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Hola cyber visitors. You have arrived at the private screening room of Glass Houses: A Tour of American Assimilation from a Mexican-American Perspective.

glass houses by Jacalyn Lopez Garcia


Today's screening includes a preview of a story featured on Mi Casa Es Su Casa (the 2nd Phase of Glass Houses).

follow me footstepsFollow my chanclas (sandals). . . and don't forget to scan the QR code so you can revisit and share my stories with others.


"An Interactive Portrait of the Artist"

Medium: Digital drawing with an embedded QR code
Size: 12" x 12" digital print on aluminum panel
Price: $500

This new work was created during the Covid19 period while I was working on the 2nd Phase of Glass Houses. Like many of the images I create my art employs the use of a variety of media that includes but is not limited to: Interactive websites, Photography, Videography, Installation, Mixed-media, Paintings, Drawings, Dance, Theatre and Storytelling. As a transmedia visual storyteller, I enjoy the challenges that are presented while working within an electronic computer environment because it allows me the opportunity to investigate many of the endless possibilities of an electronic canvas. In the simpliest of terms, my creations are reflections of how my parent’s life-experiences played a critical role in shaping my identity and this ultimately is what becomes the impetus for my creative endeavors.

According to my father, (Henry Lee Lopez), my name was chosen and given to me by my mother (Sara Quiroz Laborin). “Your mother did not want you to have a traditional 'Mexican' name and she spelled it this way because she did not know how to spell." My father was not always this honory and if he thought he was insulting my mother he was wrong because my mother bared no shame. In fact, she confirmed this truth and furthered that she only finished the 3rd grade because she had to stay home and work so that her brothers and sisters that were light-skinned could receive an education.

I only learned about this story when I started conducting interviews with my parents and other family relatives as I was working on my senior art thesis at UC Riverside. In many ways the information I gathered had a direct impact on my psyche. Consequently, both my father and my mother became the driving force behind my desire to explore contemporary themes based on the complexities of cultural identity with the use of new technologies.

This is recent photo taken of me by my husband
Carlos Garcia during the Covid19 lockdown.



I attribute the shaping of my identity to my parents who first defined me as a "Mexican" and who later taught me to say "American" whenever we crossed the U.S. border.  I recall that I was only 5 years old and I learned quickly that it was very important to answer the question properly whenever I was asked my citizenship.  For example: children don’t always understand why they are told to do certain things, they just do it because if they don’t there could be consequences. 

Crossing the border always made me nervious and I came to hate it when my world was turned upside down after an angry “white” neighbor reported that my mother was living here illegally. The pain of being separated from my mother resulted in deep emotional scars. Yet, in a very profound way, these scars are healing and I am grateful for that.

family photo

Titled: Life in the 50s
Medium: Screen Shot from Glass Houses Website
Date: Resuse of family photo from 1950s


Finding innovative ways to illustrate how diverse artistic practices serve as catalysts of memory that can be used to conjure up a variety of social and cultural contexts is of great interest to me.  By focusing on the use of autobiographical narratives I am able to offer a critical examination of what it is like to feel challenged as an individual born in the US and not always feel completely American. More importantly, I believe my fascination with family histories, photographs, music, and specific images is what causes me to look inward to my own cultural base.  In turn, this leads me to having new reasons for my life, such as why I have to create art. 

self portrait
Title: Beatles & Me
Medium: Silver Gelatin Print
Date: 1997

I once read that Eddie Murphy claimed to be the 5th Beatle and this inspired me to create my self portrait "Beatles & Me." That's me in the center and to this date I am known as a Beatlemaniac.

