Joel Gaytan is a Mexican artist who is a BFA graduate from Eastern Washington University (2018). He has been a practicing artist from a young age. More recently his work consisted of 2d figurative artworks such as drawings and paintings. Joel’s artwork portrays familiar scenes and experiences from his upbringing, as he feels that Latinx voices or perspectives are often dismissed within the mainstream. In his work he creates scenes within the lives of his subjects often giving his art a candid or voyeuristic approach. Creating familiarity with the viewer is an important motivation for Joel’s art and equally it is essential to produce a more inclusive space for a variety of experiences.
The works from this body of work are meant to bring recognition to the Latinx community within Walla Walla, Washington. The images represent the strength of a community that is in many ways a seminal part of this city, and yet is often underrepresented. Flipping through the pages of a publication such as Walla Walla Lifestyles might give you a slight indication that there is a lively Latinx community that resides here, why is that? It is extremely frustrating being part of a community where the social construct fails to acknowledge the work of a minority community, yet willing to reap all the rewards for said work. The drawings in this series are meant to symbolize people, stories, and experiences that I have seen, heard, and lived. There is more to this town than the renowned, superficial wineries, and the posh downtown will lead you to believe. I would like the Latinx community to know that their participation in the Walla Walla valley is valued, appreciated, and an integral part to the growth of this city.