March 4 - April 14, 2022
"Unbecoming" features paintings, felt collages, cyanotypes, video and installations by five San Antonio artists: Loot Achris, Sarah Fox, Justin Schneider, Mauro de la Tierra, and Samuel Velasquez. Initially, the works of art in “Unbecoming” draw the viewer in with their stunning appearance and bold imagery. However, upon closer inspection, these pieces convey uncomfortable, unexpected narratives.
Unbecoming figures populate the works, revealing the strangely familiar but alluding to ominous undercurrents of everyday life. Steeped in fear, humor, and absurdity the works address the crude and taboo of the human condition. The juxtaposition of the familiar and ghoulish imagery lends itself to themes of humor and camp aesthetic. These aggregate expressions move us through the uncharted nature of the ego.
Samuel Velasquez was born in 1985 and raised on the south side of San Antonio Texas. As a child he was raised with the ghost stories and cultural practices and beliefs of family members and sometimes scary folklore of the surrounding area. Samuel was later introduced to other cultural beliefs from around the world with their own unique properties as well as similarities.
He attended Palo Alto College where after being unhappy with his first major switched to art, and took his first painting class. With painting Samuel could finally fully visualize the images that had been in his head for years. Shortly after he transferred to the University of Texas at San Antonio where he graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree specializing in oil paintings. While he was attending university Samuel refined his painting skills, and along with an ever growing interest in the paranormal, mythology, psychedelic imagery and love of animals. Samuels mind was further opened by diving into the meaning of different mythologies from around the world and throughout different times.
Samuel has continuously been an active artist participating in numerous gallery exhibitions including several solo shows. Currently teaching at the Southwest School of Art, he's taught students of all ages through the schools youth and community programs using oil and acrylics, teaching the basics he was taught and making the technique he uses accessible.
Sarah Fox’s multi-media narratives and characters are created from embodied female experience. Stories of life, loss, sex and love are told through corporeal hybrid creatures. The resulting collages, cyanotypes, and animations suggest a childlike fairytale but with an undercurrent of dark symbolism.
Her work has been shown throughout Texas, as well as in the Kinsey Institute (Bloomington, Indiana), Field Projects Gallery (New York, New York), Espacio Dörffi (Lanzarote, Canary Islands), Bedsetter Art Fair (Vienna, Austria), and Casa Lu (Mexico City). In 2019 she was a recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation grant that allowed her to live and work at the Women’s Studio Workshop in NY with her son.
She was raised in Houston, Texas and currently lives and works in San Antonio, Texas with her 3-year old son William and their dog Myra. She teaches at the Southwest School of Art and Texas State University.
Mauro de la Tierra
Mauro de la Tierra is a first-generation Mexican American from San Antonio; a self-taught painter, sculptor, and illustrator. What began with street art transitioned into canvas and beyond. With support from his community, and his mentor, Albert Gonzales, he has been self-employed as a full-time artist since October 2017. Mauro considers himself community-made and is community-driven. His work focuses on socio-economic challenges and generational struggles such as the prison industrial complex, poverty, addiction, and the deterioration of the earth. His work captures a side of life that is often vilified and ignored while also making a statement of love for humanity. With the use of spray paint, acrylic, and oil paints, Mauro creates heavy textures on canvas in a modern and raw style of whimsical, surreal, abstract expressionism.
In the same year that Mauro launched himself into art full time, he began leading and collaborating with The Black Sheep Collective, a group of DIY misfit artist extraordinaires. Together they have put on six pop-up gallery exhibitions and performances. His work thus far has been shown in various zines such as High Noon and galleries which have included Galleria Eva, Bear & Ink Gallery, Southtown Gallery, Golden Wolf studios, Community Artists' Collective and The Parish. Mauro recently had his 3rd solo exhibition at Not For You Gallery. He is currently working on his 4th illustration book that will be a bold statement of the realities of addiction, depression and anxiety through a story about beginning therapy in hopes to encourage folks to ask for help.
Loot Achris (aka Lauri Garcia Jones, b. 1981) is a visual artist and native of San Antonio, Texas.
Pursuing her arts education later in life, she attended Southwest School of Art on a full scholarship where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2018. She has exhibited her work throughout Texas and has work in private and public collections. In 2021, she was a recipient of the San Antonio Individual Artist Project Grant.
In her early life, Loot Achris was introduced to art by her father, a self-taught outsider artist dedicated to sign painting and window art. She often accompanied him on jobs to assist as needed- often to clean brushes and provide critiques on line work. Loot Achris found her own interest in drawing characters while in middle school, but paused this pursuit once she entered high school due to an unstable home life.
Loot Achris continued to make art periodically throughout her early life and openly exhibited her passion for creating to her children while raising them to pursue their own passions. Once her children were older, she began taking the steps to pursue art professionally. While at Southwest School of Art, Loot Achris explored many different forms of art-making, which inevitably lead her back to illustration. After earning her BFA, she aggressively invested her time into her art practice and started to see an emerging theme in her art.
Witches, weirdos, perverts, and the ridiculousness of childhood. These are a few words that describe the characters and situations revealed throughout Loot Achris’s illustrative work.
As a child exposed to pedophilia, perversion, and promiscuity, Loot Achris often works from a place of trauma. Characters, children and adults, share broken smiles, tired eyes, and unimpressed expressions.
Today, Loot Achris continues to explore the dark corners of childhood trauma through her present work, regardless of medium. She resides in San Antonio, Texas with her family and maintains an active studio practice while working as an admissions counselor for the BFA program at Southwest School of Art and The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Justin Schneider currently lives in San Antonio, TX. His work is a mixture of stylized graphic forms commingling with refined and loosely painted imagery. Schneider’s paintings peel back the simultaneous reverence and aversion towards unfiltered human emotions. He is also a passionate art teacher and has been teaching at St. Philip’s College since 2015 as a full-time adjunct instructor.