Sergio Teran 2007

My family was eccentric, particularly my father. He loved music. He said he preferred “Little Richard” to “Elvis” and claimed his fantasy affair would be to go back in time and hook up with a young “Tina Turner."

After being rejected his professional “Lucha Libre License”, (Some incident involving a brawl, defending his brother's good name) he started what was the beginning of a fast and dysfunctional life-style.

Having grown bitter and shunned by “La Lucha” (freestyle wrestling) he turned to small time hold'em-up jobs, convenient stores, bars, and the occasional Nail and Beauty Supply. “Those places make a killing,” He said. For a brief period, my father was known to the local media as …“El Manos Grande Bandit.”

On a brisk, February afternoon in 1974 while purchasing a 16oz can of Bud Wiser and a pack of Pork skins at a Johnson's Market , he waited for the clerk to open the register. With a lapel over his mouth and his left hand in his coat pocket, he simulated a concealed pistol. The other hand he cupped tight, like a big La Crosse glove. “Aqui!” “Andale!” as he snatched the cash, leaving the Pork-skins behind. He jumped the turn style, made a dash through the slow automatic doors and into his rusty white Plymouth sport.

The security guard gave chase. “Alto!” He shot twice. “Pop! Pop!” A bullet ripped into the trunk of the car, through a bottle of rubbing alcohol, slicing the back seat and entering into my 35 yr old, pregnant mother. The bullet passed into her hip, piercing her iliac crest and making a tear in her placenta, thus inducing labor.

“I can remember feeling a great burning pain,” she said. “And then my water broke. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to drown tu' Pa Pa', because I would have that day.” I was born the next morning at 1:29 a.m. at USC Medical Center. The doctors referred to me as “the baby born holding a bullet.”

In 1999, I graduated from Art Center College of Design. In 2002, I received a Masters of Art from New York University. Today I am living in California helping raise my son. He likes cars.

 

 

Artist Statement 2009

 

My paintings are often backdrops of colliding realities mixed with Los Angeles faces. The people in my work are close to me; family members, friends and colleagues. The narratives are both, personal and unapologetic.

I enjoy the evidence of layers; a nurtured surface that is attained through several applications. My surfaces are physical, layered panels and layered paint built up in some areas and sanded back in others, laboriously applied over a long period.

The textures and colors in my work are a balance of bronzy flesh tints and painterly hatches. Warm earth tones and cool skies become reminiscent of the clear weather and vivid landscape of Southern California.

 

 

Artist Statement 2012

 

My paintings and drawings are deeply personal and represent streams of thought based on personal experiences and the individuals who have influenced my life. I paint realistically, but not necessarily academically. My flaws represent the idiosyncrasies of my personal vision. I characterize my approach as magical surreal. Symbolic tableaus weave into non-linear narratives. They are backdrops of colliding realities: my past, present, and imagined experiences.

I was raised in a working-class household of immigrant parents. My mother was a seamstress and my father, a welder/ ironworker. They both relied on the mastery of their skills to put food on the table. The exposure to their labor carried over into my psyche. Consequently, I favor a physicality to art-making, and I try to imbue the art object with that quality, i.e., where marks echo gesture, layers are built up through various stages of media over long periods, and surfaces express diverse textures and treatments. The objects are a result of (often) digressive labor, wherein process itself becomes a part of the subject. I try to make this transparent by leaving evidence of production, intentional and unintentional, wherever I can. No matter how seemingly ideal the finished work is, struggle is always a component of the piece. As a result, painted works that look pristine, even trompe l’oeil, from a distance or in reproduction, are scratched, worn, bruised and weathered when seen up close. I make most of my frames from found wood or refurbishing old ones. At times I paint on the frames so that the edges of the painting are difficult to ascertain at first glance. Similarly, my drawings are executed realistically, but with no reverence to the material they are on. I will tear, rip, tape, and sand or paint out parts of drawings. I draw on gessoed wood and papers, smudge, and smear them until they are finished. My drawings are large. Often they are bigger than life size. The wood, I draw on are found pieces of old walls or doors. When I am not painting or drawing, I have wood and linocuts in progress and when I don’t have access to a press, I print by hand. The prints, serve as studies for some of my paintings or stand as their own investigations. All of these processes connote that nostalgia I have for a working-class tradition. The struggle with material, in the pursuit of an image, echoes the labors of my parents who worked to fulfill their own meanings in life.