Uncontaminated joy. It comes like that resplendent beam of gold that occasionally peeks out of the mid-November sky in Mexico City only to conceal itself again behind intangible hills of smog exhaled by furious trucks making their way towards Toluca. We are lucky enough in childhood to frequently find this unpolluted beam of gold in the most conspicuous corners of the revealed and the unknown, and it is only in latter years that we become aware of this temporary nirvana only after having ingested a few contaminants in our system. Years pass, pollutants increase in our system, and we look to the past or future with the hope of reclaiming that original purity back to the present.
My first taste of raw joy was always filled with a hint of crimson or yellow. It was usually found in my grandparents’ studio in Polanco, a tiny enclave hidden behind billboards of the latest American imports and European patisseries filled with chatter of elitist housewives. I recall walking past the entrance every Friday afternoon after my violin classes towards my grandfather’s oasis of color, wearing my much detested plaids and navy uniform, with the hope of taking a swim in his latest representation of lake Texcoco on canvas. It was refreshing to see deciduous leaves forever illuminated by a mysterious light that never ceased to exist or change. I recall many lazy afternoons, closing my eyes and muting the incessant chaos of chanting buses and peceros outside of the window. I would inhale the smell of fresh linseed oil with the hope that I could perhaps be transformed into one more elements in his paintings. Seeing that this method did not work, I proceeded to my next attempt by picking up a pencil and a brush. Little did I know that I had indeed found the tool of my life; I had found my salvation that would transmute reality into something beyond itself. I had found the secret of alchemy.