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David Sauceda: Intangible Identity

A Parallel Planets piece by Unknown
"Who am I? What is this for? What am I doing here?" These are questions that have flitted through my mind, and probably the minds of fellow existentialist(/restless), intellectually curious(/confused), twenty-somethings(/semi-adults in the midst of a quarter-life crisis).  We've asked who really are, what defines us, and why. We've spent time searching for our own unique identity, within ourselves and outside us. If we are lucky, we find it. And if not then the search goes on in the hopes of finding something we could grasp.

It's not hard to imagine Mexican artist David Sauceda wondering the same things. As a twenty-something himself, it is perfectly understandable why he would choose identity as a central theme for his works. Unfortunately I don't really know the motivations behind his most prominent series, Membranes, but I do know that I could identify perfectly with his rationale.

For David, identity is a membrane, and it is the beginning of an infinite process constantly shaping and reshaping the self. It begins with an external film, an invisible shroud of sorts, filtering all of our surroundings as every detail passes through the film and into our minds. But the film isn't a solid form. It's a constantly shifting layer, a structure-less structure, adapting to the physical world around it, and the world of the self within. And it is in this ever-changing membrane that individuality is conceived and identity is created.

In David's illustrations, the membrane is represented in a seemingly infinite number of fine strokes, twisting and turning into each other, birthing yet more strokes until they completely enshroud man. His lines connote movement and dynamism, volume, and depth. And beneath the ever-changing membrane of identity is blackness: the mind as an unfathomable mystery.

The artworks themselves seem basic from a distance, only containing one figure, two at the most, and nothing else. But a closer look reveals an insane attention to detail and richness only a really fine hand could create. David Sauceda documents his process in his Behance portfolio, where he shares works in progress. Likewise, David's Instagram contains images of his works, snapshots of inspiration, and cute cats (cute cats!). But it is in David's website that all his works are cataloged in their completion.

As someone who has felt the tug and shove of influence on my own identity, I can see myself inside one of David's membranes, beneath the infinite intangible strokes creating the film around me, feel my Self changing and moving according to how the outside world molds me, until such time that the answers to my questions become clearer. But at this point I know that the membrane will shift again, this time to create new questions, because the membrane, just like identity, just like the Self, is ever-evolving.


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