GHOST IN THE MACHINE, Acrylic and Mixed Media Paintings
I was born 1978, in Los Angeles California. My family emigrated here from Honduras, like most families seeking a better life. As a child I often felt lonely and haunted. I was very shy and suffered from paranoia. I would feel like someone was always watching or following me. I would scream at my own shadow. When I was in high school I felt detached and lacked interest in my peers. I wanted something to relate to which I soon found in my art class so I quickly picked up the basic skills and became an art student. I was asked to participate in several art awareness projects for the city of San Gabriel and graduated with a scholarship from Bank of America for the arts. After high school I went to Rio Hondo College in Whittier, CA. My desire to create and pursue a career in art not only became my mission in life but a necessity. After two years there I got my Associates in the Arts degree, and decided to study art abroad. I moved to Paris and attended the Sorbonne. I then returned home and enrolled in the fine arts program at the University of Fullerton. In 2004 I graduated. I had my first invitation to show at an established gallery in 2004, and after that I’ve been asked to exhibit in over 25 group shows since 1998. Since graduation I’ve run a gallery on Gallery Row in downtown Los Angeles, curated shows, including an upcoming exhibition in Tijuana, Mexico, worked on entertainment productions, designed clothing and accessories, interned at a fine arts print studio, painted murals throughout California, contributed to help fund a school for the arts in Honduras, collaborated with legendary graffiti artists and taught art to children with special needs. This is my first solo exhibition.
Some people might misinterpret the act of painting oneself as an act of shallowness, self- absorption or even an act that limits the artist from being a social commentator. In Melissa Trochez’ case, it is quite the opposite. Her unique ability to explore the vulnerable depths of her emotions while engaging in intimate dialogue with her audience ultimately concludes with a hopeful optimism. One way to experience her work is to see it as a series that captures difficult, incomprehensible life events. Eventually, her works evolve from self-consciousness to hope and social awareness.
This is most evident in her diary series, her earliest body of work, which documents her growth and development as an artist. The unfinished sense one is left with reinforces the idea that there is beauty in imperfection. This alludes to the fact that she too is a work in progress. Much like her eclectic characterizations which are often tainted with a clash of vibrant colors, her backgrounds are filled with unfinished images that mimic the texture of scrapbooks. Some seem to be cut from the front pages of magazines or handmade quilts. This effect allows you to see the process of making art without its pretentious makeup.
Her angel series, which is the most disturbing yet hopeful series, brings the viewer into an abstract reality which is contradicting in nature. These paradoxical depictions cast shadows of hope through her beautiful sadness. Innocently knowledgeable of questions instinctual to the soul she engages in conversations with angels regarding her protection, hope, and survival. These romantic pieces are infused by Catholic-pagan rituals, stoicism, and ominous imagery which serve to comment on the disappointments of religion.
Her flat series, like her diary series, represent her transcendence from self-preoccupation to social- consciousness. Here, the audience is taken beyond her emotional dialogue and is lead to a world of epiphanies and moral awakening. Within this animated, primary coated series, the illusion of stagnancy is created through the juxtaposition of comfortable hermits with distressed characters in the background. These conflicts foreshadow the immorality and guilt subtly associated with materialism. Ultimately, the three series of works leave you with a hopeful feeling that progress can be achieved even when a person’s emotional stability is questionable. Courageously, she provides her audience with something to believe in especially for those who have felt that everything has let them down.
By Hugo Velazquez