Abstract expressionist artist, Diego Fernando Peña, is interested in Entheogenic plants and mushrooms, the landscapes that they’re found in, and the rich cultural and personal symbolism that surrounds them.
It wasn't until his first trip to Real de catorce in the San Luis Potosi desert in México, that he knew exactly what and how he wanted his paintings to look. The landscape seemed like that of a different planet giving birth to Joshua tree forests, old doors and windows that open to a world lost in time, crooked frames, light posts, and buildings from the 1900s stand as a testament of how little things change in this region of the world.
His latest mixed media works integrate embroidery as a structural feature of his paintings. These latest works are inspired by Lophophora Williamsii peyote buttons, a cactus sacred to the native American church, a species that instead of thorns produces cotton.
During the creation of the series “body-mind-spirit blossoms”, a boom of microdosing psilocybin mushrooms was making its way into pop culture and the field of psychiatry to treat depression, culminating in the opening of legal dispensaries in parts of the United States and Canada. This led to the production of the series titled “original life savers” which depicts spore prints and mushroom caps inspired by Andy Warhol’s screen prints of the "Lifesavers" advertisements he produced for the famous candy company in 1985.
After being exposed to the Navajo way of using peyote as a sacred medicine, the journey took Diego south to the Peruvian amazon to learn how the shamans of the native Shipibo community serve medicine. During this journey, he worked with the teacher spirit of a sacred tree named Noya Rao. This experience created a vivid palette of colors and geometric shapes, inspired by Shipibo embroidery and culture, which incorporate songs as patterns into both the visual and healing arts.