Artistic Armando de Abiquiu

Name: Armando Adrian-López

Location: Abiquiu, New Mexico

Topics: Art, Artist, Culture, Mexican, Sculpture

Quote: “They say we create our own reality. You are responsible for who you really are. You create yourself. And I really believe that.”

Artistic Origins & Coming to the U.S. 

I’ve been living here for the last 25 years, so Abiquiú has been growing, in a good way. I say in a good way because there’s a lot of interesting people coming. Intellectuals, writers, painters, poets. Old people, wealthy people. Which is good [laughing]. I think I’m the artist of that group. I mean that you have work all the time, a pay level, and you live with that. We pay bills with art. I mean sometimes hardly.

I was born in México, Michoacán. My name is Armando Adrian Lopez and I was born in Michoacán, México, in 1965. Yeah, I am 51 years old. To New Mexico, I came 25 years ago. But I came to USA when I was 23, so now I have more time living here than I was in México. I was a kid. Why? I came because, looking for opportunities. México was very narrow and there was nothing for me there. And I got educated somehow, I got to school, I get a little title, not a big title, a counter. But I also at the same time wanted to go to acting in school. So really what made me is the acting school. For 5 years I worked with an acting group in Morelia and then they make me believe that I was already a good actor. That, “You have a lot of talent. You can do good,” and, “You have a great voice.” The voice was very special for acting. Abiquiú how they called this voice, the voice that you can whisper on the stage and the people in the last line can hear it. You know, you’re 17,18,19,20, and you believe everything. Yeah, it could be cool to be an actor. So I go to Mexico City, and no, they don’t want me there and it was very clear it was for the color of my skin. There was no doubt. It was very competitive, too. And they looking for very good looking people and very good looking in those days in México was white skin and maybe blue or green eyes. Still, there’s some of that in México, it’s very racist. So I get really upset and I said, “What am I going to do now? This was plan a and b and c.” And then I said, “Well I need to work.” I cannot find any decent work, you know, I have to work in the grocery store, and I don’t want to. Or other chance to work in a factory and I work for a little weeks in the factory. More than a few weeks, I think months. Because I need to work and I said, “No, this is not what I want to do.”

So, I go back to Morelia. I try Guadalajara, too, and I even make a short trip to Monterey, because I was very Mexican. I don’t want to go out of my country, not even considering. México and USA? No way. Simple people and educated people, think about USA, “Yeah, I’m going to go and make money and come back and make a business here.” So I never considered it but at one point I was like, “Oh my god.” I mean I was getting old, you know I was 21, 22. Abiquiú what to do I don’t see any window door to fit in. I was very very upset at that time and when they say, “A business,” I want to do my own business. Simple, nothing big, I say I’m going to have a little stand at the farmer’s market and sell vegetables or fruit or something, and I’m going to be the best. So I need capital. How am I going to get that? And I think, “I’m going to go to USA and make $5,000 and come here and have my business.” Okay, fine. That’s my future.

How did I get to the USA? The father-in-law of my sister was here. He was a very nice man. So I contact him. He was in Bakersfield, CA. So I have to go to Tijuana, and then from Tijuana I called him. I say, “Don Manuel, I’m in Tijuana and I need you to help me.” Everybody knows what kind of help between Mexicans. So he says, “Yeah, but I can’t now. This weekend no, next week.” So I have to spend one week in Tijuana waiting. So next weekend I was with the Coyote already 3 days before the weekend and they have us in the house in Tijuana. I remember every detail about this like a book. So I crossed the line one day, after being 5 days in a house in Tijuana, with more than 100 people in the same [place]. So finally it was my turn. You know they take in groups of 10 or 12. So finally was my group.

All the instructions, don’t run, don’t move, you’re going to see horses and helicopters, don’t do anything unless I tell you something. Do what I say.

