Originally from Texas, Barraza relocated to New Jersey in 2018. A culture shock absorbed him as he had never been around such a diverse group of people. The move motivated him to express a show and tell of his experience and appreciation with his culture, along with personal discoveries, through his artwork. In Texas he attended the arts magnet high school of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He attended some years of Texas A&M- Corpus Christi until deciding to leave and focus more on his creative journey on the East Coast.
Barraza identifies as a Chicano Contemporary artist, showcasing iconography and motifs familiar to the Mexican-American diaspora. His work has a heavy focus on drawing with charcoal and pastels giving a painterly, dream-like feel to his images. In more sporadic moments he acts as a poet, and painter that depicts visuals through textured scenes. Common themes to his work are family, romance, and stillness.
To be an artist is to recognize the mortality of moments. To be an artist is to be vulnerable in freely expressing one’s self on a platform on and beyond verbal communication. To be an artist, is to be human. I aim to stay open to inspiration and hungry for exploration through failure and success. This is not to say my intentions going into anything are to be inspired yet understanding that this God given gift can be affected beyond my comprehension. At the core of my artistry is the idea that I create simply because I am an artist- to this are many facets.
To be Chicano is to be an American of Mexican decent; and to create artwork as one can vary as the waves to an ocean. There’s a particular boldness in Chicano art that I’ve admired since childhood. An air of courage resonated from each work I viewed- a courage to just create and lay down medium. Their compositions gave commentary of identity and pride. In viewing such artwork, I felt the artist could be heard without speaking.
Although I had sporadically made Chicano styled work in my art journey, my embracement of being a Chicano artist was more so prompted by my relocation from the south to the East Coast. The exposure to a wider diversity of people catalyzed a greater desire for self-identification, along with a yearning to keep home close to heart. In doing so, there has since been a bridging between “creating fundamentally” to “creating from the soul.”
My artwork is as much for viewers of the future as it is for those of the present- to be enjoyed. There lies in my work, a collaboration of personal heritage, fantasy, and curiosities. Intentions of my expressions are to show pride in my culture. I strive to make elements of my heritage more welcoming to others by building compositions focused on uplifting characteristics such as humor, family, and romance. Additional to heavy use of Chicano iconography is an incorporation of elements from different cultures to promote inclusivity. My enjoyment of employing inspiration from other cultures is directly relative to life experiences, in that setting aside prejudice has proven to give ground to a greater freedom.