I am motivated by the idea of empathy. By portraying first person reactions to real-world struggles such as poverty, disease, violence, and immigration, I create pieces that explore different ideas of identity, borders, and kinship to inspire wonder and social action.
Born in Mexico and raised in Chicago, I have practiced art since I was a child. In particular, drawing has been my method of choice. While drawing, I can trace steps over and over, quickly make a stroke, or erase marks that leave traces as a foundation for what’s to come. These actions mirrored my life growing up in two countries, with two languages, and in two very different realities within a city.
I love using reclaimed wood and paper for a couple of reasons. First, it helps me leave a smaller carbon footprint by using a material that would otherwise be tossed onto a landfill. But most importantly, using reclaimed materials enhances each piece I create on its surface. Since each reclaimed object has by happenstance been cut in a unique shape – often times the negative space of the original pattern – I am endowed with more than a blank ‘canvas.’ While I will make a piece reflecting my current themes, the particular object will serve as a navigational tool when it comes to the pictorial structure of the piece more so than if I were working on a standard smooth, rectangular surface.
See more of Edelweiss Cardenas’s work here.