The Family Garden by Jaime Molina

Wooden enclosure with open hinged doors, carved wooden cacti inside and constellations painted on the background
The Family Garden
Jaime Molina
United States
wood, acrylic paint


Closed Eyes
Closed Eyes

Look at the expression on the figure's face. Molina says, “I always like them to be a bit mysterious. It's difficult to size someone up when their eyes are closed. If the eyes are the window to the soul, what happens when the eyes are closed? Are they sleeping? Are they dreaming? Are they sad?”

Cloud Formations
Cloud Formations

Look at the cloud formations on the inside and outside of the enclosure. Even though there are stars in the sky, it can be difficult to tell whether it is daytime or nighttime, or whether the sun is rising or setting. Can you tell what time of day it is by looking at the cloudy skies?

Imagined Constellations
Imagined Constellations

Take a look at the star formations in the upper part of the sky. The constellations that are depicted are imagined forms. These constellations are not based on real star formations, but rather on what Jaime imagines the constellations to look like.


Notice that this enclosure opens and closes. There are distinct images on the outside and inside of the object. This object would not be multidimensional without the incorporation of hinges. The incorporation of the hinges allows the object to transform from one image to another.


What is it? 

This object is a sculpted and painted wooden enclosure. On the inside, it depicts a desert landscape. This includes many cacti and a constellation-infused night sky. On the outside, the work depicts a dreamlike portrait of a male figure with his eyes closed.

Who made it? 

Portrait of Jaime Molina. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Jaime Molina, a Denver-based artist, created this object by hand carving the wood and painting it with acrylic paints. Jaime’s artwork takes many forms including murals, paintings, and sculptures. His mural work can be seen throughout the city of Denver, and currently at the Denver Art Museum.

What inspired it? 

Jaime’s work is inspired by the beautiful Colorado landscape, a setting that he calls home. The dynamic colors and intricate details found in this enclosure are a part of his vision of Colorado. He says, “To me, it's the sky and the intense sun that really play a big part of my appreciation for Colorado. The clouds here are so dynamic in the summer and spring. They create the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. All day long they are changing and bursting overhead.” This enclosure, like most of his work, is inspired by his fictitious town of melancholic figures called Cutty Town. The figure painted on the outside of the enclosure is an example of the figures that he creates in his imagination. His imagination is a huge part of his artistic process. Instead of searching for references of images online, he prefers to create the images based off of his own imaginative interpretation.


  • Imagine that you could shrink down to fit inside of this artwork. Use all of your senses to describe: how you think it would feel to touch, how you think it would smell, what sounds you think you would hear, how it would make you feel, and what else would you see.
  • What do you think inspired the artist to make this artwork?
  • If you could make your own imaginary environment what would it look like? Would your environment be based on a real or imaginary place? What kind of plants would be in it? What would the sky look like? What else would you add to your environment?