Eduardo: I was born in Brownsville , Texas . What I remember most about my childhood?, well there are a lot of things. But., In relation to art, I remember that I used to draw all the time. I would buy books and coloring books that they would sell in school, then I would draw the images from those books. The Flinestones, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, other Looney Toon and generic cartoon characters were just some of the characters I used to draw. I can remember back when I was in 5th grade..They woud take me out of class so that I would create posters that promoted reading. Thats as far back as I can consciously remember. I would also go to the Brownsville Herald because sometimes they would throw away large sheets of paper that they used to print the newspaper on. They would also throw away large white posterboards…..This is what I used to draw on. I remember I used to do the drawings and my mom would hang them around the house. At around this time my mom registered me to take art classes at Bellas Artes in Matamoros ..that’s where I decided that art was what I wanted to do, I was around 9 years old. I used to admire the work of the other students. I was doing abstract paintings at the time. I also remember that my teacher didn’t like my work too much…to tell you the truth I didn’t care much about that because I knew what I wanted to do. I remember that my mom would take me about three days out of the week we would walk from Tyler Street, we used to live in front of the Boys Club, all the way to Matamoros, take a pesera to Bellas Artes and she would wait for about 2-3 hours or as long as the class was then we would go home. She really pushed me to do art even though she knew nothing about it.. all she knew was that I liked doing art.
TAOB:Describe your art ?
Eduardo: In one word I describe it as Egotism… It all started in 1991. I decided that all my work would revolve around my name and my image. In 1990 at The Kansas City Art Institute they had a foundation department in which you chose different classes, they experimented with different ideas and views of art…I remember one of the toughest teachers I had was a lady named Yoshiko Sato ..she was a tough cookie. We took several classes with several teachers. I liked the diversity of the assignments but I felt they were just that.. assignments. It wasn’t until 1991 that I really started going with my own ideas about what my art would be .I remember I was taking an art history class at the Kansas City Art Institute..For the tests, I had trouble remembering all the artists names. I said to myself man If only the art had their names in big type, I would remember all the artists and their work….So I guess all that I do now is based on that one thought it has evolved into the idea of my ego, everything revolving around my name, my image, or my websites..or links to my website painted onto the painting surface using the largest size type I can use. I call it Egotism. Now when it comes to actual visual subject matter it is varied that’s why I use and keep my name or my website name constant so that they (everyone) will be able to recognize it as my own.. I want people to look at my work and automatically recognize it as being my own no matter what I paint
I try to do things that I haven’t seen before. For example one of my favorite series of works has been my internet series which I started back in 1993 where I painted websites, programs, webpage shots based on different programs. It all culminated in a show I had at UTB I believe in 1998…I wanted the show just to be about internet paintings but I sold several of them before the show and did not have enough paintings so I created paintings based on a series of paintings just using my name. I never stop doing the different series of works I do. As a matter of fact, I am working on digital capture images taken directly from the internet…I guess they are webpage photography I’m also working on a couple of internet paintings right now 16 years after painting the first one.
Another favorite series of mine was a series of record covers that I painted in 1991, I would collage my face or person onto the record cover. Some of them just involved changing the name of the singer or band to my own name
Another series that I did that I like very much was a series of political signs. I remember after exhibiting them people believed that I was an actual politician .One time people even stopped me in Walmart to shake my hand and tell me they were voting for me. I would always remind them to vote. I like this series so much I’m going to do more.
There are many other series of works that I like, I did a series of tombstones where I carved in my name the year that I was born and the year Im going to die which is 100 years..I guess you might call that positive thinking. Hopefully one of these days I will have a show with all this artwork I also like a series of paintings I did of myself and friends in precarious situations or odd combination of receptacles for example I painted my friend Olga and Laura were painted inside the mouths of sharks. The sharks are eating them and they have the biggest smiles you have ever seen or will see. I also painted myself, my former art teacher Sue Tarrant in trashcans, I painted my friend angelica in a trashcan she didn’t like it too much and painted over it…I thought it was the strongest painting until she completely painted over it. I’m also working on new paintings for a show in the near future. You can check out some of my work at www.eduardo-ibarra.blogspot.com/
TAOB: Why do you think art is important and how do you feel your art contributes to that purpose ?
Eduardo: I think art is important to the people who think art is important. I don’t know if my work contributes to that idea, but a lot of people don’t like me or my work. I am confident and smart enough to know that’s not such a bad thing ….there is a thin line between love and hate or love and envy.
TAOB:When was your first exhibit in Brownsville and in your opinion how has the local art scene change to the present day ?
Eduardo: My first serious show here in Brownsville was a one man show in 1998 at UTB. I have exhibited in the yearly teacher’s exhibit since 1995 first at the Art League Museum now at The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. The local art scene has changed in that there are more artists making work and more venues to display your art.
TAOB: As an artist where do you think success comes from ?
Eduardo: Success is relative but I believe if you are true to yourself, you don’t copy other artists, you find your own vision and you believe in yourself and your work ….that is success in my eyes.
TAOB: What is one of the struggles you think an artist faces on a daily basis ?
Eduardo: The major struggle is actually making Art….let me rephrase….. making good and significant art without copying.
TAOB: What is your favorite type of music and what type of character would you say describes you ?
Eduardo: My favorite type of music has changed over the years..but one artist has been constant, that has been Rigo Tovar..I like the rhythm, melody and the persona or character he created. Looking back One of his record covers had a major influence on my work and that record was Rigo Tovar 81 it portrayed Rigo in a space suit and the title was above his head or below that said Rigo Tovar 81. I found it funny and intriguing at the same time. I imagined myself in the space suit and my name on the record. I believe that record was what started it all check it out sometime.
TAOB: As an artist what can you say you are afraid of ?
Eduardo: Sometimes I’m afraid of death…as an artist I don’t think I’m afraid of anything.
TAOB:Tell us your view on any particular political issue local, state or federal, that is of importance to you?
Eduardo: Even though I’ve painted my own political signs/ paintings..I’m not too much into politics.
TAOB:Do you believe in a community of artist to be beneficial, why or why not ?
Eduardo: I believe a community of artists to be beneficial because there would be more art being created.
TAOB:Besides family and art what else is important to you ?
Eduardo: Being Healthy….. I also believe you need to have goals, a personal vision and people you admire. I admire people I met and went to school with. I admire Chris Ketchie, Archie Scott Gobber, Jim E. Lane , Marc Mancuso, Ken Bini, Peter Caine and my former high school art teacher Sue Tarrant. You didn’t ask but well known artists that I admire are Francis Bacon, Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso.
I want to thank you Gabriel for asking me to do this.. sorry for taking so long.
Eduardo, many thanks of your time and reponses on this TAOB Blog Artist Interview....