Interview with Celeste De Luna, Xicana artist
Hello and welcome to Xica Nation. Could you tell us your name, age, nation and how you identify?
Celeste De Luna, 40, Xicana, I identify myself as an indigenous person of the North American continent, one in the process of trying to decolonize my mind and spirit and that of my family. The loss is so great that it feels insurmountable sometimes, but I look to my communities for help.
How did your journey as an artist begin?
My journey has had many starts and stops. As undergraduate art student I had no idea what I was doing, no guidance, no mentors, and limited family support. In 2003, I met a Chicano artist who was doing a watercolor workshop in the Valley and he invited me to see his gallery in San Antonio. When I finally got up the nerve to go check it out, I discovered a whole world of Chicano artists that inspired me. I have been working and showing my work since then and in 2008 received an M.F.A in painting from UT-Pan American.
Why did you choose this genre?
I’ve always felt drawn to political and satirical art, I don’t like spending a lot of time on pieces that are merely aesthetic or have content I’m not interested in. I say that my art isn’t always pretty, and other people have described it as powerful. I’ll take powerful over pretty anytime.
When did you decide to follow your calling as an artist?
I decided in 2003 that I was going to pursue creating art and there have been many doubts and obstacles in my way, including self-doubt over whether I was just wasting my time and being selfish and balancing art practice, work, and family. I felt affirmed when I showed a piece at the first Gloria Anzaldua conference art show that I participated in and many women not only understood my work, but thought the content was important. I realized that my vision was unique and I had something to add to conversation. Mind you, it was just a small inkling of a voice that stubbornly wouldn’t die, but I know I will continue to create work until I am physically unable to do so. And I have so much to do and much progress to make. I receive encouragement from my artistic community and family and that keeps me motivated.
Why do you feel that artistically documenting your experiences as a (will fill in with the descriptor of your choice) was important to do?
Documenting my work is important because I’m providing a perspective that has been oppressed and silenced for a long time. My artwork is an expression of political and social commentary, it may seem more relevant to people who are care about such things and to others it means nothing at all. Sometimes my artwork is attempt to explore a subject and understand it in relation to myself. My work in progress “Seven Deadly Sins in the Heart of the White Man” is really about my tortured relationship with Catholicism. It is a work based on an old European image titled “Seven Deadly Sins in the Heart of Man”. I like to look at historical images from the perspective of what my ancestors might have thought about them. And I think that the ancestors would looked at this image and thought of it as very alien and not all applicable to them
Any special links/announcements about upcoming events or other projects you’re involved in?
You can see my work in San Antonio, Texas at Gallista Gallery at 1913 South Flores Street. My show “Past the Checkpoint” will be up until April 4, 2015. I also have a piece titled “Breach Baby” in a group show titled Texas Size Breach Collaborative at the Texas A & M University San Antonio Educational & Cultural Arts Center from March 12- June 14, 2015. The TAMU Educational @Cultural Arts Center is located at 101 S. Santa Rosa Avenue in San Antonio, Texas. You can also see more of my work at www.celestedeluna.com or email me at [email protected]