“Like a moth harvesting light or Angels who create us from mud and wine, the souls inquiry is seeking the beloved through the experience of life. ”— Rumi
We all have a voice that wants to ascend to a place where it can be heard.. The desire for ascension in what I create to be seen by the world. Ascending your voice activates something unique and profound in the viewer.
Azul’s work captures the duality of human race: saint and deviant, by means of sexuality, culture and street influence. His work reflects the mixture of traditional and conservative values with modern identities.
Azul’s artistic journey began as a teen with graffiti and tagging in the barrios (mean streets) of Denver and New York City. These early days in the streets taught and inspired him, but left him questioning cultural roots and their influence on the individual, society and the impact they would have in his art. He packed his bags and embarked on a long journey to explore his roots. He first found his way to Guadalajara, Mexico, where he studied with well-known Mexican painter Alberto Ortiz in Jocotepec, Jalisco. Alberto taught Azul the value of observing the indigenous roots of Mexico while allowing the art to invite the community to take part in the process of creation. It was also the influences of local Denver mentors, poets and icons such as Ramon DelCastillo, Carlos Fresquez, Corky Gonzalez and others who further inspired Azul to embrace this approach. These experiences enabled him to develop artwork inspired by introspection.
His intimate journey of self-expression continued with experimentation of digital art and the creation of what he coined as Chicano Digitalism: the pure expression of any artistic emotion created and transformed by modern technology utilizing drawing, photography, film, music, three-dimensional imagery, sculpture, web design, poetry and performance art, particularly addressing Mexican Americans today. Through this medium, Azul sought to better capture icons such as Che Guevara, Frida Kahlo, Pancho Villa and Emilio Zapata in a new light, but simultaneously allowing greater freedom to identify new heroes and revolutionaries adding hints of culturally provocative elements to his artwork.
Activism has always played an important role in Azul’s life and his perception of reality. In 1996 he embarked on a journey working in HIV/AIDS that in 2010 took him on a 48 states HIV testing tour to document HIV screenings in the US. This is when Azul discovered photography as an interactive medium to portray a subject and “paint with light” as he likes to define it.
With photography Azul reaches the epitome of his artistic expression combining influences from all of his other artistic media. His photography is always blunt, introspective, revealing, uncomfortable at times. In his portrayal of people, especially women, Azul brings to the surface hidden and intimate frailties, never spoken, deeply felt, producing a cathartic effect between the subject and the viewer, in a process that considers always two lenses: the one taking the photo and the one looking at it.