MFA Candidate Spotlight: Guadalupe Navarro

Available at the Georgia Museum of Art blog.

The annual Master of Fine Arts Degree Candidates Exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art opens on April 13 (with an opening reception the night before from 6 to 8 p.m. that is free and open to the public). The exhibition will display the creative works of eight students slated to graduate from the Lamar Dodd School of the Art in May. We will spotlight some of these candidates, continuing with metalsmithing student Guadalupe Navarro.

Guadalupe Navarro spent his life up until coming to the University of Georgia in Illinois, where he was born on the south side of Chicago. He received two bachelor of arts degrees from Ball State University, one in drawing and painting and the other in visual arts with an emphasis in metals. The latter came as more of a surprise to him, as metalsmithing was a form entirely alien to him until the junior year of his undergraduate studies.

This brand-new medium was unlike any other, in that he could not rush through learning techniques and creating pieces, much like he had done before when studying new skills. Metalsmithing is a long, laborious process, and its process intrigued Navarro enough to make him determined to learn more and become better.

“Metals really made me take a step farther back in terms of being able to learn again,” Navarro said. “I really like the aspect of, in some capacity, being a lifetime student, and with metals you can really do that because, you know, there’s so many aspects of metalsmithing, there’s so many techniques and tools to master. You could never go through all of them.”

Navarro also cites the required patience of metalsmithing as a catalyst for reevaluating and expanding skills he already possessed, particularly in drawing and creating concepts and narratives for his pieces.

“[Metalsmithing is] very tedious. A very repetitive process that you can’t really rush,” Navarro said. “And I think it’s taught me a lot to take my time with my studio practice, and I think other drawing aspects and everything about my studio practice and other mediums have gotten better because of metalsmithing.”

Navarro’s current work focuses around his life as an inner-city, first-generation, Mexican-American boy. He cites subjects such as Mexican pride, Mexican drug culture, Catholicism and the current status of undocumented migrants in the U.S. His wish is to share these narratives more within the world of fine arts.

“There’s not a lot of Hispanics [in the fine arts world], and just kind of thinking about that and giving a narrative to my story…. I’ve always viewed my work as kind of like a self-portrait, even if it’s not an exact drawing of my own face. Your work is a self-portrait of yourself,” he said.

After graduation, Navarro hopes to continue his studio practice and present his work in gallery spaces, as well as to stand as an advocate and a voice for those like him who may not have the opportunity to speak.

“I kind of want to give my perspective, which is relatively unique to the field, and relative in the objects that I’m making. I feel that it’s really new and fresh and relative to the political times,” said Navarro. “Hopefully I could kind of be an ambassador to people that came from where I came from and have my perspective.”

To see Navarro’s work, along with that of all the other MFA candidates, you can visit the exit show on view April 13 – May 19, 2019.

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