"I am a first-generation Mexican-American, Queer, Veteran, artist living in San Francisco. My story begins with a generation of immigrants, struggling in a new country, seeking prosperity and a better life for their children. Inspired by the urgency to define what America is to me, and for those like me, I began to compose, archive and document my family as a means to explore our history and identity as Americans.
I am developing a photographic vernacular with my family that explores our relationship to the land that we inhabit, inherit, and occupy. I do so by composing photographs that refer to our historical cultural images and the western art canon. Using gestural composition such as the holding of hands, stern gazes, and the spaces we occupy privately and publicly, I create a collaborative collection of an American experience. Years from now this archive will demonstrate how we thrived; though our country can try to make us illegal, unheard, or unseen, we will always preserve our dignity and self-reliance." - Jose Arias