We had the good fortune of connecting with Esther Gamez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Esther, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I think this year and the pandemic really taught me a lot about my motivation behind what I do. I mean, of course there’s the work I do for pay: commissions, illustrations and other design minded stuff but then there’s my personal work. It is not a sure sell, it implies putting in money and time that is not easy to monetize or to take account of in terms of practical stuff. When the pandemic started, I was just about to begin a big solo show project but one by one every plan I had made became more difficult to do in isolation. Not to mention, the goal of a gallery show seemed to be moving further and further away (or more likely, cancelled). By this time, the creative process was almost done and it was time to create the physical pieces… I still did them. I found out that the show, the possibility of sales and everything that comes with a gallery show were not the main thing driving me to create art. They are always nice possibilities and very good for the ego and the portfolio but the impulse for making art I think, in my case, is way deeper and more primal than I thought. It was nice to find that out and it gives me a new breath to keep going.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I had mostly been a straight forward figurative artist, working in pretty conventional two dimensional media, and i thing I’m shifting a lot these last couple of years. I’m more interested in integrating conceptual media into my work, and mixing my traditional training with more poetic substrates. I want my work to be a bit more poetic and a little less literal. I had been very conservative in this regard in the past, and I think being a mid career artist is affording me that security I needed to delve more in to those realms. Another thing I figured out lately is that the art world needs to be more open to artists making money and not having that take away from the “serious work”. I’ve seen a lot of artists work around this issue by creating alters or even a whole separate brand to be able to do commissions and less formal pieces, like illustration or even just post silly stuff they make for fun. I think this should not be a thing! The art market lives from us, we should be dictating what form our profiles can have, and we don’t need to be put in boxes. I just as well can make a “serious” think piece, that speaks to body horror and fears and then I can make drag race fan art. It’s all a part of me! I’d like to make a shoutout to artists to be free in that regard.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Bread and Salt gallery in San Diego is always an interesting visit! Also, you can just hop over to Mujeres Brew House right next door. In my town (Ensenada) there is plenty to do as well. My favorite spots are Asa Nisi Masa coffee and bread at Pacific Brews, just the best baked goods and views. For beer, always Cerveceria Aguamala! and if you’re going to Valle de Guadalupe don’t miss Lomita and Finca La Carrodilla. Oh! and Stay at Lumi, they will treat you so good and you can live your best glamping life there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I find a lot of inspiration and motivation in other artists and creators around me. I also feel the freedom to speak out thanks to this moment in time where women and non-binary persons are creating spaces for our voices. I felt encouraged to explore new themes in my work thanks to seeing these strong persons touch on themes that were just taboo when I was younger. I fell like I can say so much more now without fear. I’d like to shoutout a couple of such creators that i admire: Guadalupe Alonso(instagram @_riodelobos), a young artist from Ensenada that is making impeccable and strong work that I have the fortune of knowing since the beginning of her career. Carmina Escobar (instagram @carminaescobar), a mexican voice artist residing in L. A. that does the most incredible and just powerful performances, she is a force. Also, I was able to create some of my pieces during lockdown thanks to a great little ceramic shop here in town that is making beautiful commercial pieces and that I hope thrives forever, La Nopalera (instagram @la.nopalera). And, my good friend and excellent photographer Rodrigo Cardoza (instagram @srcardoza) helped me shoot my pieces for my web page.