Artist Interview: Hugo Medina

Hugo's tile in the Xico floor mural.

Hugo Medina is one of the most active artists in the Phoenix area. Every time we talk to him, he’s working on a million projects from painting murals to setting up exhibitions to reinventing Dia de los Muertos (watch this space for more on that soon). He’s also the creator of the newest square in Xico’s floor mural. You can see his artwork on display at Xico as part of the Caras Amadas exhibit through Sept 17. We were lucky enough to get Hugo to sit still long enough to answer a few questions…

How did you first hear about Xico? I stumbled into Xico a few years ago when my girls were performing at the chandler center for the arts. Last year i met Donna through Gennaro Garcia and the work i did for calle 16, which led me to becoming more involved in the organization and displaying work.

What is your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why? My favorite pieces of art are my two girls, they are always evolving and growing, which makes me grow. Other then them i really don not have a favorite, once the piece is done, i move on to the next, each painting or sculpture feeding off the last. So to best answer that question, my favorite is the one i am currently working on, until i start a new one.

How does culture influence your art? An artist captures what is around him, either positively or negatively. i feel the culture we see and experience everyday comes out in our work even if we do not do it intentionally. As an artist i feel it is important if not vital to pay homage to who you are as a person, to do that you must first understand where you came from. Your family, race, culture can not but help influence your work, as each piece is basically a diary of who you are. “if art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow their vision”. JFK

Is creating a portrait different from creating other kinds of art? Yes and no, it depends on the portrait, A self-portrait, as i see it, is the artist looking inside themselves, and coming to terms with who they are, a therapeutic journey into themselves. One must step outside of what they know and see to capture what is present. When you are creating a portrait of someone else it all depends on who and why. Either way one can not help to put a little bit off themselves in that portrait.

Are you excited about / participating in any other Hispanic Heritage events this year? Yes, very. I love the opportunity to show my work and pay homage to my family through my work. I am a very proud of who i am, and like to honor my culture and family any chance i can.

What are you working on right now? What are doing next as an artist? Currently working on a painting titled “From Bolivia to New York” for the Estrella exhibit that Xico is putting on. The painting is Part of my “Mi Tierra” series in which i am paying homage to the land i came from. The series will be on display at Barrio Cafe in march. I am also currently organizing multiple shows/events for Calle 16, one being a traveling show for the AZ best fest celebrating the AZ centennial. It will debut in Prescott on the weekend of September 16th. Once the weather cools off i will be hard at work completing my small “tequila” mural for calle 16, so i can begin a big one. 😀