I had oil colors and gouache in my hands before I was able to talk; I colored photographs as a child and I must have developed my first photo when I was five. Our house and studio, at the corner of Amsterdam and Sonora Streets, was in the middle of the art life of Mexico City. The Roma/Condesa/Hipodromo neighborhood was populated with artists from many countries. A major influx of artists and intellectuals from Spain, France, Israel, Russia, Lebanon, Poland, Germany and other countries were brought to this Colonia to live and share; together with the Mexican artists to form one of the most vibrant, colorful and artistic areas of Mexico. Here I grew up.
Kinder Garden was the first art school I attended. The focus was on developing inquisitiveness and creativity, along with getting used to the ritual of long days in school. I did not mind school one bit. They will give us “engrudo” (wheat paste) and newspaper and we made papier mache sculptures; there and then I knew I loved to create things with my hands… I was good at it and the teachers encouraged me. In elementary school, my father and I spend countless hours making dioramas that had been a simple request from a teacher to make drawing, I had to create three dimensional objects. Having learned to read so early in my life gave me a love for books that has been with me all my life: I read everything that fell into my hands; I discovered French and Russian authors at an early age and their writings filled with philosophical and sexual innuendo were an incredible adventure
Poetry came to me in second grade although all the text books in Mexico contained lots of poems; it was not until then that I became fully aware of words as tools. There was a competition/assignment to write a poem form mother’s day and not having enough words in my vocabulary I went to the library in Parque Mexico and sat there with a whole pile of poem books and read and read for days. Rhyme was difficult so I took all the rhymed ending word from a poem and wrote the whole poem around those words; needless to say, I won. I had a strong deep voice and after reading my poem in public assembly I became the school poet… I wrote poems for the school for Mother’s day, the Flag’s day’ the Fathers’ day and all other occasions. I also wrote poems for hire for my friend’s girlfriends, which was easy since I was in love with some of them; this I sold for three pesos each; of course, when the girls found out who had written the poems were both upset and intrigued by me
I was part of the school’s swimming team. I joined in second grade just about the time that I started to develop an interest in the East and began my search for art books, philosophy and yoga. In third grade my teacher was heavily involved in yoga and mountain climbing, she lend me some books about Tibet and that was my first encounter with the art of the orient. Latter I will become heavily involved in Martial Arts; my teacher was a real master and emphasized the spiritual and the art form. Being in the swimming team and the “official poet” of the school allowed me to develop a popularity and confidence that was weak at the same time; but, busy with books, the orient, sports and helping in the studio did not allowed me much chance to socialize; the teachers began to call me “lobo estepario.” (steppenwolf).
Latter in High school, already with a complex vocabulary and an impressive literary education, from all my reading, I became a favorite e of the literature teachers; my poems became more precise, better formed and I did not have to copy others rhyme now.
By high school I was an accomplished martial artist and yoga instructor but also I was already doing finished work at the photo studio coloring and working in the darkroom. At school I had the most amazing teachers. There was new generation of professors with wonderful credentials, my literature teacher was well known published author; the French teacher was an Indian from Yucatan whose parents gave him an education at La Sorbone, in France, he was an amazing poet and teacher and his wardrobe is, up to now, one of the most original I have ever seen: he wore lime green shirts with yellow and purple pants socks with a big red necktie ( “a poet’s necktie”, he used to say) He was a romantic and although he was tiny and not the most handsome of men, the female teachers loved to hang with him and to hear him sing and recite his poems. This inspired me and began looking into performance and theater .
VICTORIA GARCIA was the most influential of all of my teachers. Up to the point where I met her I had been exposed to art because of living in an art photo studio and being in Mexico City; but, when I met her she opened my eyes to Art as a tool for expression, pure, open minded, passionate. I found out that Art was my destiny, Vicky invited me to her studio and the studio of other famous artist and she gave me the greatest lesson: “Stop talking about it…Go..Do it!!” We did prints, drawings, serigraphs, linocuts, and she also took us into the workshops of San Carlos, where she was well respected. My work takes off here: I am writing desperately, I want to do everything and performance of poetry becomes second nature.
College was not easy, my family was hungry. My father had a nervous breakdown when his photo coloring business became obsolete with the advent of color photography; suddenly no one wanted “hand colored” photographs. Three instamatic studios opened in the same street where the studio was; business was down, income became scarce and the department of revenue sent an inspector that sat at the studio for weeks recording all the traffic; he was there before the studio opened and left only after dark around 9:00 pm. Heavy fines, lack of income; lack of sleep for years and drink finally brought Goyito down. With this My dreams of becoming a dancer at the Modern Dance Company where I had passed the admission were finished, my Brother Eduardo and I had a family to feed. Radosh, (a famous photographer whose studio is still in business on Avenida Cuahutemoc) helped us by keep giving us some coloring work. This was a time for survival from day to day. Art became a way of earning a living again. Eduardo being a Young Maestro was much better than I was and we split the work I will go get the photographs and deliver them to the studios when he was done; this allowed me to do a little home work, read a lot on the buses and to think.
My father, was taken by a cousin to Chicago to help him get better…and he did. I came to Illinois with my brother Luis in 1974 and a week later I we did our first photo assignment at a wedding. A month later there was a festival of Latino culture and they had some basic folkloric dances but there was no one that could speak in public, I had offered to read a few poems and bought Myself a huge red necktie. Between a Gloria Arenas, librarian, and I we got the festival along and a few weeks later began to rehearse a play. we were working twelve to sixteen hours a day in a factory and in our free time we went to English class. The local Church in Elgin was the center of life for Mexican immigrants, there I created many performances and the future of the Latino Experimental Theatre Company was started when a few years later I formed with Eiko Murayama the Grupo de Teatro experimental de Elgin.
My life in art reflects all of my work. Art has been my friend and companion and has given me the gift of all the people and artists that have enriched my life. Art has been and Is an amazing adventure.