Border Artist Inspired By Life, Death And Ganas

Gabriel Treviño was born in Brownsville, Texas and raised there and across the river, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. He’s a painter in his free time, an engineer during the day. I met Gabriel years ago and personally own several of his pieces and think he’s an amazing artist. What follows is a brief introduction to him, for more information about his work, visit his website.

I am from the border, I was born in Brownsville, Texas and as a kid raised in both Brownsville and Matamoros Tamaulipas, México. I grew up living on 12th Street and Polk, close to the Downtown area. It was a tough neighborhood, but helped shape me into who I am. I still like the idea of living in Brownsville, although a lot has changed. The city has grown and has more to offer.

As an artist, living in between the two rich cultures has been an inspiration. I sell paintings when I can. I have been producing work since 1998. I have also enjoyed working for a “big three” automotive parts supplier.

I produced my first painting in a painting class at the university with Professor Carlos G. Gomez, a black and white study on canvas. I painted a crucifix floating across the (Rio Grande) river, being guided by an angel-like image, which represented my mother, or perhaps my upbringing. I really connected with the idea of painting at that moment. My idea of art started with a pencil and paper. When I started drawing and sketching it was never my intention to later become a painter. I think the idea of painting came as a substitute idea to what I was doing, which quickly evolved after playing with color.

Life, death and everything in between inspires me, I guess I am still figuring that out as I go. I don’t set a limit to the work I am producing or direct my art to a certain audience. Like a kid, I sometimes just like to play in order to learn. I keep painting because, as the saying goes, “After every painting I finish I feel I have only just begun.” I think art has no end, even though I may finish a painting it doesn’t mean I am through with art. It’s an unprofound passion, hard to explain, sometimes I just do it as if it was a second nature. The “ganas” to paint is there, like the “ganas” to live.

Painting for me is sometimes like a conversation, a way to communicate…my brush describes what I am saying inside. I don’t have any rituals or blueprints to read before I paint. I sometimes may start by playing with paint and experimenting and not necessarily have direction of what I am doing before my creative ideas take over. I hope to continue to produce work as I do now and perhaps one day contribute to the evolution of art.

As an artist in Brownsville, certainly the Internet has made it easier to network or to get art out there so that people can see it faster than it has ever been. When I started, I liked the idea of exhibiting in the local flea market, or festivals to meet people first hand, and to hear their feedback. I enjoyed watching the reaction of people’s faces when they saw my art.

I think technology, the Internet and social networks, changed the idea of fame to the point that almost anyone for anything can be famous. That is a fame that can be short-lived. As a painter I think it is more important to find recognition in permanent institutions, like museums, and or in collections that identify with a certain period of historical relevance in art history. I think if you put it in that perspective your audience as an artist may grow beyond your lifetime. On the other hand zipping cocktails with Julian Schnabel and rubbing elbows with Hollywood royalty doesn’t sound too bad either.

[Photo Courtesy Gabriel Treviño]

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