Nothing in my pocket,
nothing, up my sleeves .
artist: Emmanuel Peña
This title would have been better for the Magia edition of the magazine. But now you see how brilliant ideas are, they come to you after you need them, sometimes in the shower when everything is over. Anyway… here we are, and the occasion could not be more suitable with the theme of the artworks: the city.
When I was in the city for the first time, I was too young to understand its complex rhythm, its arrhythmic functioning. My small 5-year-old mente mocha that just had gotten out of Guanajuato could not understand why I should not look over at the jotos or gays of zona rosa. The most surprising thing to see where I used to live were the pretty baroque churches (don’t get me wrong, they are kind of a big deal) but other than that… there wasn’t much else. The monstrous skyscrapers, gigantic shopping complexes; concrete as far as the eye could see.
We didn’t last long in the city, we later moved to a quieter place. But that wouldn’t end my relationship with the city. My “introduction” to the city’s dynamic was sometime later when I was old enough to ride the subway by myself.
My goal? Go to the frikiplaza for some bullshit that I don’t even remember anymore, but what I do remember is the speech with which I learned the unspoken rules of the city; it was when the proverb finally made sense: “when in Rome, do as the Romans.” I remembered that sensation a lot when I saw Emmanuel Peña’s (@emmenuel_pena) work.
I have seen many artists take inspiration from the city for their works, but what @emmenuel_pena achieves is the rescue of an old Mexican art: the comic strip. Giving it a personal twist, which turns his book “Nada aquí” into an accidental exercise in urban anthropology, narrating the stories of characters whose lives cross inadvertently in the huge sea of people that pass through the city streets.
It's like when you feel like your life is a movie (you know exactly what I’m talking about), you “look” at yourself in the third person because you think a group of strangers would be interested in your story … why would those stories be important? What is so exceptional about something as mediocre as traveling through the city? Well, it is precisely the beauty of the ephemeral, of the everyday; the “insipidness” of the city is an acquired taste and Emmanuel is the person who stopped and looked (even if it was only for 5 minutes) and painted those boring, tedious, mediocre and insipidly life-filled stories. Some say that one man's trash is another man's treasure, and who knows, maybe one day our daily lives in the city will be worthy of being in a museum (this is if their budgets aren’t cut again jsjsjajjsksjjakshjs because I doubt that Grupo Carso or Jumex want to show me or my shit in their precious collections)