The Journey

My earliest memories include me being an artist
I always found myself making art
I always identified myself as being an artist

The books I read and looked at as a child included plenty of art books
Of old masters’ exquisite drawings
Of American abstract expressionists like Rauschenberg
I loved it all, and I still do
So what could I possibly focus on?

In junior high and then in high school
I received many top art awards from area school art competitions
I was featured heavily in the schools’ literary magazines each year
You think, you believe, that being an artist is your future

For my first year of college, I stayed local and attended the public university

I then wrote to a lot of art schools for their catalogues to be mailed to me (this was a long time ago), and I acquired a large pile of art school catalogues that I would flip through

But I had no idea what I was looking for, yet I wanted to pair up my desire to be an artist with what I thought was my destiny

So I therefore needed to attend an art school as a step to achieve that

In my mind at that age and time, it was really that simple

I narrowed my choices down to four art schools, and then I applied to them

I got accepted into all four, and I chose the one that offered me the largest institutional grant

So that meant that I was going to art school in Los Angeles

I didn’t do any other research, and I didn’t know anything about Los Angeles, but to me, it was destiny

So my Dad drove me to Los Angeles

So I’m on my own for the first time in my life, at nineteen years old, in the middle of Los Angeles

I didn’t have my own car, so I had to rely on art school friends, or on public transportation

Everything quickly felt overwhelming

The first year at a private art school is foundation year, so you’re taking really, really basic courses

This seems a swipe to your integrity that you have to start off so basic

But you have to prove yourself, and so it was

The first semester was okay and I got by

But I just never really fit in to the school, I never really fit in to the city, and I never really fit in with my art school friends and social life at school, in the dorms, or when we went out to socialize outside of the confines of the dormitory

Then it struck me that I would be living like this for the next four years, and then what would I be doing?

I would have a bachelors degree in studio fine art, and I would be residing in this giant metropolis of Los Angeles, but then what would I do?

I returned home for the holiday break between semesters, and then I returned back to Los Angeles after the break, and so I had more clarity on where I was, and what I was doing

And it just hit me that this all was not for me

So I had a very difficult spring semester, and I really struggled to stay motivated

But during the prior fall semester, I had the foresight to apply to a Texas state university, where I would still have residency, and I got accepted

So the next school year, in the fall, I attended the University of Texas at Austin, and I enrolled in their graphic design program, something much more practical than a fine art studio degree

So I went back home for the summer after my one year of art school in Los Angeles

And I worked in a warehouse, packing printer ribbons into boxes for 7-1/2 hours a day, 5 days a week, for the entire summer

Then I moved to Austin, to begin that fall as a transfer student and a graphic design major

It turns out, without my prior knowledge, that this graphic design program was a new program, and all of us students were the guinea pigs

We were taught by supposedly a stellar faculty of amazing designers, who told us that we were in a newly formed program, and a lot was expected from us

So I thought wow I’ll be an amazing graphic designer

And for the next three school years, I did okay and got through it

The courses required by the university outside of my major, such as biology and regular history, were really hard

Going to a university full time and then having any number of graphic design courses was all really time consuming

Any graphic design course is very time consuming, you spend hours and hours trying to create the most amazing things
And you keep looking to get struck with inspiration

It all was a struggle, but I made it through it all, and my final senior project was very well received

After being at the university for 3 years full time, I was so close to graduating, but I had two courses remaining, which I didn’t plan very well

So I had to either go back to the university the next semester full time or part time

I just did not know what to do really, I thought that I had made a huge mistake, and it scared me

I was not prepared to live like an adult like this

So I moved back to my Mom’s house in El Paso, where I would stay there, and I took the two remaining courses and transferred them over and I then graduated in absentia

I ended up staying at my Mom’s for the next four years, and I got a few jobs as a freelance graphic designer

But then through my own networking, I landed a full time job creating print ads for a local car dealership, where I worked for the next three years

Then an old contact of mine from Austin had an opportunity for me to work for him full time, so I packed up and moved back to Austin, where I would be a full time graphic designer with some illustration work

That lasted for a total of ten months, until that company was bought out and they did not need my position in the new company, so I was on my own in Austin, without a job

And again, I did not know what to do

So I moved in with my Dad in Arkansas

I got a full time job there, also as a print designer, and then I decided that I wanted to go to graduate art school

Because that was really my destiny all along

So I applied to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s graduate art program, and I was accepted

So after being accepted, I knew that I would be going there in the fall, and in the meantime, my employer at the time let me go, because that company was bought out and I was a duplicate position

So I attended the university for the next school year as a graduate student, and I had one class each semester that I taught on my own as a Teacher’s Assistant and I earned some income from that as well

But I didn’t want to stay in Arkansas and continue in this graduate art program, so I applied to three private graduate art schools in the fall, and I was accepted to two of them, and one of them was in New York City, which was my dream at the time, but that school did not offer me much of a grant, and it was therefore too expensive to attend

But I noticed in that art school’s catalog that the dean was a prior teacher of mine back in Texas, and I knew him on a first name basis, so I made an appointment to visit with him at his office at the art school in New York City, and I traveled there, and I had all of about five minutes to meet with him

