200 Voices


Paul Valadez


My surroundings influence my work greatly. I live on the Texas-Mexico Border and there are daily reminders of ongoing drug and immigration violence. Not a single day goes by without a drug or gun shipment, large or small is seized in my locality. 

Regularly immigrants are caught trying to illegally enter the country. In addition there are stories of Mexican Nationals and foreigners being Kidnapped held for ransoming or sold into the illegal sex trade. What disturbs me is the glamorization of the illegal prostitution and drug trade. I am constantly bombarded with gang images and images of the “narco-Saint” I want to tell people through some of my images that there are no true “narco-Saints”.

I was born in San Francisco CA from a Mexican-American Family.  Working in my country is challenging at times because I find that certain individuals tend to label me and my work; I have been called a Hispanic, Chicano, Latino, Mexican-American, Californian, Texan, but rarely just a American Artist.  This label itself is not bad, I identify myself as a Proud Mexican-American. The difficulty arises when viewers see a label and associated it with a certain "type” of art production.

My goal has been to make art as a Mexican-American artist that challenges the viewer’s preconceived notions of what Mexican-American art can be.


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