Meet Clotilde Jiménez, an artist who possesses the kind of magical uniqueness that can only exist when true passion is matched by creativity and limitless exploration of identity.
Born in Honolulu and currently based in Mexico City, Jiménez is an Afro-Latino male who has dedicated his work, life, and creations to exploring what black masculinity is all about through visual art.
His message is communicated using multimedia collages, a technique he mastered thanks to his studies in printmaking and painting, from the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London, respectively.
According to Clotilde’s bio on his website, strategically cut and placed layers of different materials allow him to visually present various aspects of his experiences and life. “Most of my work is autobiographical, so collage allows me to tell several stories at the same time,” he said.
These are not the kinds of collages you used to make as a kid, ripping out magazine clippings and throwing them together haphazardly with some glue or tape. Jiménez carefully selects materials that represent different elements of the visual narrative he wants to share and then layers those pieces together in such a way to explore and celebrate the nuances of being a Queer and Afro-Latino male in today’s society.
His work is designed to make viewers question the limitations placed on men in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and physical form.
To do this, he creates his collages on paper using a combination of everyday materials such as brown paper, kitchen towels, sandpaper, pieces of clothing fabric, etc., along with found imagery from magazines and painted or hand-drawn elements.
When placed together, these images create a cohesive message that explores the idea of “blackness” as well as the question: “What is so queer about queerness?”
In his work, you see many motifs of boxers and bodybuilders, with collaged figures of black men in boxing rings wearing boxing gloves and headgear. The models are strong and powerful but also guarded with their fists up. These motifs, along with the other images and symbols that reoccur in his work, represent various aspects of Jiménez’s life and serve almost as a patchwork, visually expressing the many complex aspects of his identity.
“The work became a tapestry of my life that transcribes and reconstructs the societal idée fixe of the black body in popular culture, while also undermining the notions of gender normativity within a black subjectivity.”
His most recent exhibit, his debut solo exhibition, was entitled “THE CONTEST” and featured works that “grapple with his deeply personal and once estranged relationship with his father, a bodybuilder, and boxer. Jiménez adopts the boxer and bodybuilder as motifs, recalling early ideas of the body, specifically the Black male body,” according to the gallery hosting the exhibit.
After struggling to find images that looked like him in pop culture and modern art, Jiménez has found his unique style and technique that allows him to create imagery that speaks to who he truly is — a bisexual Black and Puerto Rican man.
Through his art, he is able to explore and share his queer reality, his family’s history, his relationships with relatives, and his relationship with himself.
It’s hard not to be drawn into his collages and to really feel like you are getting a glimpse into the artist’s mind as you observe. His work is unexpected and honest and definitely, something to be seen and appreciated.