A visual artist I admire is Afro-Latino, Honolulu-born, Clotilde Jiménez, who grew up in North Philadelphia.
He was raised in a tough neighborhood, but thanks to his mother, he used his artistic talent to move out of the city and enroll in college. Clotilde received his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio in 2013 in printmaking. He completed an MFA in painting at the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 2018.
He has exhibited at The Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, Phillips in New York, the Slade School of Fine Art, and the Jacob Lawrence Gallery in Seattle. In 2015, Clotilde was awarded the Nesnadny + Schwartz Visiting Curator Program by MOCA Cleveland and was the recipient of a studio visit by Naomi Beckwith, Curator at MCA Chicago.
His first solo show, The Contest, was at the Chicago-based Mariane Ibrahim Gallery in 2020. The exhibition explored his own queer imagination and its relation to his physical body. He examined the way athleticism and queerness relate to himself as a Black male, with large-scale collages of boxers and bodybuilders, as well as bronze sculptures of the athletes’ headgear.
Much of his work is autobiographical, and he uses colorful collage to tell several stories at the same time. Working with materials that allude to Western culture, he reuses everyday items such as wallpaper, popular clothing brand names, magazine clippings, and papers of Mexican craft.
Clotilde’s work evokes imaginative play and carefree simplicity, while posing questions about gender performance, sexuality, social justice, and racial equality. His final products are bold, but also intimate and vulnerable. Based on his own childhood experiences, he asks the question, “What is so queer about queerness?”
I am proud to own two of his pieces, Post-Colonial Booty (2017), a mixed media collage on paper, and the bronze, Black Boy Head (2018).