Michael Menchaca

Michael Menchaca



NorthEast Region of USA
Michael Menchaca
Mixing the language of popular cartoons with imagery drawn from Mesoamerican cultures, Michael Menchaca explores contemporary issues faced by those who migrate to the United States. Although his training is in printmaking, the artist also uses video, installation, and performance to examine tensions along the border between the US and Mexico. In his print series Digital Codex, Menchaca updates the ancient form of the codex—folded books used in pre-Columbian cultures to chronicle events, natural and cosmological subjects, and stories of legend and everyday life. The artist replaces the ancient symbols with his own vocabulary of cartoonish characters and signs, forming a present-day response to the age-old precedents of his Mexican ancestry. Menchaca uses this vocabulary for works in other media, like the digital animation Codex Vidiot Vidi, which shares the flatness and left-to-right orientation of classic video games. In this narrative, a mustachioed cat in a sombrero represents the plight of Mexican immigrants to the US, fighting an ongoing battle against seemingly overwhelming odds.

A string of events led me to feel increasingly racialized, which led me to do some research on my cultural heritage. I was thinking about referencing the origin of that cultural conflict—European colonization—and then taking that as the precedent for the way that I wanted to talk about these situations.

— Michael Menchaca