1. How do you define the Tijuana-San Diego region?
Contradictory, enjoyable, cruel, and fascinating. Like all borders, it is a multicultural region with a flow of people from around the world, due to migration, work, and tourism. I feel like this region embodies the myth of opposing kingdoms that might eternally fight and then reconcile over issues, but no matter the political division that exists, there will always be a conversation and human exchange at many levels: familial, cultural, and above all economic.
The battle of two nations at a standstill and unable to unite creates a personal interest in every citizen on each side. It generates an expectation to find new things on one side or the other, and sometimes rejection is found. Along the border, there is always an ingredient of cultural transgression and additionally we constantly get a taste of how sweet other people’s dreams are... the best and worst of both worlds. The border is like other borders around the world, but the Mexican border is distinct because it leads to a double-sided reality, as we simultaneously resist and serve as ambassadors.
2. How do you define your own work?
My work is not serious, it’s playful; there’s a tenderness to it, but I always try to talk about things that seem profound to me. Fantasy and elements of nature are the language I use the most to communicate. My design philosophy is to attempt to see things through the lens of magic and to try to emulate the beauty and mystery of life.
3. How is the geographical context of the Tijuana-San Diego region reflected in your work?
I think that context is not visible because my art and design employ a very universal language. I work a lot with abstraction, and I do not allude to any one culture in particular. I do use visual elements from the roots of Mexican folk arts, but I also have influences from other cultures.
Graphic artist, originally from Mexicali, residing in Tijuana since 1991. Zenjim studied Graphic Design at the Universidad Iberoamericana del Noroeste, graduating in 1995 with a concentration in three-dimensional design. She has taught design and illustration for more than 13 years in a variety of universities and in her studio through private classes. In addition, she has worked in other disciplines such as film, video, music, animation, precious metal work, silk-screening, engraving, furniture design, interior design, title design, wood sculpture, model-building, and ceramics.
Zenjim is the creator and founder of the coloring book collective “Rainbow Birds” with her “Mecánica Invisible” coloring book. For the last 14 years, she has also been a designer and illustrator for Promotora de las Bellas Artes A.C., as well as a graphic artist at the Finca La Carrodilla Winery in Guadalupe, Ensenada.
Currently, her design and illustration studio is called Fio Zenjim Studio, where she works on cultural promotion and her own artwork, while collaborating with a variety of commercial clients. She belongs to the Tijuana-based group MArtes (Mujeres En El Arte [Women in Art]). She has exhibited at the Jonathan Levine Gallery (New York), Upper Playground MX (Mexico City), Arte Contemporáneo 206 (Tijuana), Giant Robot (San Francisco), Rojo Bermejo (Mexico City), and Pictoplasma (Berlin).
Her work has been published by Fantagraphics Books, Juxtapoz Magazine, 100 Years of Graphic Design in Mexico by Editorial Artes de México, Communication Arts Magazine, Pictoplasma Publishing, Vogue Magazine, Elle Magazine, Nylon Magazine, El Fanzine, and Tierra Adentro, among others.