I interviewed Maestro Balam Soto on Friday June 20 for a feature article in INK Publications. I like conducting the interview portion which comes with writing these articles for INK. I meet with talented and insightful people and with each interview I learn something significant about art and design; and sometimes I am even able to gather profound notions which affect my own life and philosophies.
One of the most exciting interviews I conducted was with the design team of Cummings & Good. Having listened to them talk about their work, my focus was centered around conceptualization and attention to detail. That interview, and their work, still inspires me to this day. The discussion with Gilbert Boro taught me about process and provided new ways for me to think about and incorporate solid process in my own work. During the interview with modern artist, Balam Soto, I learned about fearlessness.
Balam's story is really quite something. He resides in Hartford CT having moved here from Guatemala to be with the woman he loves and to pursue becoming a full time artist. His work is beautiful, colorful and alive with a spirit that only a truly impassioned artist can bestow upon a canvas. I hope you will pick up a copy of INK (I believe Balam's article will be published in the August 2008 issue) to read about how this gentle man came to the US speaking only ten words of English. How he produced his first painting as a boy in Guatemala by fashioning a paint brush made from a stick and his own hair. Balam is now a successful artist who has received the title of Maestro from his native country of Guatemala and exhibits his work in galleries in Connecticut, New York and abroad. He has even taught himself to program computers and create his own website and a blog. He did all this in 12 short years.
The creative aspiration which compels an artist to pursue their art is an amazing gift (some may think it is a curse.) But with fearlessness we can cross oceans, learn new languages, create beautiful marks on paper and pursue our dreams. As Balam said to me "You can make art out of anything!"... just fear not and you can obtain whatever magnificence your heart desires.