Leslie De Leon

← Return to Colossal Wait: 2022 Senior Art Exhibition



It started off as a defense of my hometown. My family has lived on either side of the river in South Texas for many generations. My proximity to the Rio Grande, the natural barrier between Mexico and the United States, has had a monumental impact on myself and my artwork, although its importance only became obvious to me when I moved further away from its waters. “Is it really that bad over there?” This is the question I have been asked frequently since leaving Laredo, Texas. To defend my home, I began creating paintings of the river that were bright, beautiful, and inviting. Now, my practice has developed into a series of dramatic, clouded, and sublime landscapes, from the river of South Texas to the beach shores of San Diego, California, following the 1,950 mile-long borderline that I now call my home. My paintings can be described as studies of imaginary lines, explorations of the life of the borderlands and its inhabitants. Drawing inspiration from the photographs I have captured from my travels across the frontier, I create luminous paintings of the border, using symbolic characters and motifs in place of the physical barrier wall. The Texas coral snake is venomous and lives in the region spanning the southern United States and northern Mexico. It is a local of the border, like me, and its colors are that of the border wall. “Is it really that bad over there?” they ask. My truthful answer is no, it is not that bad over here in the borderlands—but it is complicated. Let me show you.



Back to top