David D. Oquendo


David D. Oquendo is a New Jersey, USA based artist. He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico – and raised in New Jersey. In 2009, Oquendo completed his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University (Newark Campus), earning a BFA in Painting and a Minor in Art History. While attending Rutgers, Oquendo was mentored by the late Denyse Thomasos; and in 2012, he earned an MFA in Painting from Montclair State University.

He is currently an Art educator through The Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University, and he’s Head of the Visual Arts Department at Bard Early College in Newark, NJ.

David D. Oquendo has developed a personal constructed script. He calls this writing system, “Metaphrase”. This “Metaphrase” is a series that includes large-scale wall renderings (indoor and outdoor), mixed media paintings, as well as sculptures. The artwork explores the artist’s ideas and questions of identity, language, and meditation.

The genesis of the series is personal. The artist was diagnosed with a learning disability as a child – causing difficulty in speech, comprehension, translation and writing.

Oquendo believes that language is not only about communicating with one another, it is also a tool to develop meaning in the world around us. Each letter is a system that has been influenced by Textualis Quadrata with hints of Eastern Kufic and Hebrew calligraphy. Completion finds the balance between obfuscate text and the beauty of calligraphy. With this series, David D. Oquendo challenges the notion of what language must be, how language must be used and how language must look like.

Selected Works