Los rótulos (sign paintings) in Mexico, are one of the most popular professions by excellence. They have persisted and adapted to the modern technological maelstrom, from hand painted signs to digital printing processes. La rotulación (the action of sign painting) is part of the panorama of public spaces rooted in popular culture and associated with proletarian and poverty aesthetics, design monstrosities, and conceptual archaisms. Since the 90s, the rótulos and their aesthetic have been appropriated by the upper classes as a projection of a proletarian idealization through the aesthetics of lo naco (tacky), kitsch, ugly, lower class cultural curiosities and ornaments.
The rótulos, with their simple aesthetics can sometimes go unnoticed, yet they are an aesthetic phenomenon imbued with conceptual and artistic qualities, essentially used for the purpose of commercial promotion, generally painted on the facades of the stores. In this way, city walls become giant canvases, overlapping layers of advertisements covered by white paint and forever re-painted sometimes exposing its multiple layers that juxtapose different texts and contexts. The practical-politic structure of the rótulo contains a strong and emotional historic-socio-cultural charge displaying everything from ads for concerts of sonideros (Mexican DJ) to political campaigns, forging nuanced interrelationships and contrasts between popular diversity and political control over the public through text and image.
Rótulos employs the sign paintings to deconstruct and comprehend conceptions like paradigms, clichés, nostalgia and stereotypes created by and for our societies in local and diasporic contexts. This project emerges from the perspective of what it means to be a Mexican artist living in a diaspora and in this way, Rótulos is a meditation on diaspora, exile, and political interventions that affect and transform social-cultural perspectives from our Mexican communities. Concepts like irony and sarcasm (like the use of the spanglish) are employed as a device to better understand how our Mexican and Latin American societies are built over idealizations and barroquismos (images excesses brought about through colonization and Catholicism). Rotulos. Narrativas Culturales aims to use the rótulos as an art per se, as didactics, liberation, manifestation, and retrieval of public spaces. The rótulo, as part of the public space, lets us be part of place and community, and to identify with our surroundings, to belong here and there, and to be part of our diaspora and our place of origin as a cohesive duality instead of a divisive dichotomy.