Covering the arms of Jake Prendez is a mosaic of tattoos reflecting a fusion of Hispanic heritage and American pop culture, ranging from the Virgin of Guadeloupe to Darth Vader. Although originally from East Los Angeles, Prendez is now based out of Seattle. His new exhibit, “Don’t Be Self-Conchas,” is on display to the public in the Student Diversity Center until May 13.
According to Prendez, the 11 paintings that make up the exhibition reflect the dual nature of being of Hispanic and living in the United States, which is reflected in the title of the exhibition: as conchas—pronounced quonchas—is a type of Mexican bread.
“(The exhibition is) taking all of my experiences growing up in this hybrid, being American, but also having these Mexican roots,” Prendez said.
He cites American cultural staples like Star Wars and the Rockabilly style as influences of his art—which he’s dubbed “Mexican Americana,’’ an appropriate title, as Prendez describes the art of Norman Rockwell as a major influence in his work.
“I love Rockwell. I love his style. He was actually pretty progressive, and I think folks either don’t know that or it was erased from him. But he did some really great work revolving around the Civil Rights Movement. But Norman Rockwell has kind of really been hi-jacked—his work at least—by the right of this idealized American life that we want back,” Prendez said.
Prendez continued to say Rockwell’s depictions of mid-20th century American life are somewhat romanticized, but he still sees the humor and satire of these American snapshots.
“I take it for what it is—…
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