And then I wake up in San Diego, in another house. I was a writer, I was enjoying every single part. I thought, “Wow, this is amazing, this is a fantasy.” So anyways, I wake up in San Diego. And there was a very huge impact because we get there in the middle of the night and they say, “Get in the trailer,” and the trailer was full of people already on the floor, so we all tired. So, I guess where ever on top of each other. And you’re tired, you don’t care, and you’re 23, you really don’t care. And then that morning I wake up in San Diego. And then we’re not allowed to go out of the fence, there was a big fence. And I asked one of the guys, “Can I see where we are? Yes, let me watch, I mean the street.” “Oh yeah you can put your head out and look.” So he let me take a step out of the gate and I was like, “Wow. What is this?” It was another world. It was palm trees, it was bougainvillea’s time, it was March and I was crying, “Wow, this is paradise. Why they lie to us? The people who come and go say the US is horrible, this is hell. I mean this is not hell, this is so beautiful.” I was in those conditions but I was very sensible I think and all I see was beauty and adventure. Then from that place they sell 5 of us to other two guys two days after. And those two guys take us to Los Angeles and sell us to another guy, another guy to take care of us until someone come and pick us up. And it’s L.A. in Ramona street. And Don Manuel don’t appear, and I was the last one waiting. I say, “What are you going to do if he doesn’t come?” And they say, “We’ll have to return you to Tijuana,”   and I say, “No way”.

I started planning and studying the whole thing because you know I’m an actor and I wasn’t that simple little guy from this little town who leaved the cows and goats and come to USA, no. I was already, somehow, know what it was. I was ready to escape when Don Manuel called and said Saturday. It was tomorrow. And Don Manuel came with another 5 guys, very bad guys and they don’t come with the whole money. They only come with half the money. It was $300 I think, and they only come with $150. And they say, “We only have $150,” and the guys says, “It’s $300.” And he says, “That’s all we have.” “Well then you don’t have him.” And then some of the guys say, get in the car, to me. And they take $150. Because I can hear Don Manuel saying, “Well, you take it or I’m going to call the police. What about that? And we all lose here.” So I go to Bakersfield the next day. I was picking limones. And from there I run with the cherry pickers to Oregon, Idaho, the whole temporada, they call it. And then from Idaho, we supposed to go back to Utah. Apples in Utah, I think. And that was September, and I was already tired of this system. The abuse and all those stories you hear about immigrants, is true, and nobody do or say anything because most of the time most of the workers are under drugs, and the other people get drunk every day. And I say “Wow, I cannot deal with this one more day.” So when everybody is ready to move to Utah I say, “I don’t go to Utah. Abiquiú what I’m going to do, but I don’t go to Utah.”

So coincidence of life and everything that I have a little post card of a friend that I met in Guadalajara, and he said, “I live in Los Angeles, and I can tell that you are very good.” So I send the telegram from Idaho, “I’m here in Idaho and I don’t know if you remember me, and this guy at this party…” He answers immediately and says, “Call me,” and give me the phone number. By telegram. And I immediately go to this little town where we were in Idaho and call him. And he says, “I hardly remember you, but if you need help, yeah I can help you. I have two jobs here in LA and you can take one of them.” I say, “Cool! and I stay with you?” He says, “You can stay here and if we don’t get along, you can stay ‘till you find somewhere else.”

So, I came with my little savings that I’ve been making and the whole thing was really hard because you have to pay food, you have to pay everything and you ended up with very little money, but I think I ended up with $1500, pretty good for those days. And I go to LA and say, “By December I’m going to have $5000 and go back to Morelia with my plan.” And then September, October, November, LA is really beautiful in winter. And I say, “This is so beautiful.” I mean no way. I sent a letter to my mom. I say, “Forget about the project. I let you know because I don’t want you to keep the hope. I don’t think I want to return to México. I’m very happy here. I like LA a lot and I’m going to be here.” And she cry and says, “No, please come back.” I was the favorite one. But I said, “No, I want to live my life.” So just working in restaurants and just trying to pay the rent and that was the time I take two jobs to buy a car. Oh, in the beginning I say to this guy, “Can you take me to Hollywood?” And he says, “Yeah, you want to see the stars in Hollywood?” And I say, “No, actually I’m interested to see the school, the acting schools in Hollywood,” and he look at me and say, “You’re joking right?” and I say, “No, it’s true. I’m an actor.” And he say, “No, you’re not. you don’t look like an actor. Ha ha ha, you so funny.” So, I found it impossible to find people like me, Mexicans like me! One friend in 6 years that I was living in LA, Ramoncito. He was the only one. We can speak about music, and alternative thinking, and more intellectual. Anybody else was from this little town, and I mean, you know. It was like, wow, that was shocking. And I always do my art. Because that’s how I was, I was born like that.

