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Artist Statement


My paintings incorporate mixed-media elements, such as indigenous fabrics, duct tape, paper, acrylic paint, drawing, and wood. Pulling from my culture, history, and origins, I produce three-dimensional works that address my tattered relationship with my Guatemalan, Mexican, and American ancestry. Elements of the traditional piñata are deconstructed and incorporated into these works to transform the piñata’s original identity from one of gratuitous celebration into one of cultural construct.


My body of work is often a deliberate effort to engage the Latinx community with contemporary art through public guerilla installations. By utilizing the text and characteristics of the piñata, I aim to comfortably engage underserved audiences and provoke discussion, self-reflection, and an examination of one’s circumstances. Spanglish idioms often fail English translation and are incorporated into the work. The subtext lost through translation becomes a larger metaphor for society’s misunderstanding of cultures deemed as foreign. Text is selected explicitly to reach an audience not typically served nor comfortable with art. I consider my artwork a social practice that seeks inclusivity through art placement and language. While a sentimental offering to our Latinx communities, my practice challenges dominant power structures through the most frivolous means: tissue paper.


The Mexican writer, philosopher, and politician, Jose Vasconcelos, has profoundly shaped my practice. After the Mexican Revolution, Vasconcelos became the Rector of the National University and later, Secretary of Education. During his tenure, he commissioned artists to immerse themselves in the Mexican people; absorbing their passions and conflicts, allowing artists to discover the true landscape of Mexican life.  They were given the walls of public buildings to create murals disseminating their knowledge, giving rise to the cultural rebirth: Mexican muralism. Vasconcelos intentionally used the artistic talent of Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros to educate the masses through a visual vocabulary. By his recognition of the importance of reaching new audiences outside of the contemporary art milieu, I too must be able to communicate visually with my community outside normal aesthetics. In short, if I want my work to resonate within my community, I must come to them; utilizing the visual and cultural vernacular embedded within my site-specific and guerrilla installations, to engage and conceptually challenge my Latinx community.

Artist Bio



A native of Dallas, Giovanni Valderas is an assistant professor of drawing and painting at Texas Woman’s University. Previously, he served as Exhibition Manager at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Assistant Gallery Director at Kirk Hopper Fine Art and the Gallery Director at Mountain View College. Valderas graduated from the College of Visual Arts & Design at the University of North Texas with an MFA and has taught painting and drawing courses at the University of North Texas, Richland, and Mountain View College. A former member of 500x gallery, one of the oldest co-op galleries in Texas, he has had work featured in the 2013 Texas Biennial; New American Paintings Magazine, issues #108 and #132; Impossible Geometries, Field Projects, New York; and 14x48’s temporary billboard public art project. A recipient of the Moss/Chumley Award and a microgrant from the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Valderas has also served as an appointee by the Dallas City Council as Vice Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission by Mayor Mike Rawlings. In 2018, he resigned from his reappointment to the Cultural Affairs Commission to run for Dallas City Council to represent the neighborhood he grew up in; he led a grassroots campaign and placed a strong second.


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