People ask me if I’m an artist. Other times they just refer to me as such.
In many ways I’ve struggled with that as much as I’ve struggled with general Latino identity issues. Not profoundly, mind you, but in some part because I do not consider myself an artist per se. I like to draw but I can’t say “I’m a drawer”. I tend to say “illustrator” because my art generally focuses on illustration. Even when I paint, it is done in illustrative fashion and from a drawing perspective. Having said that, I certainly do not mind when people call me an artist.
I am an illustrator by pursuit and hobby. I cannot say it is my profession—I neither have a degree or professional background in it but I have had a wonderful affinity and proclivity for it—simply put, I’ve really enjoyed it and seem to have some talent for it.
I started drawing back in elementary school—a key moment I recall was my first drawing of Sonic the Hedgehog. That led me on a drawing spree through junior high focused on copying drawings I liked. I think this really helped me develop the skills I could later use on my own compositions and designs.
In junior high I also found friends who liked to draw and whom I admired for their skills. That helped me push myself to focus on getting better at it, something I would continue through high school.
It was in high school that I would really get into art classes and develop an interest for wanting to do this as a career. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed working on the art assignments—in fact, I would find ways to use drawing as part of my assignments for other classes: English, history, Spanish, biology, etc.
But I had a bad experience in junior college with an art professor. I redirected to another love, history, and left art as more of a personal pursuit. Nonetheless, working as a teacher, I still shared that love and passion with students, to nurture positive experiences.
Nowadays, my “style” has developed over all these years from different ideas, influences, people I admire, and my own cultural explorations. I draw all over the place, in space and style. I shift from political statements to strictly aesthetic pieces, from environmental issues to cartoon characters. But most importantly, I think what I draw, and how I draw, keeps further defining my identity. Like so many actions, what we do says quite a bit about who we are and how we see ourselves.
I like to draw because it is an immersing experience. One gets to create and share a reflection of one’s self in a visual and artistic way. In my wide array of drawings and illustrations I see myself and have something I want to share: always exploring, somewhat fluid, wanting to learn, affirming and clarifying my cultura.
Also, if you will be in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday March 16th, you can come meet me in person at a one-night art show in the Mission District.
We also have a special QueMeansWhat treat for you! Enter below for an opportunity to win a 8.5″ by 11″ print by me! I will be mailing a selected piece of art to TWO winners! The winners will be selected by next Friday, March 1st.