Journeys are important to Francisco Moreno ('10 BFA, Painting). Whether it's a journey from place to place or past to present, he is interested in creating art that explores those transitions—and how they can come to define who we are. "As a Mexican-born American citizen, I pull from an archive that references ideas that traverse borders, an abstract allegory for my identity," he says. With Chapel, which debuted at the Erin Cluley Gallery in Dallas, Moreno created an entire structure that brings these ideas together.
Moreno's Chapel was specifically inspired by a visit to the 12th-century mural paintings of the Hermitage of the Vera Cruz de Maderuelo. In 1947, the mural fresco paintings were transferred from their original location in the municipality of Maderuelo to canvas and reconstructed at the Prado Museum in Madrid.
"As a Mexican-born American citizen, I pull from an archive that references ideas that traverse borders, an abstract allegory for my identity."
"The experience of the thoughtfully handpainted beauty was overwhelming," he says. "The fact that the murals are displaced from their original location felt peculiarly familiar, as I have been perplexed by notions of identity since my family left Mexico City in order to relocate to Arlington."
For Chapel, Moreno designed, constructed, and painted the interior of an all-encompassing 16-by-12-by-13-foot barrel-vaulted structure, which was inspired by Spanish Romanesque chapels. His focus was engaging the past while making a new mark, so the interior is filled not with religious iconography, but layered sketches that he described to The Dallas Morning News as a "giant drawing, a stream-of-consciousness collage."
The artist's journey
For Moreno, becoming an artist was also a journey largely shaped by his travels. As an undergraduate student in architecture at another Texas university, he was looking for a career path he could be passionate about. But architecture didn't fit. He took an industrial design course at the Tec de Monterrey campus in Queretaro, Mexico, but that wasn't quite right, either. He eventually transferred to UTA, where he took an intermediate painting class—and he never looked back.
"The faculty at UTA were very generous with their time, and the art studios are fantastic," he says. "I'm glad I was able to find my way at UTA. It showed me I could really pursue the arts."
Looking to the future, Moreno is willing to go wherever his creative pursuits may lead.
"Right now, I'm just painting and drawing, thinking of new, crazy ideas," he says. "Creativity is like anything else—you just have to put in the work."
Take a look at Moreno's latest work on his Instagram account, @morencisco.
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