Photography by Azul Fuentes

Michelle Kim

3/5/20192 min read

Azul Fuentes is a Los Angeles based photographer whose work both celebrates and questions the importance of identity. The Graphite Journal blog is privileged to present these photographic works accompanied by a statement from the artist.

“I grew up in a household in which both my parents worked in their individual areas of art but struggled to make a living. My mother, a photographer, and my father, an illustrator, both worked their hardest to provide for our family financially and give my two siblings and I an open and creative environment.”

“Due to my parent’s interest in art, I was exposed to different art media through galleries, museums and street art. I remember strolling through exhibitions at a young age and feeling that I did not feel represented in the art I was seeing. Where are the people that look like me? I was very young, though I understood that this was a result of our economic background and being of Black and Mexican descent. It’s easy to assume that the people that do look like me don’t have the means to dwell on frivolous art careers. People that look like me labor in blue collar jobs.”

“As a person of color, it’s hard to understand where I belong in the world. With the lack of diversity and proper representation in the media and few contemporary icons and heroes to identify with, I feel that I struggle to define who I am. I am still navigating what it means to be me.”

“I realized that I need to be the change I want to see in the world. I have actively done what I could to contribute to the art world and show socially conscious work. I create a body of work that highlights people like me. People who are invisible and under represented in our society. Aspiring to be an artist and experiencing obstacles in reaching my dreams I have become determined that this is a real struggle and it is a story that needs to be told.”