Ingenuity – Luis Ituarte, Tijuana, Mexico / Los Angeles, California: Borderlines: one part aesthetics, one part social construction


When Luis Ituarte considers the idea of borders, it is not in the traditional sense where lines of demarcation are drawn to signify one’s crossing into new territory. Instead, Ituarte’s approach is more Post-western. He recognizes notion of borders geographical and otherwise, but raises a question: why do we have borders to begin with? It’s a simple question, but in the fearful sociopolitical times in which we now live where so much of our discourse centers around building stronger boundaries, Ituarte’s artistry reminds us to envision a more enlightened consideration of borders in art and mind.


Ituarte is in Cleveland this fall, hosted by Ingenuity, and working with local artist Leila Khoury as part of the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion Residency program.


“I was raised right up in the border between the richest country in the world and Mexico,” explains Ituarte. “So the border becomes a very important issue in your life. Once you start traveling, you start to realize that the border is not about a line dividing nations, but is about a concept that divides the thinking of men in various ways.”


It is not as though Ituarte’s paintings themselves convey these ideas. It would be difficult even upon engaging the work many times to discern the central themes that influence his approach to art making. Instead, he uses his paintings as a medium to have conversations with global citizens who may be attracted to the clash of colors and the adherent mixture of confrontation, control, and joy that prevail in his work.


“I’m interested in artwork because of the beauty that it represents,” he explains. “I’m trying to create beauty through my artwork, and in creating that beauty it gives me an opportunity to talk to people about these concepts.”


In this way, for Ituarte, art is a very social endeavor. Inspired by Pablo Picasso and contemporary artist Francisco Toledo, the Tijuana-born Ituarte, like his inspirational heroes, seeks to immerse himself in his culture of residence, drawing from their cultural residue and broadcasting the bricolage through his own work. For his three-month residency in Cleveland, Ituarte will seek to do likewise – drawing from Cleveland’s cultural conversation to create work in our shared traditions.


“Starting from scratch and creating the drama the piece of artwork requires is part of an experience of being there and the people that I’m working with,” says Ituarte. “How to make a painting or a mural is a social process in which there is a lot to consider. And at the end, it’s the structure for building anything.”



IngenuityFest | 5401 Hamilton Avenue | September 23-25

Zaina Gallery 1300 W. 78th Street | Date TBD

Dia de los Muertos | Cleveland Public Theatre | 6311 Detroit Avenue | Date TBD

Maker Faire | Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch | November 5