Jose Villalobos is known for artistically protesting culturally-accepted traits of toxic masculinity through performance, installation, sculpture, drawings and fashion. Villalobos grew up on the U.S./Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, and was raised in a traditional conservative family. His work reconciles the identity challenges in his life, caught in between traditional Mexican customs and American mores, as well as growing up with religious ideals that conflict with being gay. In his work, he confronts the derogatory terms and attitudes with which Villalobos continues to withstand today. The root of Villalobos work lies in the performativity of his identity and his accoutrements are proud connections to his heritage, but also reminders of the hate and homophobia that he has had to endure. In his work, Villalobos protests the toxicity of machismo through the use of objects, specifically within the norteño culture, that carry a history by deconstructing and altering them. Although new forms are created, he demonstrates the battle between the acceptance being a maricón and assimilating to the cultural expectations.
Villalobos recently earned a Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptures grant and residency and is also a recipient of the Tanne Foundation Award. His work was featured in the nationally recognized exhibition “Trans America/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today” at the McNay Art Museum.
Villalobos has also exhibited and performed at Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, Texas.;