Master of Fine Arts candidate Migueltzinta Solis utilizes various forms of performance, textile, video, and installation art to explore themes of power, gender, territory, perversity, institutional intrigue and notions of the Wild West.

Specifically, his sum work performs a collision of rural, colonial, and queer imaginaries. Imaginaries are invented identities of cultures and groups that are often mistakenly contributed to the whole of that culture of group. Through his art, Migueltzinta juxtaposes these imaginaries in his art and, in doing so, breaks them down. Migueltzinta hopes that his works sparks discussions on identity and imaginaries, why they exist, and why certain imaginaries clash even though they mesh in reality.

As people, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to fit within the boundaries of imaginaries. Being immersed in rural culture and Nature does not dictate out sexual preference or identity, nor our inclination to understand and become involved in other cultures and groups.

Migueltzinta’s current work embodies these themes in his performance persona Chico California, a homosexual leather man seeking to engage in erotic relationships with space, site, and inanimate objects. The Chico California persona was inspired by the gay leather imaginary and Tom of Finland-style aesthetic. Through Chico California, Migueltzinta blurs the roles of power between man and Nature to elicit a confusing mix of want and fear, longing and revulsion in onlookers.

“As an artist, to elicit this kind of reaction in another is a beautiful accomplishment: it is to share my own experience of longing which allows us to feel, even if just for an agonizing, luxurious second, connected, seen and fulfilled.”

When asked what inspires his work, Migueltzinta describes a wanting to “fuse the often-separated experiences of being gay or queer and having a connectedness to ‘Nature’ and the rural” Through this cultural hybridity and queering of rural political and cultural paradigms, Migueltzinta intends to unpack ideas of land and gender, western expansion and the imaging of colonially occupied territory.

Currently in his second year of study in the Fine Arts graduate program, Migueltzinta praises his valuable mentorship from his supervisor Jackson 2Bears and the opportunity to meet and work with many peers and collaborators. “I feel, for the first time in my life, a real sense of connection to an arts community.”