No matter what medium Hernandez settles in, her work agrees to continue to explore the aspirations that every artist feels. She agrees that a common flow throughout her work is striving for satisfaction. Although she is still a young artist, the themes she seeks in her work are universal. Whether it’s a longing for her lover or a longing for peace of mind, Hernandez uses her inner tacit dialogue to tackle both unrewarded and unresolved issues. Let me. The difference here is that she found the courage to explore it.
“I feel like I’m doing all these things because I feel I’m not good at one thing, so I’m compensating by doing a lot,” says Hernández. .. “I feel that every project I’m working on relies on imaging, the way it embodies in my head. It’s not up to me anymore. My brain does it to me. I’m telling you. “
birth: Tijuana, Mexico
Fun facts: In addition to her work of art, Hernandez also volunteers for the San Diego Pride, San Diego LGBT Community Center and AjA projects.
Combs is a freelance writer.