Focus on: Andrés Hernández

Andrés Hernández is a queer Mexican artist and writer currently living in Tijuana. Paired with raw sexual imagery, their writing and art address attachment and impermanence. Within this juxtaposition, they revisit experiences with normalized toxicity in Mexican and queer culture, and trauma as a result of rape and emotional abuse.

“Everything I do sprouts out of the same place: trying to heal from the past and finding the same kind of harm later in life, over and over and over again. It’s as if I’ve always been unconsciously leaning towards the same recurring themes: ungiven affection and a desire to find a place of acceptance in unashamedly fulfilling my purpose. “

In Your Car
As simple and harmless as this piece might seem, I see “In Your Car” as a protest in favour of being able to write and make art about my romantic and sexual experiences, despite the people involved not being comfortable with seeing themselves reflected in my art.

It was inspired by a night in early June. I’d gone out with this person (they/them pronouns), still feeling quite emotionally vulnerable about my recent falling out with an emotionally abusive photographer in Tijuana. We’d gone out to Imperial Beach Pier, casually made out, and then he invited me to join them and their friends at a bonfire. We drank some sort of cheap vodka in red plastic cubs and, once we were both a bit tipsy, went back to his car and started making out.

Our clothes fell on the floor beneath the backseats, their dick deep and warm in my throat, when they started mumbling, “It turns me on to see how much you want me, I almost don’t want to cum just to leave your wanting it,” “You look so beautiful under the moonlight,” and then, “Wow, I’m saying so many quotable things, but no making art about this.”

In that moment, I knew I had to make art about this. The fact that they’d assume that I was seeing them just to make art about them took me by surprise, but his remark forbidding me to write about our shared experience sparked outrage in me.

The art I make has never compromised anybody’s identity, and I plan to keep my art as ambiguous and anonymous as possible, but I am as entitled to share my side of an experience as anyone else involved in it is to share or stay quiet about their side. Even if that pisses people off.

west shore hotel
the remains of the day have left
an elastic mark around my waist
they slide down with each pound
in his fingertips

my collarbone an ashtray
his roman nose inhaling
the light

by the side of the bed
enveloped in yellow, orange, red
red short shorts, dirty white socks
clenched fists & noise
by the docks

in the west shore hotel
i kiss his neck when the sheets lie wet
& he holds me down for good
& we hear the white gull

crying out our names
burning bridges & chasing tales

i wash my bloody nose in hot water
i wipe the slate clean, i leave no remnants
of our bodies by the bay

I Should Probably Leave Now

This piece talks about emotional detachment, being unable to feel or open yourself up completely to a new partner after being hurt by another. This, I think, is a very common phenomenon that can happen to anyone, but is very much evident and expanding in queer culture as dating apps and fast-passed lifestyles become the norm.

As an artist and as a person in general, vulnerability is a core part of my identity. It’s always been quite easy for me to tap into my emotional self, but, after experiencing emotional abuse, the last couple of months have proven to be a difficult period for me to access and open up about my emotions. I’ve found myself in constant fear of being rejected for showing too much of myself too quickly, or fear of giving someone else the power to hurt me again.

It is relevant to me because it acknowledges that, despite being aware of the risks that being vulnerable and sensitive pose in our current dating landscape, I’d rather take the pain that comes with feeling than restrain myself from feeling out of fear of pain.

when i first met my father
he bought me a drink
told me to call him daddy

daddy taught me how to ride, said
bend for me like grass on a windy day
& i’ll show you love

daddy taught me how to shave
& my skin turned red, bled
but he said he liked the softer
parts of me

daddy taught me how to hate myself
& now i smile every time
he makes me cry

crush deep & taste his spit in the mud
broken teeth & a wristful of scars–
his affection stained
with blood

when i took your whispers &
blasted them like techno
in the darkroom

when I left myself
smeared all over you

& you
pretended to care

kissing my eyelids
combing my eyebrows
with your thumb
going over the lines
on my face

Instagram: @andrewgrams