Aarón Martínez Barajas is a photography based artist from Tecalitlán, Jalisco, Mexico. currently completing a B.A. in Fine Art at the University of California Santa Cruz. Aarón finds inspiration in personal experiences, family, friendship, love, nature, human body, fútbol, latino culture, discrimination and social issues. He works with photographic processes and digital manipulation to create an alternate reality that brings his work to life.
Zebra Nopalera series (2020)
This statement is not about me; the artist, it’s about the Zebra who made me an artist. You might be asking yourself; how can a Zebra make an artist? In reality it’s fairly simple, if you have a loved one in your life such as a family member, then you will understand because this Zebra is my family and family make us artists. I’m inspired by my family, they’re my motivation and often my photographs are based on them, but this time I’ve only focused on Zebra Nopalera (cactus eater).
Just by reading Zebra Nopalera’s name you might think, that is rare and yes indeed she is RARE, she was diagnosed with a rare disease without a cure called Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS), it affects only about one or two in a million people. As a person and artist this has been one of the most difficult times in my life, so I decided to express my feelings with this series of images. While I captured these moments, tears rolled down my face, with watery eyes looking through the viewfinder I found peace every click of the shutter. Just as in photography, darkness and light are essential parts of life, we must walk through them and I intend to walk with Zebra wherever she walks.
I will keep photographing just as Zebra taught me to, capturing literal and metaphorical elements that link to the personal experiences Zebra had like growing up on a nopales diet and is going through with SPS. With this series I hope to inspire others and bring awareness to Rare Diseases in order to find cures for them.
The 2020 Irwin Scholars are
Aarón Martínez, Anastasia Oleson, Angel Gonzales, Chloe Murr, Dominic Ramirez, Edgar Cruz, Emma McWaid, Jocelyn Lee, Joshua Zupan, Morgan Tomfohr, Natalie Del Castillo, Rodrigo Ramos, Veriche Blackwell