Dear External Reviewers and members of The Lake Forest College Promotion and Tenure Subcommittee,
Thank you for your time and careful consideration of the creative and scholarly materials compiled for this review. As a seasoned creative professional I can attest to the adage that we are shaped to a certain extent by our life experiences. While experience is an important element of the formation of concepts and ideas in any field or profession, it is critical in the visual arts to be keenly observant while navigating the crossing of paths with places, spaces and people.
I have been fortunate to have been able to build a creative career that has been informed by many places both here and abroad. It is significant to recognize the frequent moves as an influential element of my creative practice. The journey started in Madrid, Spain a place that I am deeply connected to culturally and socially. Francisco de Goya and Hieronymus Bosch, two artists whose work remain the most impactful in my life, both have their most significant works at the Museo de El Prado in Madrid. Looking at their works alongside the paintings of Velazquez, Murillo and El Greco remind me of my cultural heritage and deeply Castilian upbringing. My migration to the United States began in 1981, the cultural and social differences were palpable but my interests in the arts did not wane. My first stop was New York, then Florida, and Virginia. I arrived in Richmond, Virginia in 1989 to attend Virginia Commonwealth University for my Bachelors in Fine Arts, a rigorous Painting and Printmaking program that allowed me to study classical and modern techniques and materials. Richmond also had an incredibly vibrant alternative rock scene. Knowing how to play an instrument meant that I quickly became recruited to play in bands. This is where my interests in experimental music and sounds began and I spent ten years honing in my music/sound and visual arts practices. It was during this time that I started Citizen Gallery, a place that was impactful and significant to many artists and musicians during that time. It was very successful, albeit very short lived. After touring across the United States and Canada several times I came across San Francisco and realized that it was the place I wanted to live.
Upon arriving in San Francisco in 1999 I was quickly shocked by the burgeoning impact of the web phenomena, landing squarely in the middle of the Web 1.0 period of web development and before the tech bubble. Employment at the San Francisco Art Institute and the gestalt of technology oriented arts and design endeavors influenced me and cemented a focus on experimental time-based media that continues to this day. San Francisco was an important place for personal and creative growth and became the beginning of my teaching career path. At the University of Nevada in Las Vegas a friend and colleague was starting a new program in the School of Engineering. The Engineering for Entertainment and Design program seemed to fit both creative and technological pursuits, and I became one of the first to receive a Graduate Assistantship from both the Fine Arts and EED programs. The allure of Nevada was present in the spectacle of Las Vegas and also the vastness of the outlying desert. While building technological knowhow I was also assembling an array of works that spoke to the high contrast between urban environment, natural ecologies, and the interstitial places between. The years in Las Vegas gave me the impetus and drive to learn more and work with ideas of social, economic, political, and environmental change measured in geologic and anthropocentric terms. After a lengthy stay and an eagerness to begin an academic pathway, I accepted a position at New Mexico Highlands University as Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Technology. New Mexico allowed me to further refine my teaching experience and gave me the opportunity to work for an underserved hispanic population, an experience that I treasure and hold as a measure of my dedication to students of marginalized communities and backgrounds. In Santa Fe I was able to make an immediate contribution to the cultural scene, working with The Museum of New Mexico and Currents International New Media Festival while building and expanding my arts research. Troubling economic circumstances for the state coffers cut my time short in New Mexico.
After accepting a position at Lake Forest College, I find myself at a new juncture. I count upon my experience as an incredible asset both in my professional and academic endeavors. The many places, spaces and people I have come across have all helped me become contemplative and responsive to the futures of my students. Now in Chicago after long travels associated with my many moves, I have created a new chapter and hope to spend many years continuing to be productive both as an artist and an arts educator.