ANDRÉS HERNÁNDEZ is a Translation and Interpretation student at the Autonomous University of Baja California. His work has appeared in ENTROPY, Impossible Archetype, Boston Accent, and several other publications. He can be found online at www.instagram.com/andrewgrams.
ON COMICS AND POETRY
For a long time I did consider myself more of a writer and didn’t take artmaking very seriously, even though both mediums came very naturally to me since I was very young. I guess, now that I’m older, I’m starting to realize that those mediums don’t really have to compete against each other. I’ve had a much better time blending them both to convey my message more clearly, and I can see that people connect more to the art I make that way.
My voice changes when I’m writing poetry versus when I’m working on a painting or a poem. The overarching sentiments are the same in both, though: vulnerability, rawness, sensuality. But each one of my poems is part of a larger project or collection with a very specific aesthetic and topic. I feel like I can talk about many things in just one poem, which doesn’t happen with my comics or illustrations. These are a lot more direct and universal, contained in their own narrative.
Everything I make is completely autobiographical, and I think that’s most evident in my comics rather than my poetry. For me, poems are mostly led by rhythm and imagery, so sticking to whatever serves the poem best can detour the documentation of events exactly as they happen, but they are still there. Comics, on the other hand, are mostly based on actual conversations I’ve had with other people, or pages from my journal transformed into a visual that people can look through to get a grasp of where I’m writing this experience from.
ON SEX AND VAN GOGH
I think art is born out of obsession. It’s an organic process, but I’m also very aware of what my current obsessions are, and that’s sex and identity. I do think both my art and poetry cover other themes, but there’s a lot that just never sees the light of day, doesn’t get finished, or just isn’t ready to go out into the world.
I guess a big part of focusing on sex and identity has to do with the fact that I can only speak from my own point of view. I wouldn’t want to delve into a subject I’m unfamiliar with or haven’t experienced firsthand. Being completely honest, sex is a big part of how I explore myself and the world around me. I’m deeply interested in the lives of the men and genderqueer people I’ve shared intimate moments and conversations with, and that’s something that definitely informs how I approach art most of the time. I’m interested in what people want to share with me about themselves, and, for some reason, that honesty and openness is usually only possible in romantic or sexual settings.
Regarding the vibration lines added to the paintings in the last page of “Everyday,” I remember I purposefully put them there to address the fact that sometimes looking at a painting for the first time feels a lot like having sex with someone for the first time. Both acts carry with them that same anxiety and softness, and they both require careful observation, patience, and gentleness. I don’t know if that sounds weird, but that’s my experience.
I actually borrowed the motion lines from Van Gogh. As mainstream or “basic” as it may sound, he has been a big inspiration to me throughout my life. I love his early work, and I love how everything in his paintings seems to have some sort of anxious yet soft and delicate movement. I guess I wanted to incorporate that into my work, that’s why the motion lines are there. I think they add emotion to the story, but it’s also just very satisfying to draw them. It’s the part that I have the most fun with because it’s just so careless and aesthetically pleasing for me.
When I first wrote it, I was a little bit worried about “The Weekend” being a bit too specific, which is why I ended up deleting that comic from my Instagram page. It’s basically about this polyamorous relationship I had with this couple living in San Diego. We casually dated for a couple of months and became very close friends. They were my support system for a long time. They introduced me to the queer scene in Hillcrest and were constantly encouraging me to keep exploring my gender and art. “The Weekend” is an homage to how important the relationship was to me.
The only thing that was kind of melancholic for me about this relationship was that I couldn’t spend a lot of time with them. Living and working across the border makes it hard for me to give friendships in the U.S. the time they need to flourish and grow. I remember crying my eyes out on the trolley on my way back to Tijuana after spending the weekend with them, wishing that I could just stay in the city.
The border separates and limits many people and relationships and so many ways. My situation is just a very light example, but an important one, nonetheless. That’s why I included the border fence in both “Everyday” and “The Weekend”.
ON COMICS AS ART
Quite frankly, I don’t think my work is totally perceived as art by the fine arts community, which is something I feel very insecure about. I haven’t studied art or taken any professional art classes and know very minimal art theory. I also don’t know anyone who’s present in that sort of scene. On the other hand, I’ve only done about five art shows in San Diego and none in Tijuana, so I can’t say that I feel like I belong in the art show scene, although people in both cities have been responsive and kind so far.
I don’t feel like I fit in any scene just yet, but I guess that’s okay. I love when art brings me close to other people and creates a sense of community. It makes me feel less lonely in the pursuit of becoming an artist, but it’s not the reason why I make what I make.
Want to be considered for future installments of The New Comics? Send your work to Comics Curator Keith McCleary via the Entropy submissions page.