Through the Jose Cuervo Tradicional Mural Program, Jose Cuervo and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) aim to create a dialogue between our past and future: using the rich cultural traditions of Mexico’s history to encourage Latinos to look toward tomorrow.
Murals – much like un buen tequila – are an authentic part of Mexico’s history and culture.
Artists over the age of 21 were invited to submit original mural paintings inspired by their hopes and dreams for the Latino community, as well as the Jose Cuervo Tradicional bottle.
These are those artists.
To find out more, check out Los Amigos de Jose on Facebook.
We [Patricia Cazorla and Nancy Espinoza-Salema] are two visual artists from Venezuela living and working in NY for many, many, many years – that’s lots of years!
How did you become involved in the Jose Cuervo Tradicional Mural Project?
We applied to the competition two days before the deadline. As usual, we always wait ‘till the last minute.
What’s your first memory of creating art?
For Nancy, it goes as far back as being in her mommy’s womb – don’t ask me how she managed that. For me, it is an illustration that I made about the book The Old Man and the Sea. It was for my fifth grade class blackboard and, actually, it came out very bad. I didn’t get any award.
How did you wind up in Brooklyn, running an art gallery?
Well… I ended up in Williamsburg because my fancy girlfriend at the time wanted to be a Brooklyn artist, so she moved from SoHo to the ‘Burg and I came along. Then, that relationship ended and I joined this amazing group of Japanese musicians that founded an underground concert space called Studio b.p.m. Nancy and I founded Galeria Galou as a visual arts component to the scene.
You’ve said your work explores women and womanhood. What have you discovered? Is there anything you’re dying to still capture?
I wouldn’t say “discovering,” I would say “unveiling” – [I’ve unveiled] feelings, mystery, quietness, sensuality, wittiness, joy and beauty. Ufff, I would like to capture everything – especially the secrets that hide in a woman’s expression…infinite secrets…
How does Brooklyn influence your work?
Tremendously. The energy, the people, the sky, the smells of the four seasons, the view of Manhattan. Since we’ve lived here since 1999, we’ve been very lucky to enjoy all the real art movements that were born in Williamsburg and all that amazing creativity that now lives in Bushwick…or Berlin.
Does your experience with the gallery influence your work? Does your work influence how you run the gallery?
Nancy doesn’t let anything influence her (laughs) but she does influence many things. At our gallery she was the main curator and exhibition designer; she is a real perfectionist and that really showed in the exhibitions we held. Everybody – artists and visitors – was often impressed by the quality of the art and the way it was presented.
For me, it did help to know the business side of the arts; I was often visiting contemporary art auctions, art fairs, galleries and dealers. But knowing a lot is not always good because you become too aware of what you are doing and then feel insecure. In any case, being an artist/gallerist comes in handy; you understand many things quickly and you can hang the work well.
What is it about painting on walls?
It is fantastic! It gives you freedom and a sensation of permanence. Most importantly, art becomes public and part of the community. Public art involves people in different ways – they don’t need to go to a gallery or a museum to enjoy art; art becomes part of their lives.
What is your favorite medium? How does your experience with that medium affect your approach to murals?
For Nancy it’s everything that shines, from sparkle markers and bright acrylics to ink colors. For me it’s charcoal. It reminds me of the human skin, biblically speaking: For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.
What do you bring to the Mural Project that none of the other artists do?
I think we are all very different. All ten finalists have something original to give. We’re bringing a 3D mural, thanks to Nancy – she is really a sculptor living as a painter.