Childhood memories carry through to adulthood; some help us grow while others leave scars. At four years old, I preferred painting to eating. My nanny could not comprehend my passion and attempted to beat me into submission, breaking my little lip. Resentment built up inside of me and I became secretive about my art. Rather than show it to anyone I would stare at it for five minutes and then throw it away.
At age eight, I spent a few weeks with my cousin while she volunteered to help locals in Quito. There I met the man who taught me so much, Oswaldo Guayasamin. Like many artists before me, I imitated everything he did. My father would comment “It’s good, but it’s not an original.” My ten year old brain heard chastisement rather than praise. Following Guayasamin’s death, I stepped away from painting, and turned my attention to basketball.
Alas, my love affair with basketball tragically ended. During my seven years in the game—five of them as a professional—I tallied 69 points in my best game. Despite my mother telling me not to, I took a side job playing for a lower level team in a nearby city. It felt like she was trying to stop me from living my dream and ruining my contract to play in Brazil. In anger, I left, and that night I played my final game. After injuring my knee, my father took me to a doctor. Medical care in South America falls short of that in the Untied States, and as such “DOCTORS” there will do just about anything for money. This “doctor” told my father that I needed surgery. After an improperly administered epidural, he removed my meniscus. However, the issue was really in my ligaments. Even today my ability to perform basic actions like run or move certain ways remains diminished.
Depression consumed me. In order to bring purpose back into my life, one of my father’s last acts was sending me to America. “All I want for you is to learn English and find a good job,” he said. When he saw me off, I knew that we would never see each other again. His final words to me on November 28, 2004 were that he was proud.
In 2006, I revisited my initial passion, painting, but I didn’t know what to paint. Instead, I painted what people asked for; some Guayasamin pieces. Yet, when I fell in love in 2010, new emotions awakened inside me. I began to let my emotions—a side that I never show because it was so intimate—transcend into my art.
Here we are in 2015: I paint with love I paint with sadness I paint with joy and some times with darkness. Each painting has a piece of soul; a memory forgotten in my mind that some how crawls into my canvas to remind me of who I was and what should I become.