“If no one’s trying to censor you, then you’re probably not doing anything that important.” —Hector Silva
I explore themes of cultural identity, because as Latinos, we are often erased from the social portrait. and then when you add being queer to that, we can really disappear. But I also think that the “positive image” strategy can be a trap, and as an artist, I feel responsible for showing art that is not only beautiful but truthful.
I want my work to be accessible, always giving the viewer a way into the image. I feel that ‘high art’ often excludes people, and I am strongly against that. I think art should invite people in and engage them in a conversation, aesthetic, political, philosophical, erotic, whatever.
When I make art, my intended audience is not only the person that attends museums and galleries. I feel very strongly that art belongs in the streets. Putting art in the streets has been part of Latino culture for a long time, and we see it all the time, from murals to graffiti. I consider myself part of that tradition. I think art belongs in the street, and on the street is a lot of art.
Hector Silva is a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles who has been producing work for more than 20 years. He is very community-oriented and was recently selected as one of Adelante‘s 20 individuals, who are among the most influential within the Latino Gay and Lesbian community, for his position as a role-model, innovative thinker, and leader in social change. Being raised in Jalisco, Mexico and now living in Los Angeles, Silva draws from the rich Latino/Chicano culture that has always surrounded him and incorporates it into his artwork. He pulls from the exposure he has had to public art, such as murals and graffiti, and appreciates the fact that it allows any person to interact with and admire it. Silva accredits religious iconography, Frida Kahlo, M.C. Escher, Tom of Finland, and Chicano prison art as his primary influences. Exploring themes of cultural identity, Silva feels a responsibility to portray not only beauty, but truth in his artwork. Today, Silva’s work is collected internationally, receiving acclaim in the US and abroad.
in 2018, Silva was inducted into Tom of Finland Foundation’s Artist Hall of Fame.
A large number of works by Hector Silva are currently on view in the TOM House Drawing Room. For tour information please call 213.250.1685
Tom of Finland Foundation is one of the largest repositories of erotic art in the world. In an effort to share what we have in our collections, we showcase different artists.