Mario Godinez: Hearts and Bones
Mario Godinez’s art fuses Hispanic, Anglo and Pop cultures
by David Alexander Gonzalez
It has not always been about painting monsters and calaveras for Mario Godinez. Though, when observing his work, that may be hard to believe.
Godinez’s use of paint in his latest collection, entitled Café Tacvba is somewhat of a digression for an artist who is more known for his work as a sculptor. Lately, however, he has found comfort in painting.
The high cost of materials and the time it took to complete his sculptures steered the artist back to painting. His mother introduced Godinez to the medium when he was a child. She took the advice of a therapist and sought out something to channel Godinez’s vast energy into something productive.
“I might have been a little hyper-active,” said the Guanajuato-born Godinez. “During my childhood, we moved a lot until my dad found a job in Texas. We lived in Mexico for a year without my dad, and that was pretty hard on my mom, so my dad finally brought us here to the U.S.”
Godinez lived in Edinburg until he finished middle school, and then his family moved to Harlingen. Here, he began focusing on his art as a student at Harlingen High School South.
“I always [drew] because of my mom, and it was always something that I would do as a hobby. But in high school, it was Mr. Carlos Leal who pushed me a little bit more to continue the arts. Because honestly, in high school I didn’t really know what I wanted to be. Thanks to him, I went to college and studied art.”
At UT Pan-American, Godinez’s alma mater, he met other artists who motivated him to see art as a profession instead of a hobby.
Now an art teacher himself, Godinez currently works at Roma High School, inspiring students (as his high school teacher Mr. Leal did for him) to go out and make their own contributions to the world.
“I paint the things that inspire me as a person and that I see as beautiful,” said the emerging Valley artist about his on own contribution. “I’m kind of selfish in my work, in that I create things for myself.”
The Café Tacvba series is a tribute to his favorite band from Mexico. Within the series, Gordinez includes aspects of pop culture, the living dead and his childhood images engrained from his time in neighboring Mexico. His calaveras, which is Spanish word for “skeletons”, references the Mexican cultural phenomenon Dia de los Muertes (Day of the Dead) and gives his work a local cultural depth rarely seen mixed with widespread White-American culture.
It is evident that Godinez channels his still-hyper-active mind into his work, giving his audience a glimpse into the darkness it contains. It has a sense of familiarity that we can all find in ourselves.