Behind the Art

My name is Brian “El Chamuco” Nicolas- Espinoza. I am based in Chico, California, born and raised from Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles. I am a psychonaut, musician, and freelance artist. I specialize in the craft of relief printmaking, hoping to bring new light to the age-old technique.

ARS EX FLAMMIS NIGRIS is symbolic and as a result of my rejection of Abrahamic religion because the damage it has caused humanity through colonialism. I spent years under the oppressive thumb of a catholic school, and refused to let it warp my reality. I repurpose religious iconography to pierce and make a statement of how I feel about the practice. Being a person of Mexican and Salvadoran descent, I refuse to let the pain my ancestors have gone through dissipate. This hatred and pain led me to embrace the darker aspects of my self and spirituality. I chose to eat the forbidden fruit as an act of rebellion seeking truth over the lies it tells. 

We as people today have strayed away from our relationship to spirituality, the earth, the cosmos, and most importantly, death and psychoactive medicine. Through my work, I embrace and integrate these concepts to reflect everything I embody and is significant to me.

My work is an amalgamation of themes and concepts inspired by mythology, folktales, indigenous culture, spirituality, my ancestry, my relationship to the earth, loose interpretations of my own spirituality, and embracing death.

I am inspired and influenced by the works of Gustave Doré, Albrecht Dürer, and José Guadalupe Posada, to name a few. I attempt to be a part of this revival by staying true to traditional printmaking and the ways of old. I pride myself in doing everything by myself, my work is never digitally reproduced via a machine. All work is uniquely handmade, carved, drawn, and transferred by hand.