I was raised in Nogales, Arizona, a city on the border of Mexico. Both of my parents were born and raised in Mexico. My mother, organized and strict, was a Spanish teacher, and my father was a superhero! He was a muralist, a sign maker, and an evangelical speaker, event organizer, youth group leader, play director and actor. He was a custodian of an elementary school by day. Above all, my father was an artist. He painted murals at a number of schools in town. He was always working in the garage on a set of signs or a series of colored pencil drawings. Throughout my youth, I was my father apprentice. I helped him with color mixing, systematic transfers for signs, stage sets, and character make up for his plays. Along the way I developed a passion for the arts.
I first took a visual arts class in junior high. I was introduced to the elements and principles of design. At this point, I began to apply myself to my small personal projects. I soon became the art teacher’s assistant, and I was the teacher’s student of the year two years in a row. When I was in 7th grade, the school permanently installed a steel sculpture that I welded in class. At the time I did not take much pride in my involvement or was even aware of the things I was learning along the way. In retrospect, however, I was lucky to have encouraging people introduce me to the world of art.
When I went to high school, life introduced me to new challenges and responsibilities. My mother, ever-encouraging, pushed me to get a job. I got a job at Tubac Center For the Arts, in Tubac, Arizona. I worked two summers as a teacher’s assistant in an art program for children, and did maintenance work around the gallery. I painted walls and pedestals, and cleaned the space to prepare it for new exhibits through the summer.
My last two years in school were difficult. My parents’ relationship was falling apart, and my adolescent mischief was not helping. I moved to Tucson to live with my sister during my parents’ divorce. That fall, I enrolled in an alternative program that focused on art. Artworks Academy was a place where I was encouraged to exercise my creativity. The faculty was inspiring and nurturing. I was employed to work the student gallery at the school.
After a year at Artworks, I was awarded a scholarship to attend The Oxbow School in Napa, California. Oxbow is a rigorous, high school art program. The school demanded my absolute best. I lived in Napa for a semester. The program was enlightening and also gave me opportunities that I could never have dreamed of. I visited artists’ studios, galleries, art collectors’ homes, and museums. I was pushed to new limits of thinking as both an artist and a student. It also offered me the chance to travel to the city of San Francisco, which was an inspiring view of how much the world had to offer. The new experiences changed my perspective on life.
I returned home to enroll in a community college. I practiced art on my free time, experimenting with paint, sculpture, and graphic design. In order to keep up with bills, I stopped going to school. I got a job with a company called Creative Machines. There, I help design and fabricate exhibits for museums and science centers, and make public art. My experience with the company has helped me grow immensely. I have learned about ideation, research, materials, prototyping, installation and corresponding with clients. I have also acquired new skills like welding, wood-working, and 3D CAD modeling.
I have since returned to college, and I am working on my bachelors in Applied Arts. I work mainly in acrylic paint and in 3D, designing sculpture and furniture. I have also been working in pencil and digital media, to create reproductions and commercial graphics.