Drop by Edgar Medina’s studio inside Houston’s historic Arts District, and you’ll notice one thing above all else: color. It’s no accident either. The self-taught artist’s life and abstract swirls and splashes across canvas basically run on a steady stream of vibrant tints.
So it should come as no surprise that his most recent exhibition, La Vida en Colores, which recently debuted at the new headquarters of the Mexican Consulate in Houston and is viewable online through July 31, is filled with nothing else.
“I can't describe the feeling when I put together a palette for a new piece,” Medina, 40, tells Houstonia, “or when the colors blend in a way I didn't even imagine.”
Growing in Mante, a small city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Medina’s world was filled with the vibrant hues and patterns of his culture, even as medical issues limited his involvement in local crafts and theater outside his home. Instead, he saw the sunshine yellows and ocean blues (his personal favorite, he notes) in every crayon box and watercolor set got his hands on.
“I was constantly surrounded by bright colors — from the walls of our home, to Mexican textiles like blankets, to the bright cards of Lotería,” says Medina. “So, it is no surprise my work draws out bold color, and I am always drawn to new bold palettes.”
After leaving a steady but unfulfilling career in the dentistry industry behind, Medina now spends his days fusing the shades he remembers from his childhood with the urban ones of Houston, the city he moved to as a teenager. Of course, he’s seen the colors of other U.S. metropolises whenever he’s had work featured in the Los Angeles Art Show or Art Basel in Miami, but there’s something special about a sunset along that Bayou City skyline, he says.
Those contrasting palettes within his memories marry beautifully in La Vida en Colores, a retrospective collection of work that reflects Medina’s personal journey as a Mexican immigrant making his American Dream come true through art. So, showcasing this particular exhibition as part of the inauguration of the Mexican Consulate’s new headquarters in the Westchase area felt like a culmination of a decade-worth of work, he says.
“I don’t think I could have even put this experience on a bucket list. Being selected and presented by my home country of Mexico was almost like coming full circle.”
The significance of the moment also hasn’t been lost on consulate staff, who chose Medina both because his immigrant roots and the inviting way in which he bridges his two cultures together through works like Freedom, the exhibition’s eye-caching focal point. It also doesn’t hurt that his paintings are, simply put, breathtaking.
“With its vibrant palette, the retrospective by Edgar Medina exquisitely illustrates our people’s richness and diversity, as well as their origins and struggles,” Consul General Alicia Kerber Palma tells us. “La Vida en Colores served as the perfect backdrop to our official inauguration.”
Now that the ribbons have been cut, the photos snapped, and the frames taken down, Medina’s back painting in his historic Arts District studio. And while he doesn’t know where exactly his work will end up next, he does know a rainbow of hues will cover the canvases.
“Color fuels my spirit,” he says, “and I am thankful to have the support in my career to live a life in color.”
Thru July 31. Online. View La Vida en Colores at medinaedgar.com.