Batik artist

Judy Selk Flores, originally from Colorado, moved to Guam at age eleven when her parents accepted teaching jobs in 1957. The family was the first off-island American family to be housed in the southern village of Inalåhan, where Flores grew up immersed in the rich cultural traditions of the village. She learned to speak CHamoru fluently and married into the culture. She and her husband, Juan N. Flores, have two grown children and seven grandchildren.

Artistically inclined from an early age, Judy Flores earned a degree in art education from the University of Guam and taught art in secondary school for ten years. During her early years of teaching she began experimenting with the wax and dye art media of batik, which became her primary medium of artistic expression. Flores used the batik medium to paint vivid impressions of CHamoru cultural scenes and activities that were rapidly disappearing in the 1970s. As she continued her master’s and PhD research, her paintings reflected her increased interest in CHamoru history and cultural values.

In the days before Guam had art galleries, Flores marketed her work through art fairs and through consignments with small gift shops. Her work was often chosen by Guam officials as gifts for visiting dignitaries. As the tourism economy developed, hotels, restaurants, and professional offices commissioned batiks by Flores. The Percent-for-the-Arts law of 1989 required that all public buildings, including hotel properties who received tax exemptions, were required to spend one percent on local art.

Flores was among several artists who produced large works for the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, which still hang in their lobbies, foyers, and guest rooms. During the 1970s and 1980s a vibrant artistic community flourished through art festivals at Turtle Cove, Ipao Park, Plaza de Susana, and Jeff’s Pirates Cove.

Flores was a founding member of the Guam Visual Arts Guild, whose members organized the annual Kaleidoscope Weekend of Arts Workshops for over ten years. In 1981, she founded Guahan Art, a student art development organization that encouraged talented young artists to demonstrate, display, and market their work.

She worked for Senator Carmen Kasperbauer’s Legislative Committee on Culture in 1981 on legislation to create the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency (CAHA). She later was invited to join the first CHamoru artists’ organization, ”Acha’ot Guahan Siha.”

She exhibited at the CAHA Gallery, the Creative Hands Exhibit at the Isla Center for the Arts, The Guam Gallery of Art, and sold her work through Colorful Creations, a gallery/gift shop. Her sister, Amy, opened the Framed, Etc. gallery in Anigua in 2002, which features her original paintings, limited edition prints, and reproductions in cards, books, and glass.

For further reading

Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency. “Artists – Guam CAHA.”

Humanities Guåhan. Picturing Guam Teachers Resource Book. Hagåtña: HG, 2011.

I Manfayi: Who’s Who in Chamorro History. VoI. 3. The Hale’-ta Series. Hagåtña: Department of Chamorro Affairs, Division of Research, Publication, and Training, 2002.

Leon-Guerrero, Jillette. Seeing Guam Through Our Eyes. Agana Heights: Guamology Publishing, 2010.