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Discovering Markets in Nuevo México 

So I discovered Standard Brand, I don’t know if the stores still exist, and I discovered that they have canvass and all art supplies and I started buying broches, and canvass and doing projects and stuff. In LA there’s a lot of natural materials, so I do any kind of stuff, with any purpose because I just need to do it. So I was there, living for 6 years and Scott came, he was living in LA and then he moved here to farm. I met him, he says, “Oh, I have a farm in Abiquiú, do you want to farm? You will like it.” And then I have a car accident, and I lose my car, so I started going on the public transportation again and I said, “I don’t like this.” And my best work was not in a restaurant or in Taqueria, it was the car wash. It was the place I really love because I love to sing and, I’m an actor. I like entertaining. So I was outside all day, in shorts, playing with water, and I get $300 in tips. Because I was very good, very quick, I do a good job. I love it.

I was young. I mean when you’re young you have the energy to do anything. And do my artwork and do my thing. Never really go to school to learn sculptural painting. I just do it because it was fun…fun isn’t really the right word. It’s who you are, ‘cause I was making murals in my house in México when I was 6yrs old. Making murals in my house. But every wall was full of animals, tigers, panthers, water colors. Nobody teach me anything…So you’re born with that. I really really think you’re born with that. You can call it talent or whatever, but you have it or you don’t. I think you can learn it but, I don’t know, it’s different. It’s harder. Working here as a professional artist, implicates doing a lot of shows here and then we do really good with the farm. So I came here and we do really well with the farm but the farm discovered me because we go to farmer’s market, in Santa Fe. And I always do things, baskets with the grass and little animals and I put it on the table and the farmer’s market. That was the beginning of something. The Pandora’s box. I sold every little piece [I made]. And then the studio tour, came to Abiquiú the first year, and they say, “You can do the studio tour with the things you do.” So I put a line from that vega to the other one and I hung about 40 pieces with anything. Angels with horns, angels with no horns, masks, this, that, just the silhouettes, and I sold every one. I think the expensive one is $80. And I say, “Wow, this is something.” So we go to México that December and bring my mother, my sister, and three kids to live here with us in this house. And the little kid was not even a year [old] and the second was 11 and the next was 13. I didn’t have any papers then. This was 25 years ago. It was very easy to go and [come] back without papers. We had savings from the farm so we go and come back. My mother, very soon, stayed for a few months and then go back, ‘cause you know she was already 65 and she don’t like it. She don’t get along…she missed the town and friends and stuff. So she go back but my sister and kids stayed. Scott married my sister and adopted the kids. With my art I was like, “Okay, people like my art so I’m going to do this little show in Taos.” So I make $2000. So I’m gonna do one in Santa Fe and another one, and I make another $2000. So I increase my show, and then this show, and then there was a gallery, and for like a year I do these little shows.

And then a Gallery in Santa Fe, Good Hands, called me and say, “Can you come and present us your art?” No kidding! Good Hands is calling me? [Good Hands] was the big gallery in Santa Fe those days with traditional and contemporary art, New Mexican art. “Yes, of course!” I came with this big angel. They say, “How much do you want for this angel?” And I say, “$1500,” and they say, “Okay, we’re going to sell it for $3000.” And that’s not what I mean, but I let it go because my English wasn’t that good. But they sold it, almost immediately. Every month they sold almost three or four pieces for a good 4 or 5 years. and then the second year that I was in the gallery, they say, “Well, maybe you can do Spanish market?” So I do Spanish market and I tell Scott, “I’m going to be in the Spanish market next weekend,” and he was in the farmer’s market selling vegetables and I was in the Spanish market. I need help, so I called him… I was selling so much. [After that] I told him I can’t do the farm anymore. We tried to do it with help but no, because my role in the farm was important and big. Without me the thing doesn’t run because I was in charge of…my area was what to plant. When is the time to plant it and where and how, of course, I know how. So when I come out of that nobody do that. And I kind of controlled the quality, too. It was very expensive. It was organic farm. Because with zucchinis every one has to be this big. If it’s this big, don’t even consider taking it. The green beans, everyone has to be this big, they bigger than that, throw it away. Many Mexican workers say, “What a waste.” Yeah, but without it we cannot make it. And I explain to them, “These green beans are $7 a pound. This is a pound. This big, the beans, is two dollars a pound, and this is a pound of big ones. And everyone have these for two dollars at the market.” They don’t get it, but I explain it every time anyway. It was a bit shocking. That was the reason, the price and because we need to make more than $2000 every Saturday at the market just to pay the workers and running the farm, you know. But then when I come out, no. But I was doing better and better, every year, at the Spanish market.

