Past Exhibition: April 2, 2021 — April 24, 2021
Jaylen Pigford: See What I See
Jaylen Pigford (b. 1996) is an Afro-Latino painter born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas and based in Houston. The son of an African-American father and a mother of Mexican descent, Pigford is a self-taught artist and has been creating artwork since childhood. He sees his work as a balance of light and dark. His paintings are autobiographical reflections on past negative experiences and adversity to tell a story of self-growth through uplifting works on canvas. “It is always good with the bad. We all struggle, our failures test us, it’s what action we take to correct them that matters most.”
Like many artists before him, Pigford uses skulls in his work to represent mortality and that no person is above any other. Popular across many cultures, the Renaissance painter’s fascination with Memento Mori was a symbolic reminder of death’s inevitability and belief that earthly possessions and achievements are fleeting and that an indivdual’s energy should be focused on divine judgement and salvation. Drawing inspiration from his heritage and cultural tradition of Dia De Los Muertos, he believes “there is life in all things, even death.” In his paintings, he puts a twist on the decorative Calaveras, Calacas (skulls, skeletons), and vibrant, bold, colorful motifs used to adorn altars to honor deceased family members’ memory.
I believe that whether we accept it or not, death inspires everyone. Knowing that your time is limited encourages you to live your life to the fullest and strive to reach every one of your goals. To live in the moment and enjoy family and friends. It is also a reminder that we are all equal.