Now, my story would not be complete if I did not share the critical role in which Manifest Destiny played in shaping my identity. It was during my youth when I discovered I was not just "Mexican", I was "Mexican-American". I recall having great pride in being just Mexican and then with the help of my mother, I learned to embrace my bi-culturalism. It wasn't easy though because my mother was dark-skinned with dark hair and eyes and I was born blonde with light skin. As I grew older my identity became quickly scrambled around with names such as “other”, “white”, or “Caucasian.” Even the Census Bureau labeled me and I became "Hispanic." But these were not the names I would have chosen for myself and growing up with labels like "sell-out" was even more complicated because it referred to a person who forgets their roots. Lucky for me, I knew these terms were not going to define me and in my adult years I became a Chicana.

self portrait of the artist

Title: Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicana
Medium: Screen shot from Glass Houses website
Date: 1997

1996, was a great year for me. In fact, it was a pivotal turning point in my life because this was when I learned about Chicana playwrights, poets, and essayist whose plays and publications have received national recognition. I was attending the University if California, Riverside, and it was on that day that I instantly became a Xicana (a term used by literary feminist to redefine Chicana.)


self portrait

Title: Self-Portrait
Medium: Screen shot from website Glass Houses
Date: 1997

Even Hollywood added fuel to the fire by stereotyping the Latina as a "whore" or "a maid" and my disgust for the labelling inspired me more deeply examine the complexities of my own identity knowing that "I just wanted to be me.” At this point in my life I realized I was exactly who I wanted to be: a life partner to my husband, mother, daughter, sister, friend, entreprenuer, pack leader, and a spiritual being who lives in search of humanity. I am also a Mexica Tepati (Nahuatl term for Universal Life Force energy healer) and minister.


Goldie's Farm

Medium: Digital Photograph
Date: 2019



At the present time, I am experiencing the golden years of retirement. Though I am thrilled to be retired and making art full-time, I find my life experiences and journey on this planet were deeply affected by the reality of a new “normal” that emerged in 2019 from the COVID19 pandemic. What I found most unsettling about all of the restrictions that were enforced from the on-start of the pandemic was the uncertainty of not knowing how long the crisis would last.

On a good note: In February 2019, we opened a new enterprise in Salton City, CA known as Goldie’s Farm Artist Retreat & Spiritual Healing Center. However,
the pandemic forced us to close down within 1 month. So to beat the down time I refocused my energy and designed a Tiny House. I imagined that once the business would start up again I would be able to offer opportunities to learn about "going green".

tiny house
Title: Tiny House Design
Medium: Digital Drawing
Date: 2020

Building my own house has always been a major goal of mine. And so I focused on a designing and building a prototype for a larger house with my very own 6’5” x 11’8” self-sustainable Tiny House/Artist Studio.  Tiny, yes and lessons to be learned have included developing a greater consciousness about reducing the footprint we leave behind on this planet. In 2023 our Salton Sea Sanctuary at Goldie's Farm will promote an AirB&B experience for Tiny House enthusiasts that want to come out and experience tiny house living on one of the West Shore neighborhoods of the Salton Sea. One day I will complete a documentary project to expose "living large" lifestyles versus what could become a happy and healthy new "normal" where “less is more.”

tiny house

Title: Tiny House Work in Progress
Medium: Digital Photograph
Date: 2020


I am looking forward to working on a transmedia documentary project, “Necessities: From Nothing to Something” that will be on exhibition as a drive-by transmedia video art installation at Goldie’s FarmPlans include inviting visitors and passerbys either in vehicles or on foot to experience an artist’s desire to raise awareness about protecting our natural resources with green technology while simultaneously challenge notions of “what art is” and “what art can be about.”

tiny house

Title: Tiny House Work in Progress
Medium: Digital Photograph
Date: 2020


VIP NOTE: The links below will take you to another website. If you would like to return to this page simply use your back button.

>linkGlass Houses: A View of Assimilation from a Mexican-American Perspective

LinkSalton Sea Sanctuary @ Goldie's Farm Artist Retreat & Spiritual Healing Center

linkCosmic-Tepati a subsidiary of Goldie's Farm

LinkJacalyn Lopez Garcia online artist portfolio