And I was just simply a nobody sitting there talking to him, as I showed him color printouts of my portfolio and I left him the bound copies

He then made a call to the art school’s financial aid department, where they confirmed that they could set me up with work study, which is already the standard at any school that you go to, and that was not nearly enough money needed to attend a private art school

Then the head of the painting department took me on a tour of the graduate art studios, and she was a distinguished person in the art world, but I do not recall her name or background

So I returned back to Fayetteville knowing that I would not be going back to New York City

So then I received more financial aid from the art school in San Francisco, and I traveled there first in the summer to find a place to rent

Then I went back in the fall to attend the art school in San Francisco

I didn’t research the circumstances surrounding the school, it was destiny after all

When we were assigned studios, mine was just very short buttresses jutting out from a long wall, and it really upset me that I couldn’t get my own dedicated four walled studio, so I rushed right away back to the facility director, and demanded a proper studio, which I was soon thereafter given, thank goodness

Then the number of students in the graduate program was very large

And the class sizes therefore were very large

And then we all start hearing rumors that turned out to be true, that the school was in financial difficulties, and had acquired a massive debt over the years, so it needed a very large graduate program, to generate more revenue

So I graduated from there with some distinctions I made from my unique artwork

Then I moved to Los Angeles, because I thought this would be the more practical and wiser decision

Then I got a full time job as a print graphic designer which helped greatly with stability

I rented a tiny studio apartment in Hollywood for four years, then I relocated to a larger live-in art studio, which was supposed to nurture my creativity, but it’s what helped lead me to stopping art making completely

So I had a long stretch in Los Angeles where I was completely focused and productive as an artist

I had my full time job that sustained my art practice

And this was destiny being fulfilled, and I was happy, my pathway in the universe was now laid out in front of me

After a day’s work at my job, I made it my lifestyle to make as much artwork as I could in the evenings, and on the weekends as well

It was a challenge, but I was determined to “make it”

I worked, and then I’d go home, and I’d make trips to the local art stores for supplies on the way home

I’d enter area art competitions or auctions and get in some, and drive my original paintings to the various area locations to be in the shows.

Then I’d return during the evening event to be present

I would attend gallery openings of artists that I knew, or I’d attend galleries that I didn’t know anyone from, but that I thought I wanted to be associated with

I was fully engaged, or at least I was trying to be

I was either making a sculpture, or making a painting, or making a collage, or prepping the area or the materials, or researching opportunities online, or organizing my art marketing materials at my place

There was always something to do, and for most of the time, it felt overwhelming

I did not know what to capitalize on

But I kept creating

I knew that I had to be visible in the art community, and that I had to market myself online the best that I could

I had to maintain a website, and I had to have an online social media presence

As I was going along living life at the time, I really was not sure how to maximize my time, and I really did not know what to focus on

But the artwork creation had to continue, which I did in earnest from 2003 to around 2013

Then I moved into my own condo, where it was like the best living that I’d had while on my own

So then, no painting or serious art making took place there starting in 2013

Then starting in 2014, I felt compelled to create, but I didn’t want to make a mess with the sculpture or painting supplies, so I created digital works exclusively

And a few of them were shown in area galleries through open call competitions

Then I started up again with traditional art making before my daughter was born, around 2015

I thought I could create traditional graphite drawings for people, of regular portraits

But there’s always a sales pitch involved, and most people do not outwardly want to have a graphite drawing of them, so it just always seemed like an awkward sales pitch or just making art on my own to garner attention somehow in the future

Then in 2016, I was very fortunate to get a commission from a friend of a friend, to create my own type of anatomy artwork of his portrait

This was a thrill to create, and it was very well received from the collector

But it was just so time consuming with all of the anatomy to create, and I did not know how to acquire my next client creating the same thing, so I never created anything similar after that one painting

This collector did mention to me that if I could speed up my process, I could possibly get freelance work in the music or movie industry, but I just didn’t have the energy to pursue that

Then when my daughter was born, it made sense then to make paintings of her, to celebrate her, which I did plenty of by making watercolors, oils, egg tempera paintings, and graphite drawings

This did get the attention of a few people, and my Dad then commissioned me to paint oil paintings of all of his grand kids, which was a great idea, and which I did work on, but I just could not complete the paintings

And now with two kids, it’s just simply impossible to make any type of serious traditional artworks

So then I started to sit at my iMac and I would try to learn something new

The current and latest effort that I’m learning is website designing via WordPress and a popular page builder and a few various add ons

But at first, I learned about drafting, and the some various home improvement things, and then arbitrage reselling online

Otherwise, I’ve been a full time dad to my two kids, living life with my wife, and I have been the maintenance guy on our townhouse.

Over all of these years, since 2003, I have been accumulating my own art pieces, and a lot of them

So I store them as best I can in the garage

And then I am cataloging them all on this website that I’m still learning how to develop

In hopes that interest for my artwork can be drummed up again

And it would be nice to have art pieces that have been in my own inventory, be in other people’s homes

I do not want to discard them, because my story as an artist is not done yet with being told

I want my art narrative to continue

The optimistic side is that I simply do not know what the future will hold, and it could be beyond expectations

But if I just say that’s it, no more, and I stop, then I’m guaranteeing myself a story that ends abruptly