Christopher Najera

a dios le pido, resin, graphite, and paper, 12″ x 6.5″, 2020

My work revolves around this idea of queer health, specifically mental health and how I was affected by the things around me growing up. I remember before even experiencing that first love feeling, the constant bullying and the struggle with my own identity severely affected my mental health. Growing up was such a confusing time for me, at the time I couldn’t reconcile my identities as a queer kid who was constantly being forced to perform acts of Mexican machismo.

arrows, resin, graphite, and paper, 36″ x 59″, 2020

The inconsistency between putting on a façade of a Chicanx kid, who was supposed to like stereotypical Chicanx things, with a side of me that I was just discovering- was incredibly debilitating. I started experiencing severe mental health issues, I developed depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and eventually had several mental breakdowns. My early twenties were wrought with nights of crying myself to sleep after toxic fights with my family. After a long time of struggling to find acceptance from my family and those around me, I eventually learned that outside validation didn’t serve me.

Christopher Najera
lo que se ve, no se pregunta, resin, graphite, and paper, 11″ x 14″, 2020

My work touches the topic of mental queer health through the idea of wanting to provide the gift of love and self acceptance to my younger self. When I was a child, my family would go to these markets on Harry Hines where we would find these little clear containers where you could get a picture of yourself put inside, or some flowers- usually a rose. These were gifts that you would buy for other people. The pieces that I’m working on right now mirror these gifts, my pieces are gifts to my younger self- gifts of love, of self acceptance, of growth, of power.

Inside these resin crystal gifts are remembrances of the times in my life where I needed the most healing, the most support. I am detoxifying and healing the incongruences of being a child who identified as a Mexican American as well as a queer person. My pieces are about the constant push and pull of these two identities. I am learning to accept the hurt that was thrust upon me and turn it into something beautiful and something that has shaped who I am today. My pieces reference my relationships with religion, my family, my youth, the fragility and sturdiness of nature, Mexican machismo, and Chicanx culture.

Artist Biography

Hello, my name is Christopher Najera, my pronouns are He/Him. I am an artist currently based out of Fort Worth, Texas. I was born on February 10, 1992, a shining Aquarius. I am the son of immigrants, and proudly defend them and my friends through advocacy work here in DFW. I was born in California and moved here when I was a child. I loved making art as a kid and eventually graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Art Education and Drawing and Painting. Currently I am an art teacher at an amazing middle school, all while working on my portfolio and doing social justice work.

I am interested in the juxtaposition of being 1st generation Mexican American and a queer cis-gendered man. There is not a lot of intersectionality that comes with growing up identifying with both cultures. I want to subvert our perception and understanding of machismo culture and juxtapose that with queer ideas and gender roles/stereotypes. By creating narratives through the use of permanence, soft and hard ideas, the naïveté of graphite and color pencils, and cultural iconography I dissect and analyze both identities. Touching on the topics of Queer mental health and my personal relationship to this idea.