Dean Adrian Tió - Artist Statement

Dean Adrian Tió's Studio


I have always felt torn between two cultures; the suburban middle-class objectivity of my American birth, and the passionate sensitivity of my Latino heritage. I am of direct Puerto Rican decent, but was born in the Mid-West, and have never lived extensively in Puerto Rico. Although there are still a number of relatives in Puerto Rico, (the Diaz side of the family), my infrequent contacts are with the stateside kin (the Tio side). Most of my life has been spent in middle-class America; the suburbs are my barrio, and English is my language. Without an ability to communicate in Spanish as well, I have become culturally shy of my own ethnicity. Rather than the ideal acculturation that many minorities seek, I have become fully enculturated. My interest in bright color, rhythmic patterning and expressive figurative imagery, combined with mixed media, including oil pastels, charcoal, conte, and acrylic washes on paper, provides a fresh interpretation to events and individuals that I have come into contact with. Recent studio developments in experimental techniques in printmaking, papermaking, and the book arts that include bilingual text, offer a new visual format that seeks to communicate to a broader audience. I have found that the visual arts have long been a significant part of Latino culture, providing a visible means of communicating social consciousness and reawakened self-esteem. A considerable amount of my time has been spent in developing a "bivisual" means of communicating to both cultures through my artwork. The works are hybrids; they combine elements of both mainstream America and exotic Hispania. Through these works, I attempt to reach out to my Latino past in a concerted effort to expand and enrich my mainstream identity. Where my enculturated mainstream upbringing has denied my Latino ancestry, my artwork creates an acculturated balance between these two worlds.