Artist Interviews 2022
By Laura Siebold
Asmin Jatziri Barron Preciado aka Jatziri Barron and her art are special and diverse. Her portraits of women are as powerful as they are colorful. Influenced by her Mexican heritage, Jatziri paints with the intention of exploring her own voice and emotions. In her interview, Jatziri reveals the powerful messages behind both her women portraits and her abstract art. We learn about the importance of color, translucency, and layers as the three pillars of Jatziri’s art.
Jatziri Barron is based in Houston, Texas.
Asmin, you are a Latina artist living in Houston. Did you grow up there? When were your first encounters with art?
Yes! I’ve been working and living in Houston for the past 7 years, but I was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico. I first encountered art when I was 14 in school classes, but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I developed a huge interest and decided I wanted to become a professional artist.
A large body of your work is abstract. What made you choose this direction? Can you walk us through the process of creating one of your abstract pieces of art? How is this process different from creating fine art still life, for example?
Yes, a big part of my current work is abstract! I started my career as a portrait and figurative artist and as much as I love figurative work, I always felt the need for exploration and expansion. When I started experimenting with abstraction, I found a more kinetic, gestural, and organic connection with my paintings not only for me, but also for my viewers. I find interesting how abstract plays a huge role in giving voice to our unconsciousness and therefore helps us learn, reveal, and understand a lot about ourselves. It also activates our imagination!
There’s also a direction I have planned with abstraction and figurative and [this] is the reason why right now [it] is so important for me to become a great as possible with abstract, this will reveal later on my pieces and [I] can’t wait for everybody to see!
Another focus of your work are women, specifically Mexican women. What was the reason behind making women the focus of your portraits? Are your portraits based on women you know?
I believe a woman should be completely free to have ambitions and contrasts with no shame, to be soft and delicate but also strong and powerful, to simply honor her true nature. Looking in retrospective, my focus on women has been influenced in big part by my experiences in Mexico, but it all started as an exploration of my own voice and emotions that I couldn’t express verbally when I first moved to United States. Growing up in my home country I observed many women serving the stereotypical role of “women” which is still believed by many to be marrying, having kids, raising them, and being in charge of your household. I honor and love all the women that prioritize their families because I grew up in a family like this; however, I also saw incredible potential, passions and dreams being abandoned for fitting a mold. In many countries this is still embedded in their culture and [this] is something I want to advocate through my art, we are more than just that!
A lot of my work talks about healing because that’s the major role art has had in my life, I started by drawing women that I love and were going through hardships and depression, including myself. Now, lots of my paintings are messages of empowerment to women and what an honor than to start with the women that influenced in big part all of this, the Mexican women. It is also good to mention that in the art world, the models are still in majority women, this [is] facilitating and reinforcing their presence in my work!
Some of your women portraits feature faceless women, as in the piece “Braid your Sadness”. What would you like to convey with this specific artwork? How do you utilize nudity in your women portraits?
I painted “Braid your Sadness” inspired by both, a picture of the main ballerinas for the Houston Ballet, and a poem I read from a Mexican grandma titled “I Will Braid Your Sadness” by Paola Klug (I highly recommend everybody to read it!). In my faceless paintings, the message is so important that the abstraction of the faces plays a big role in the delivery of it. The viewer can imagine themselves as part of the artwork or their loved ones when they read the poem or meaning that inspires such works.
My use of nudity started when I took life drawing sessions (where you draw from live models), I believe that our body is our highest expression, it reveals a lot about ourselves. The way we carry this temple of ours can talk about personality, traumas, insecurities, and emotions. My use of nudity is not only sensual but goes beyond that, sometimes even doing life sessions with my clients to create artworks that remind them their inner beauty is also expressed through their bodies.
How have been the reactions of women towards your art? Is your art received differently by different genders?
Most women love and connect with my artwork, especially when they get to analyze and look deeper into the artworks! There’s always a small percentage that find my nudes, for example, too provocative because of misconceptions or not be open to read the message. Art no matter the genders is always received differently from person to person; without generalizing, women might receive it as aspirations or even mirror themselves, while men would just admire them.
Which roles do color, translucency, and layers play in your work? Elaborate.
I love this question! These three elements are really important in my work, especially the abstract one. Color is just part of me, I come from a rich and vibrant culture and [it] is through color that I bring a little bit of it into my life and work every day. Translucency and layering are two other elements that I use to reach my aesthetic; organic textures that through lots of transparent layers and blending create rich colors just like you can find in walls and surfaces exposed to nature, or nature itself! The look is meditative, foggy, and magical. This type of look reminds me of old stucco walls I would see in Mexico all the time as well as the organic textures found in minerals and quartz from which I am a crazy collector!
Which has been your favorite opportunity to exhibit your art so far? What have you learned from the interactions with visitors and viewers of your art?
The most recent and for which I feel really honored, I was part of a month-long exhibition at the Mexican Consulate of Houston for Women’s International Day. Through the interactions with my viewers, I’ve learned more than anything that everything in this world is about connection.
Besides your abstract and fine art and your portraits, you also create murals in exterior and interior spaces. How is the experience of creating a mural different from creating a fine art painting or portrait, or a commissioned piece?
I’m a huge lover of big format because it allows me to use more movement and my body. I’ve always loved sports all my life and before art, I would practice different ones most of my free time. Murals allow me to connect with this part of my identity, as well to connect with people in more urban places other than galleries and shows.
Have you ever collaborated with other artists throughout your career? What was that experience like? Elaborate.
Yes! Not many but I’ve had some great experiences mainly through muralism with other artists, I’m actually planning on a few that I’m excited about with great artists this year. On the other hand, I have had bad ones by collaborating early in my career with some people. It’s important for young women in the art world to be selective with who they work with and make sure to feel comfortable and respected, especially if working with men.
Can you tell us a little about future projects? What is the ultimate goal you have as an artist?
Sure, my favorite part! I’m actually planning and in the process of starting a really special collection inspired in my latest work “Soy Mis Colores” and “Soy Mis Raices”. This collection will be dedicated to Mexican Indigenous people with a big highlight of course in women. I will be releasing this collection in July and August this year with a big event that will include collaborations with many different artist and non-profits. I will be donating part of my sales to different charities in the U.S. and Mexico. My goal as an artist is to one day travel around the world capturing different cultures through my art and developing big productions to share these experiences with as many viewers as I can, who knows maybe [I will] even have my own TV show to make this possible!