Richard Valentin

Artist Statement

In this work I am exploring ideas surrounding memory, family, intergenerational trauma, horror, growth, and nature. Life Finds A Way is a motto I’ve used throughout my life as a way of motivating myself through precarious times. Times such as being physically abused by a family member, being left out on the streets of New York City, or even the fear of losing someone close to you. 

This body of work which includes 5 sculptures, soft and not soft, of the first generation Americans in my family. The work itself is about exploring the identities of my family and looking at the past, examining how they’ve lived and navigated through life in America. As first gen Americans coming from immigrant parents, there was a lot of fear they had to be able to navigate around. For example, being able to support their children while in poverty, dealing with racism on a day to day basis, and even this idea of hustle culture where they’ve had to work multiple minimum wage jobs under horrible conditions just to be able to support themselves and each other. 

Along with the sculptures come parts of the Ceiba Tree which I am using to describe this exploration of the past and the roots that we came from. The Ceiba tree is an important part of the installation as in Central America, and in some Indigenous cultures, it is considered the Tree of Life, or The World Tree. 

In this rendition of the work there will be three sculptures displayed out of the total 5. The sculptures are of my mother, aunt, and step father; exploring my fears, hopes, and discovery of who my family are/were and how I can learn from them in order to expand my way of life, and honor how much they have endured/sacrificed to get the next generation to where/how we exist in the present.

Artist Bio

Richard Valentin is a New York based artist. He was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. Richard Valentin comes from a family with a background of the arts and education. He’s a Queer Guatemalan/Puerto Rican American; however he was raised by his Guatemalan half. Richard grew up in New York City, tackling its concrete jungle; with a single mother, learning to survive and adapt to a life in the city. 

Since then Richard attended The High School of Art & Design, studying Illustration. Richard Valentin was also amongst the class of 2017 within the Parsons Scholars Program. Richard then Graduated from SUNY Purchase college with a degree in Theatre and Performance with a double minor in Psychology and Playwriting.