A man in civilian clothes looks at another man wearing an army uniform and resting a rifle in his arm. | "When Lambs Become Lions"

Link Voices

Start watching
HRzkkPW-show-poster2x3-pWmERoT.jpg

Foreign Correspondent

Start watching
A man looks out to a vast landscape of mountains and water. | From "Embrace of the Serpent" / Kino Lorber

Cinemondo

Start watching
RYQ2PZQ-show-poster2x3-OGargou.jpg

Earth Focus

Start watching
Rahaf Al Qunun | "Four Corners" episode "Escape from Saudi"
New episodes Sundays, 9 p.m. ET/PT

Four Corners

Start watching
jElHzF3-show-poster2x3-ilk2bxh.jpg

America ReFramed

Start watching
xKxYSKH-show-poster2x3-TLSXWK0.jpg

Tending Nature

Start watching
Heart Donate Icon
Support the world of Link TV with a donation today.
Sustaining Gifts Icon Card
Consider giving on a monthly basis to help continue to support us in our mission.
Planned Giving Icon
There are many ways to include Link TV in your plans for the future.

Scavenger Harmony: Alejandro Zacarías Deconstructs Tijuana

"Desastre Natural"
Artwork of Alejandro Zacarías

The pursuit for the ever evolving, wonderful palette of hybridism and meaning that is Tijuana can be clearly documented in Alejandro Zacarías's monster scenarios and concepts surrounding home. Alejandro's eyes are abandoned, open doors into a discarded history reinterpreted by way of materials-turned-organisms, properties becoming methods, the geometric and the splattered. Lurking in the thick of his creations exists an encouraging nontraditional approach towards investigation and storytelling, peering into the broken and castaway cityscape, culled from the curbs of nocturnal disdain that its denizens inhabit. These chronicles are allusions to the fading colors of war-torn monuments, to the movement of buildings amid empty playgrounds and curfews, a remembrance of flight indifferent to dimensional planes.

"Isla Residuos"
"Isla Residuos," Alejandro Zacarías
"Diablitos"
"Diablitos" Alejandro Zacarías

Tracking the urban rhythm of permanence through rejection accelerates Zacarías's necessity for placing memory and denial into active, charged, frantic installations and artwork on a quest for truth and understanding. These lost and found objects reunite at the forefront of civility and chaos, an affirmation of the violence of temporality and the persistence of the human spirit through rugged ethereal construction. New life and spirit are injected into jettisoned objects that rise up from their tombs to summon the beauty that once was. The discarded are repurposed as art. Messages and biology lie in manufactured truth and isolation, like Tijuana itself.

"Aqui y Ahora"
"Aqui y Ahora" by  Alejandro Zacarías

Zacarías's current artistic style evolved from prior creative experimentation inspired by his horizons and news-gathering in the ruins, passageways and backstreets of Tijuana. "My first contact with art was through drawing, I used to entertain myself by drawing everything. I'd find concepts everywhere, mainly things that interested me on the street, such as the imagery generated on the walls of old houses. It was through an exhibition that my train of thought changed, and from that point on, I began painting and then studied silk-screening and fine arts and never stopped doing it since," he affirms. Zacarías's work started to develop a more composite nature, where mixed media and found objects started to inform and take over his outpour and ensemble representations. "Mixed media and assembly in my work came naturally, yet slowly. Objects that called to my attention almost always surrounded me; I'd always find form within them. I began to look for a way to fuse painting with objects and little by little, these objects began offsetting painting in my body of work until they became the basis of it," he confides.

"Desplazamiento de Memoria"
"Desplazamiento de Memoria," Alejandro Zacarías
"Inventario Domestico 2"
"Inventario Domestico 2"  Alejandro Zacarías

Zacarías chooses to follow the beat of his own instincts in the creation of an art piece, with no set plan and more of a daily quest in his sights. "My process is a bit complicated, because there is no process. Many a times, it depends on a location, a discourse, or a found object or a space that makes me see things in a different light. When assembly is involved, it's a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, it's a bit mental and a bit playful," he states. As an artist creating directly from a hard-working rhythm and a love for unpredictability, Zacarías has innately developed structures from the garages and workshops of his mind. "Based off these materials and objects, I try to build a structure where different elements can function in harmony within an art piece. In installations and site-specific work, the space determines how I will work and the type of materials I'll use. My interventions in the public sphere seek to evidence the anonymity of residual spaces, which certainly represent my interest in temporality and states of obscurity," Zacarías declares.

With a career spanning nearly 30 years, Zacarías's cautious ups and downs have strengthened his convictions as an artist, and positioned him as one of Baja's most contemporaneous reflections of its variety, skill and resourcefulness. "There have been difficult stages in my career, where I started to question my work and wondered if I could really contribute something to art or if this was simply a way to feed my ego, and as a result, I stopped creating artwork for a while. But my most prosperous time is now, these moments, where I produce little by little, yet constantly, and I am happy with what I do," he states.

Forever respectful and indebted to his environment and city, to its streets and its liberty, Zacarías pays homage to the hodgepodge mecca by borrowing from its stories in order to create, by deconstructing Tijuana. "Tijuana is the principal influence in my work, the diversity of its people, the urban contrast in its topography, its inconsistencies, myths, history, and long list of contradictions. My future art projects are to produce, produce, and produce more artwork. I really feel like I'm truly beginning to create work that matters," he affirms.

"La Cama"
La Cama,"  Alejandro Zacarías


Dig this story? Sign up for our newsletter to get unique arts & culture stories and videos from across Southern California in your inbox. Also, follow Artbound on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

All photographs courtesy of Alejandro Zacarías.

Related Content
Carla Jay Harris "Sphinx," 2019. Archival pigment print. Two panels, 40 x 30 in. each. The work features a beautiful Black woman wearing a dark blue dress kneeling down in a golden meadow under a starry sky and bright orange sun. | Courtesy the artist

Now More Than Ever: The Need for Alternative Cultural Spaces

Learn more about the spaces filling the holes left behind by the historically white-centric L.A. art world.
Aerial view of Watts Towers Arts Center | Still from "Watts Towers Arts Center" ab s11

Stretching Out into the Community: Five Key Watts Artists Who Helped Shape American Art

Meet the core artists who were the vanguards of the West Coast edition of the Black Arts Movement: Betye Saar, Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge and Jayne Cortez.
Mural at Mafundi Institute | Still from "Broken Bread" Watts

As If I was Carrying a Gun: Art and Surveillance in 1960s Watts

An arts movement emerged in ‘60s Watts. In response, federal and local law enforcement enacted counterinsurgency programs that infiltrated and co-opted Black arts and culture institutions and surveilled and targeted activists, artists and community member