Justin Padilla

import (im​·​​port) ​transitive verb

1. : to bring from a foreign or external source: such as

  • : to bring (something, such as merchandise) into a place or country from
    another country

  • : to transfer files or data from one format to another.

To some, the word import not only carries its traditional definition, but takes on a nuanced meaning recalling a subculture of Japanese import car enthusiasts that began in the 80's. In ​IMPORT​, I tap into a personal history of my parents’ involvement in the import car scene through photos and objects with histories often older than my own, as an attempt to visualize this process of importing memory into my identity. I am interested in observing how photographs, clothing, and objects hold and encapsulate memory, become artifacts of sentimentality, and transform into extensions of one’s identity. With this consideration, ​IMPORT​ seeks to answer its first question: How do we create an understanding of identity through memories we do not necessarily hold ourselves, but ones we learn of, observe, or hear about through these artifacts?

Through an observational lens and careful sequencing, a family portrait is slowly uncovered and pieced together by composites. Modern digital images are overlaid with scans of old images in print, inviting a dialogue about memory through photographic dichotomy. Motifs of clothing and jewelry create an entryway to explore the manifestation of memory into an embodied sense of self. Much like data, these images work to reinterpret the process of importing memories into a sense of being. ​IMPORT​ lives in that space of transit, where we observe, recreate, embody, and insert ourselves into the histories that inform us. We are then interrogated twice more: What process of change do these memories undergo as it phases through generation? And what is the result of injecting these memories into our very own cultural DNA? What begins as evidence slowly transforms into art once mediated through memory.

Team Powerban, 2020

<3, 2020

Centerfold #1, 2020

His & Hers, 2020

Coverboys, 2020

Son, 2020

In My Room, 2020

Hovanec, 2020

Cuban Link, 2020

Little Twin Stars, 2020

Princess Powerban, 2020

Hard Core, 2020

My sincerest gratitude to Paul Sepuya, the UCSD VISARTS community, and my family

(and you for visiting!)