Traveling from university to university across the nation, Chicanx artist Jake Prendez shares more than just artwork as he discusses how art influences and helps create community around the world.
Art has been a method of expressing views and understandings of various topics for thousands of years. Even as our world continues to change, the messages portrayed through art remain alive and stronger than ever.
For Prendez, art has been a part of his life since the time he could pick up a pen and draw.
“My art, it’s just me. It’s an amalgamation of all my experiences,” Prendez said.
Referring to the various influences in his life that affect his art, Prendez went on to say, “It’s part Seattle, it’s part L.A., it’s part Mexican culture. You put all these things in a blender and pour it on a canvas and that’s what comes out.”
After visiting multiple universities including Boise State, Gonzaga and East Washington University, Prendez said the message he hopes his audiences take away is the importance of creating community.
“I love being able to come to campus and bring folks together and have dialogue and talk about how art can really help create community,” Prendez said.
His discussion at Weber State University this past March 15 focused on different styles of art throughout time that have greatly impacted society.
Prendez showed a variety of different pieces from diverse styles, including Mexican muralism, social realism, Civil Rights era art and contemporary social justice art. He discussed how theses styles not only the influenced his work but also continue to influence artwork around the world to this day.
Attending the event, Weber State student Liz Homez, said she enjoyed how relatable the discussion was.
“You don’t have to be a politician to say what you think or how you feel about something,” Homez said. “There are many different ways to express your opinions. For Jake, it’s through art.”
Prendez explained that everyone benefits from the realness of art. “It’s authentic, it’s raw and it’s not watered down,” Prendez said.
“I create my art for people who understand it,” Prendez said. “If you don’t like my art, then that’s great, you don’t have to look at it.”
Andrea Hernandez, diversity and inclusive programs coordinator at Weber State, helped recruit Prendez to speak at the university after initially meeting him at a national conference in Seattle.
“His speeches are very motivating as far as the importance of art and activism,” Hernandez said. “It was really cool to see how he tied in Mexican muralism, and followed through the civil rights movement, social realism in the United States and contemporary art, and how he tied all of that together.”
To Prendez, art is about creating a community.
“If you’re from areas that aren’t known for their Latino community, you can almost feel this alienation, this loneliness. It’s good when you can create events that bring folks together and help create that sense of community,” Prendez said.