Born in Galveston, Texas, and currently living and working in Marfa, Camp Bosworth draws much of his inspiration from the richly diverse culture inherent in a border state. Diverging traditions and histories, the trope of the Western, border tensions, the war on drugs, the figure of the Narco (or drug lord), gun laws, cartel wars—all form the scope of influence surrounding the artist’s practice. Initially trained as a painter, Bosworth creates monumental wood sculptures that examine the image of the Narco, representations of narco-culture in Corridos, and our collective fascination with, in the artist’s words, “the lives of outlaws and the rich, or anyone living a more than normal life.”
Creating oversized icons of the narcotraficante—pistol, tequila, spurs, bling jewelry—has allowed him, like an anthropologist, to observe, document and investigate life in Northern Mexico at the start of the 21st century. He acknowledges the ongoing folklore of Mexican history and popular arts within the culture of La Frontera by creating recurring and enduring images from wood. He employs techniques derived from Mexican artisanal wood carving, bas-relief, metal working and jewelry making traditions. Isolating the trappings of narco-culture demystifies them, allowing them to be seen apart from their cultural milieu, and diffuses their charge as associated symbols of power and machismo. They begin to move into the realm of Pop. Increased in scale, the stereotypical status objects lose some of their connotations of menace and domination and make way for an appreciation of craft, skill and beauty.
Through this body of work, Bosworth deliberates challenging questions unique to the border region: corruption, violence, murder, poverty and lawlessness wrought by the drug cartels. He further hopes to encourage dialogue as an important tool for change. “I don’t think I’m romanticizing Narco culture or power; I am working through it. It does not mean that I sympathize with these types of characters. Art is an inherent form of communication and my work stimulates conversations about border issues, the Narcos, and the war on drugs.”