And then the Twin Towers crashed and then the gallery closed. They said, “You’re the only ones who keep selling but we need more than that.” And then it was really scary. Because of course money was good, life was good, we would make trips to México. I could not go anywhere else because I was start fixing my papers and everything. So I couldn’t go out of the country. But we traveled New York, here in the country. And now I can travel to México. Nice, good life and you know no money is enough. And you know I don’t make millions, I’m not that kind of artist, you know. I started for $10 to $5,000 dollars. They sold a piece in the gallery for three years. They put me up there for that price. At the top of my career I sold a painting in Texas for $9000. So that’s the big. And then with everything crash, and nobody buy, and I don’t want to go back to the farm and I say I have to keep doing art. And everybody say, “Keep doing art, you have to keep doing art.” Yeah but I have to pay the bills, I have to pay this. So I start making shows, fine art shows. There’s one in Denver, in Phoenix, in Scottsdale. There’s one in Palm Springs, there’s one in Sausalito and in Oklahoma City. I mean always there’s one. We did good in the beginning but that crashed, too. I think last year was the first year we said, “Okay, no more shows because we start losing money.” We go, we sell $1000 piece. It doesn’t pay for the trip. In May we go to New York, we have a show, a private show, they appear like magic, and it was good. Not excellent but was good.

I never even pretended to sell art in LA. I go to Beverly Hills, to the galleries. At one time I was passing through and I say, “Oh my God.” Because I was with Mexicans, living with Mexicans, because I only speak Spanish. They do it, they put you down, they don’t help you to get up. They push you down. You know I have a big fight with some of them because, in the beginning, because I don’t have a way… “Can you drive me to the library?” And he gets really upset because I spent $20 on a book. And I say, “It’s a book I’ve always wanted to read and now I have $20 to buy it, I’m gonna buy it.” He said, “I don’t get it, I don’t get it.” I said, “You don’t need to get it. You never will.” I mean, I understand very well, I try not to judge them but sometimes I get upset with some of them. But I try not to because my whole life was like that. I go to Morelia all week, and I go back to Santa Maria, the name of my little town in México, to my house with my town and nobody was educated there. Nobody knows anything. So I go and hear Shakespeare and classical music all week, and then I go back to Santa Maria and hear popular music. Vicente Fernandez, Ramon Ayala, and Yolanda del Rio y arriba México. No more than this. I live in two worlds all the time.

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Reflections

I’m 51 now, and I see myself and I say, “Hmmm.” You know how they say we create our own reality? You are responsible for who you are really. You create yourself and I really believe that. And I go back, and I’ve made regressions. I remember when I was 5, that’s the farthest back I can go because my father died when I was 3 so I closed out that. It was very shocking that I don’t remember. I don’t remember four. Maybe I was 4 when I was very very sick. I almost died. It changed my whole metabolism for good I think [laughing]. Everybody in my family is short and kind of chubby, it’s Michoacán. I’m the only one who is skinny and tall. I’m the tallest one of my brothers and sisters. I have nephews that are taller but brothers and sisters. Because my metabolism changed, I had the fever. Typhoid, I think. That’s the first memory I have. I go back to that time and I say, “Yes, I can see it in my dreams.” First I was dreaming in México, and this is not México. So there was a point when I was a teenager… my dream doesn’t fit because México is changed and this little town in changed. That means it doesn’t have to be in Santa Maria and I was refusing to leave my little town. I was crying all the time when I go to Guadalajara. And I was crying every time. Because I was my mother’s favorite. I was very attached to my mother. But excited, too.

