Arturo Hernández Jr is a Studio Art major at Cornell College who is also pursuing a Computer Science major. He was born on the 60 freeway on the intersection of Wilcox Ave. in the city of Montebello, California. He is a first generation American with parents and family from San José Chiltepec in Oaxaca, Mexico. Growing up in the East Los Angeles area with many historic Chicano figures and events such as the East L.A. walkouts, Zoot Suit Riots and Ruben Salazar came the influence and inspiration of being surrounded by a community that emphasized identity for Mexican-Americans.
When I was a fourth grader one of my Latino elementary school teachers stopped and asked me, “You can come in if you answer this question correctly. Are you a Mexican or a Mexican’t?” I replied, “Im a Mexican!” I didn’t quite understand it then but it reminded me of a phrase that is known by most Mexicans as “Si se puede!” (Yes you can!). Which means that we are an unstoppable force and no matter how bad the situation is we can do it. Events like this shaped my art making and allowed me to explore my personal world view about identity.