John Ildefonso » John M Ildefonso

John M Ildefonso

I am the first-born son of immigrant parents from La Sierra Norte de Oaxaca (Solaga). Born and raised in Los Angeles, I spent much of my youth trying to escape the culture of my family in order to integrate—and it was encouraged.

I’m keenly interested in exploring my Oaxacan roots as they intersect with my upbringing in the South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles during the 1980s, which at the time was a predominately African American community.

My artwork explores the syntheses of cultures as part of a larger dialogue about identity and belonging. As a person who identifies as indigenous, I have often felt closer in many ways to the African American community than to the Mexican community. Oaxacans tend to self-isolate as do African American communities. These communities share many barriers and challenges, and while I saw instances of them coming together, I saw a lot of conflict as well.

I believe I belong to many cultures and many traditions; I cannot claim one exclusively and none would claim me as definitively their own. This journey of discovery in identity and belonging is my story. I feel that there are many Oaxaqueños in Los Angeles who could relate to my path of learning.

Recent Posts


Did Leonardo da Vinci come up with all of his ideas and inventions by himself or did he also borrow some of them from ancient scientists including those who lived 1,700 years before him.

Waste Land

On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.

Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies

A documentary that looks at how early filmmaking influenced the Cubist painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.

Le mystère Picasso

A filmed record of Pablo Picasso painting numerous canvases for the camera, allowing us to see his creative process at work.

Con Artist

A docu-comedy feature film about a once-famous millionaire "business artist" forced to confront his own legendary obnoxious behavior, while trying to find love through fame.


Explore the lives of visual artists who made the Harlem Renaissance one of the 20th century's richest artistic moments. Archival footage, newsreels, and photographs recall the influential force of exhibitions, Harlem's vibrancy in the Roaring Twenties, and significant personalities such as William E. Harmon, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Alain Locke. Watch African-American artists triumph over formidable odds to create lasting beauty.