As an artist who integrates current affairs and current affairs into his pieces, Raul Servin is known for including immigration, family and politics topics in his work.
Servin is a Mexican American artist who was given an opportunity that took him to the United States in 1968. He agreed to help make an Aztec themed mural in HemisFair ’68 – the official World’s Fair and the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. After his job he met his wife, stayed in the United States, and took a break from painting to take care of his family.
Formally trained at Instituto Nacional de Bella Artes in Mexico City, Servin began teaching in his hometown of Acapulco, Mexico. His paintings mainly consisted of simple landscapes, flowers and early seascapes.
In the 1980s, however, Servin took a turn and joined artistic alliances and rebellion groups. His art then contained political and economic elements that demonstrated the struggles faced by the Chicanos at that time.
“There was so much difference and racism against Mexican Americans, Mexicans, Spaniards and Latinos in general. And also the Mexican Americans were fighting among themselves, instead of fighting together, ”Servin said.
What prompted Servin to paint specifically skeletal frames to combat discrimination was due to a trip to California with his two friends. They were visiting before California sank in 2000. His journey shed some light on him as he and his friends spent two days without clothes around luxury Rolls-Royce cars.
“(After) I started to paint only nude bodies to make sure that when you are naked you don’t show your possessions like clothes and jewelry to the eye. When we saw the naked people there, everyone was equal back then, ”Servin said.
Not only did Servin dismantle the idea that races were different on the basis of physical traits, he also appreciated the various differences in cultures.
“I took it a step further – I started using the skeletons to erase everything from people and little by little I started to put clothes on them. And when we put them back, we see that it is German. It’s Mexican. It’s Anglo. These are the clothes and adornments that you use to create your identity, ”Servin said.
Servin made notable plays like statements to Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton’s campaigns, the border, and classism. His works have been exhibited at the Gallista Gallery, Centro Cultural Aztlan and The Upstairs Studio.
Servin said he hoped to have more time to paint from his sketches and to continue his work of being “brutally honest” with the feelings and truths conveyed in his art.