It’s very comfortable. What they call plentitud, I think. This is me. Oh my god, I’m so lucky. Every day I feel lucky. Wow, it’s worth it. I suffer a lot in the beginning because I have no clue or nobody around to say anything. The things could be better in the beginning but I don’t have the help and I don’t have a clue and nobody wants to help me. And then my closest friend, that I grow up with him, I met him when he was 15 and he was in the actor and I was 17. But we share, because he doesn’t have parents, an absent mother. So he was very free, and he was, he’s a dancer. He’s in Chile, in Santiago de Chile teaching in the University. So he make it. He’s a success. But he was, it sounds funny to say now, envy of me. He say things that put me down all the time. “You’re not that handsome. You don’t look that good.” For every single thing. And I show my drawings and, “No, they’re not good. That’s not art.” We were in Mexico City, for example, and he was trying to get into the national dancing school and I was trying to get into the national acting school and he get in and I’m not. “No, because you’re lazy,” and put me names. How could I be lazy? I’m not lazy. How could I be lazy when I provide my family with beans and corn and wood for the fire? I was the one to bring it to home. And I have goats, I grow up with goats. I was all the time in the mountains and then I managed to do goats and school at the same time. I grew up in a place like this, that’s the mystery. As the cuenta, this is my house in Santa Maria, but that view, that direction, it is the same. The la ladera we call the hills and the other side is Morelia. And so I put my goats in this point. The school was somewhere there, so I can see because one of them was white. From the window of the classroom I told my teacher, “This is my place because my goats are there.” And sometimes I say, “Can I go out because I see the goat is getting close to the farm of this guy. It’s not good so I need to go and chase them away.” So I run from my classroom to chase the goats to put them in the right place, and then I can go back to the class. I did that 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th grade, 6th grade. I was a big kid in 6th grade. In the 1st grade I don’t like my teacher Victoria. She was mean and I don’t like the fact that she punish kids with the rubber bands so the tears come out. So I said to my mom, my mom and my Aunt. Tía Carmen was a teacher, she said, “He have to go to school, make him.” And so my mamá say, “Okay, you have to go.” So I pretend to go and I get lost in the mountain, in the bushes, and then two hours later, “I don’t go to school.” And my mom always forgive me. So I do that all 1st grade, somehow with the complicity of my mom. But we pretended I go and I don’t go.

And then 5th grade was a really mean teacher again and he hit me with the belt. It was abusive, big problems he have. I mean criminal because I remember he hit this poor kid and on the floor with the belt and kick him and the parents don’t do anything because, “The teacher knows. You did something to him.” Oh no, when you call the parents it was worse because then the father came and take out the belt, too. So instead of one you receive two. And for silly things. Because we have a little swimming spot back to the school. It was prohibited to go and take a bath in the recess time and we want to, you know. It was really hot and it was this beautiful pond. We can swim, we all do it. And he say, “No.” And he come and make a line. And he touch the hair and it was wet. [He] push us to the side. And one time it happened I said, “You don’t touch me again.”

And my mother support me. And I was in 5th grade. So I interrupt that time and go back with a new teacher, so I make 5th and 6th with a new teacher. And then secundaria, everything was a coincidence. Because I say I want to do secundaria and everybody around in my family and my Tía Carmen say, “That’s it.” Because it’s really expensive. “How you going to do with the books, uniform and everything?” But my brother is three years older than me. So I was 14, so he was 17 already. So he go to Mexico City and start working in a factory and I say, “What you think? I want to go to secundaria.” And he says, “Go. I’m going to send you money for the uniform and see what happened.” I don’t get it in the beginning, the first grade was really confusing because I don’t expect anything. I say, “What is this? What they talking about? Oh my god.” They broke all my schemas. It was something totally new and I was confused. But two months, three months, I get it. And I say, “I want to be the best here. It’s the only salvation. I see like a salvation. This is my salvation I’m going to be the best one.” And I like mathematics and I say, “How can I be the best one?” Well, everybody have problems with mathematics and chemistry. So I was the only one who understand the class in the whole three groups, we had three groups. The school was in Tarín Barrio and if I don’t have money for the bus I can walk 15 or 20 minutes walking in the country side. So yeah I start doing really, really, really good. And naturales química, when química came nobody get it but me. It take weeks and weeks and weeks to get other people to get it, and he take me to other classrooms as a sample, “See, it’s possible. Im not the one, you guys, because look at this.” And I don’t remember nothing now and I don’t care but I was good with memory. I had good memory because I didn’t really learn anything but I can grab things, anything.

But that teacher of sciences says, “You can be anything you want. You’re not only good in this but you can be anything you want.” I was a poe,t a writer. I was everything but the sports. I never do the sports. I play soccer because I have to. I don’t do good in sports and I don’t care. I regret not putting attention to music lessons. Because you know we have very good teacher, good enough, and I always get straight A’s but I always memorize the songs. I don’t learn how to read the thing but I memorize and it was a big mistake. Nobody correct it or say it’s wrong and the teacher have to deal with many students and he say it’s okay.

