Monday, August 11, 2014

Q & A with South Texas Artist, Javier Espinoza

"No Nos Quieren Corazon"
14" x 17"
Pencil, pencil color, pen and ink


Friday, August 8th I look through my Facebook friends posts and I see an invite to go check out Jardin Del Arte here in Edinburg, TX. The humidity usually keeps me away from outdoor events at times...not tonight! I wanted to come out and say hello to some friends as I scouted artists for my next Pasta, Poetry & Vino event for October.

I ran into artist Celeste De Luna and her husband...talked about summer vacations and esto y aquello. I turn around and I see Javier. Javier reminds me of the type of guy that would have been a camarada from my old neighborhood in Los Angeles... real chill attitude, witty and real...and extremely talented. Hazme un tattoo esé! 

Javier is all south Texas! with a love and passion for the Tex-Mex music and culture of this region and state. Which translates to loving low-riders, oldies, cook-outs on Sunday and Cruisin' Whittier Boulevard if he were from my barrio. 

 "Conjunto: South Texas Musicos" 
 16" x 20"
Acrylic paint on canvas 

I don't want to classify him as a cartoonist, for me, he is a dedicated and surreal poet that draws his prose and metaphors for us all to enjoy visually on canvas. I see him listening to Sublime or Freddy Fender when coming up with these drawings and paintings, but that's just me! 

Let's see what Javier has to say:

Q: Why art?

Growing up in the late 70s/early 80s, we didn’t have the gadgets most kids own today, so we had to be creative and art for me was, and still is, a way to create what floats in my mind. There is no greater sense of accomplishment for me than when I can sit in front of a newly finished piece. Art for me is like prayer; it is a therapeutic lifeline and my mind goes happily blank when I am in the process of working on my art. Creating art flushes all my worries away. As artists, we are in the business to create and design. Some people are good at math, some at cooking, fixing automobiles, etc. I am blessed and grateful to have this talent.

Q: What’s your background?

My background is mostly in illustration and cartoonish type of artwork. I used to work as a writer and comic strip cartoonist for STEM Magazine in McAllen, Texas (no longer in business) and The Community Voice-La Voz, which is based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I enjoy making cartoonish, surrealistic and abstract type of art and some of my art features “musicos” of the Tex-Mex kind, robots, random creatures and other types of characters. I love to write and enjoy photography as well. 

"Minus My Mechanism"
11" x 15"
Acrylic paint, pen and ink on watercolor paper

Q: What do you dislike about the art world?

Not much really. In the art world anything goes and creativity is an open field for all. I don’t like the “snotty” nature of some artists. I like to keep it real and arrogance or “wannabe’s” for me are a true turn off. I look at this way, my art isn’t for everyone and that’s ok but arrogance and ignorance are a huge no-no for me. 

Q: What role does an artist play in society?

An artist plays many roles in society. Several elementary school children asked me this same question once and my response to them was that artists design the shoes and clothes they wear, the building they attend school in, the bus or vehicle that takes them to and from, the pencil in their hands, etc. Artists are designers because everything we see around us was originally designed by someone, whether on a graphic design computer program or old-school sketching. 

"Prayer Cuatro"
16" x 20"
Acrylic paint on canvas

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

About art: Break the rules, but respect the classics. Art is about quality, not quantity. About life: Inspire others even if it doesn’t involve art.

Q: Name something you don’t love, and why.

I don’t like (or love) the “selfish intentions” of some people. People say that money is the root of all evil and I agree with that, but selfish intentions are a darker sense of evil that ruin anything and everything because so much that hurts us emotionally as humans stems from the genesis of selfish intentions.

"Llorar y Llorar"
20" x 24"
Acrylic on canvas

"Proceed to Shutdown Sequence"
11" x 15"
Acrylic paint, pen and ink on watercolor paper

Q: Who is your favorite comic book hero?

My favorite comic book hero is The Hulk. No one would ever bullied the Hulk. I got picked on as a kid by a few neighborhood bullies and when they picked on me, I always wanted to use the line, “Don’t make me angry, you won’t like it when I’m angry.” Ha! Imagine that. I would’ve been four foot tall and about 120 lbs. of mean green chubbiness and purple torn pants.  

Q: When you are gone, what do you want your body of work to accomplish?

Good question. I would hope my art could put a smile on someone’s face 50 to 75 years from now and that my five year old son can experience my art work for himself as an adult and that through my art he may remember me and keep me in his heart.

From Javier Espinoza:

Much of my work reflects my illustration background and many of the cartoonish, abstract and surrealistic elements in my works stem from my days as a comic strip artist for the publications South Texas Entertainment Magazine (McAllen, Texas) and The Community Voice-La Voz (Grand Rapids, Michigan). I have continued drawing cartoon characters to this day, using this format for most of my characters in many “musico” paintings and works of other subject matter. Over these past several years, this process and style has had its way with me and has provided much fun for me during the creation process. It is within this colorful and surrealistic style that I am happiest making artwork. Drawing and painting strike me with a sense of accomplishment and has proven a most amenable vehicle for translating my inner vision to outer reality. The concrete and sometimes repetitive nature of my style of work (in my musico series) frees my imagination and provides many opportunities for blissful accidents of painted brush strokes, outlined by thick acrylic paint or sketchy marker ink lines which grace to influence the finished product and bring to life the characters within my paintings. Some of my personal influences include artists such as Mort Drucker, Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, Bill Watterson, Cayetano Garza, Jr., Ramon Ramirez and Lucy Romero. I am a former art student at The University of Texas-Pan American where I studied Studio Art.

Visit his website:

Thank you for visiting my blog! Abrazos y Bendiciones!

-Edward Vidaurre

Edward Vidaurre has been been published in several anthologies and literary journals among them La Bloga, La Tolteca Zine, Bordersenses, Interstice, La Noria Literary Journal, Boundless Anthology of the Valley International Poetry Festival 2011-2013. He’s had two books published -'I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip' (Slough Press 2013) and ‘Insomnia’ (El Zarape Press 2014). He also co-edited TWENTY-Poems in Memoriam and Boundless 2014 the Anthology of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival. He is the founder of the reading series-Pasta, Poetry & Vino. Vidaurre lives in Edinburg, TX

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