Cornelio Campos is a Mexican-born artist who now resides in the U.S. He was born in 1971 and moved to the U.S in 1989. He originally crossed the border illegally, but later became a U.S citizen. He was always interested in art. As a child, he was interested in comic books, and this style comes out in his work sometimes. Campos gives lectures at different universities, including Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill. He is most well-known in North Carolina. He also has many exhibits at these universities and Peace College and NC State as well.
Last year, I met Mr. Campos through my focus, Humanitarian Challenges, at Duke. He had an exhibition that I went to in the Freidl building called, Suenos Americanos, or American Dreams. I am very passionate about Latino rights, and I think Mr.Campos helps put a human face on the issue of immigration.
Campos specializes in paintings that illustrate the complex realities of migrant life that are often concealed or misconstrued to the public. He intends to present a spin on contemporary issues, such as immigration, the U.S Mexican border, and culture identity. In his exhibition last year, his paintings presented Mexican culture through depicting every day scenes in Mexican culture. The exhibit was around October, so a few of Campos’ portraits represented spiritual and festive aspects of the Mexican celebration, Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. His paintings also had scenes of Mexicans selling handmade crafts and connecting with family.
Campos uses a modern folkloric art style and explores culture through vibrant colors and deep symbolism. He describes his art as Mexican folklore art as well as political statements.
This painting is called "Pajaro Azul" or Blue Bird. It was made with acrylic, oil, and pastels. It was the most widely-known piece from his exhibit last year, and also my favorite of his work.
This painting is called "Realidad Nortena" or Reality of the North. It represents the North, or the U.S, the journey Mexican immigrants take to cross the border, the Mexican faith (represented by Lady of Guadalupe) and the merging of two cultures. It was also made with acrylic, oil, and pastels.
This painting is called "Frontera" or Border. It represents the U.S - Mexican border, both the opportunities and the death. It was made with acrylic, oil, and pastels.
This painting is called "Katrina". It is one of my favorite examples of Campos' work that represents Dia de los Muertos.
More of Campos' work is displayed at the Durham Art Guild.