Piri the Dreamer and Flying Coyote in Good Company by Josias Figueirido
May 5th - June 22nd, 2023
Piri the Dreamer and Flying Coyote in Good Company, Josias Figueirido’s first solo exhibition in Texas, merges fiction and reality along with digital and analog processes in a series of new works that speak to ideas related to community, friendship, and personal heroes. Since the beginning of 2022, Figueirido has been working on a fictional world in 3D modeling that channels his personal experiences and reflections on topics related to immigration. He is inspired by biographical events, life at the Mexico-US border, and stories from his students, especially from those who cross the border every day of class from Nuevo Laredo (Mexico) to Laredo (US).
Figueirido’s fictional and ever-growing world started with one main space called the Garden, a safe, calm, and idyllic place, and two friends, Piri the Dreamer and Flying Coyote, who playfully engage with the space and with other inhabitants they find in the Garden. In this exhibition, Figueirido introduces new characters and expands the elements of the Garden. The story of Piri the Dreamer and Flying Coyote is primarily one of universal friendship and the unexpected bond that grows between people who were never intended to meet or get along but are united by the same desire for a new beginning far from their places of origin. Figueirido says, “Somehow I think Piri the Dreamer and Flying Coyote are projections of my heroes. They possess those qualities I admire such as playfulness and determination. Their story speaks of turning disadvantages into advantages, new beginnings, and never giving up on dreams.”
Although the story of Piri the Dreamer and Flying Coyote is built in 3D software, the narrative is unfolded and presented to the viewer primarily through airbrushed paintings. Figueirido says, “The finished work highly resembles the digital world, but when one looks at the painting in person, one can tell there is material on the surface, and that fluctuation between the digital and the physical really excites me.” What started as a way to sketch up and make preparations for paintings in 3D modeling has evolved into a never-ending and ever-growing project thanks to the possibilities of the software. Figueirido is continuously creating new spaces and characters, as well as exploring ways of presenting his stories to an audience. Figueirido says, “The possibilities of working in 3D software are endless. Once I have my models, I can project them on canvas and airbrush them, I can 3D print them, I can animate them, and they can be experienced in virtual and augmented reality.”
Josias Figueirido (b. 1983) was born in Santa Eugenia de Riveira, a small fishing town in the
northwest of Spain. After completing his undergraduate studies in London, he moved to
Philadelphia to pursue his graduate studies. Since 2020 he has been living in Laredo, Texas, where he combines his studio work with teaching at Texas A&M International University.
Figueirido has been in residence at Wassaic Project, Millay Arts, and Vermont Studio Center among other places, and he has exhibited his work in national and international solo and group exhibitions. Among other awards, Figueirido received an NEA grant for a collaborative project. His work is in public and private collections such as The Horseman Collection of American Art and the Francisco Fernandez del Riego Museum. Primarily a painter, Figueirido embraces technology as a tool to aid and create work. His work shows the aesthetic impact of the screen, and it addresses topics related to immigration. He is a visual story teller who uses fiction as its main genre. Figueirido says, “I enjoy fiction because it is not real, and yet it connects my imagination to the real world, making me think about real events and feel real emotions. For me, fictional stories blend both imagination and reality and are capable of connecting people cross-culturally. As an artist, fiction gives me control over my stories. I enjoy the freedom of deciding what is possible.”