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Magical Realism 

The kind of art I produce is magical realism. They categorize that in a museum in Long Beach…

There’s like many, many categories and I’m in like that survival category…When I start painting, because the gallery. I always do both but with the gallery I start with the mixed media creatures, those thing, corn husks and stuff like that…I tell them, “I paint, too.” Because I see what they showing in the gallery and I’m thinking, “I can do this. It can be cool. It was one of my things to make both things, it would be wonderful to sell both things.” And they say, “See, we want to see it. What am I going to do? What can I do? Acrylics. And I was already practicing painting with acrylics and oil but I don’t get it. Oil was too difficult. Okay, I have to be honest and show what I can do. So I said I’m going to make little Madonna and child because I’m catholic and the gallery was oriented to religious Catholic stuff and they like it! And then I make small ones. 12 by 12 or 16 by 16. I like square things. Madonna and child, like this and like that and they sold every one in the opening and I said, “Wow, so that means yes.” And then I started in the Spanish market, and one day they called me to do the Christmas show. And I said, “I don’t have enough work. I go to México and I return and I have two or three pieces. But I have paintings I tell them. You allow me to go with paintings and sculpture? “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” they say, because they want to fill the market because they don’t have enough artists. So I go and, yeah it started happening. Very slow with painting. and then the real Spanish market came and I sold a big painting and I said, “Wow”. And then I really start getting serious about painting and I’m still doing it. I mean it never ends. You learn everyday something new or you understand something new.

If I don’t have a show coming soon, I get up, shower, do my exercise, have my smoothies and then I drink my smoothie and check my Facebook and stuff and go to my studio immediately after that. Grab my pencil and my sketch book and I always have an idea what to do. And if I don’t have an idea I start working in the drawing I already have. I go there and visit it. And working in there something appear in my brain. Whatever comes. A little break and then I say, “Oh, I need to work on this painting. I always [have] two or three which need to be finished. Or if I need to produce a sculpture, I say, “Oh, I need to work on the sculpture.” And when I see the clock is already 3 or 4 hours later, it’s coffee time! Then I go back to the studio. Whatever I want, “Oh, I want to listen to music, I don’t want to do anything, take a walk.” But that’s very rare. I usually always want to do something. Something fun but I try to do stuff for me. Silly things. Silly things. Spend time in silly things I think is really important. Now I understand that, but it’s something new.

Yeah, find your passion. Because that doesn’t necessarily have to be art. Be yourself. Find who you are and accept who you are and practice who you are. Think, you know. I know it’s hard. I was multimedia from the beginning, and some people only have only one or two things they like. They only make drawings. I like everything. I make drawings, I do sculptures, I do sewing. I can be a really, really, good designer, too. Because I know I have it. I like fabric. I remember to steal little pieces of fabric to make little dresses for little dolls and very hide, because it was very punishing you know, bullying. I can receive a lot of bullying in that respect. And I don’t want to confront that. I was kind of introverted, I was in the mountains with my goats. When I was there I was playing with stones, sticks, mud. It was amazing. The possibilities never ending. Not even think like that, but feel it. And then I have the facility to adapt to other talented kids. I say I was the only but there was another. He became my friend because of that, because he make drawings, too. He like to play weird games like make things with sticks or with paper. We made sculpture with paper and we had no clue. Some of the teachers make a project with the Papier-mâché glove that you cover with paper and then you create this empty space. WOW! I know what I want to do now!

Suggestions

The young people, just follow who you are. I mean only you know who you are. But not in this country, this country is easier. Because there is more empathy, I think. I was doing all this and nobody say when I grew up, “You are an artist”. Even in the high school I tell you the teachers get jealous. Abiquiú how to explain another way. Now I can say it because I’m a mature man. I know now. You know when you’re young they don’t respect you. “Because why you know? You’re only 30.” And that changed when you’re 50. People really start to say, “Oh, you know who you are.” And yeah, I was writing poems and my teachers say, “No, they not good. You’re not good.” I show my drawings to everybody, nobody says, “You’re good.” My Tía Selerina (?) she support me all the time when I grow up. She was the oldest sister of my mother and she always say, “Can you make one for me?” And my teacher, I was 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, grade, I have her for two years, she say, “You are an artist.” And Abiquiú what she say, and I say, “Okay, I’m something. Abiquiú what it is.” When I was 10, 11, 12, 13 I have to make projects for other people, for other kids.

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