We had the good fortune of connecting with Diego Juarez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Diego, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It was a difficult choice for me to decide to pursue a creative career. As a teenager, I dreamed of becoming a professional artist with commercial success, but my fear of failure made that seem like an unattainable fantasy. I lacked the self-confidence and wherewithal to imagine what my path as an artist could look like when I was picking colleges. I went through a large portion of my undergraduate education prioritizing practicality above all else to ensure my security, even when I knew it was not what I wanted. The turning point for me was when I redefined my idea of success. The professors and graduate students I worked with in college were artists that came from diverse backgrounds and were in varying stages in their career. What they had in common was their commitment to creating great artwork. That was their definition of success. Seeing artists that were intellectual, passionate, and rejected capitalism inspired me. My continued exposure to the art community gave me a clearer vision of the type of paintings I wanted to make which ultimately gave me the space to reimagine what a creative career could look like. Once I wasn’t afraid to admit that the road is not always clear and that all good things take time, I gained the confidence I needed to do what I have always wanted to do.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a painter and I primarily work in abstraction. My art is intuitive and a reflection of my inner most thoughts and feelings. I paint in abstraction because it is the visual style that most aligns with the way I view the world. I am highly influenced by abstract expressionism, minimalism, and romanticism. My poetry is a newer extension of my art practice that I have been exploring since the start of the pandemic. My writing is similar to my artwork in that it centers on my own relationship to nature and to society but focuses more on the mundane routines that become meditations for me. I love writing poetry because it gives me the freedom to create something immediately. Each poem becomes a snapshot of a moment that stays perfectly incapsulated forever. I feel like I learn something about myself with each poem I write. Lately, I have been incorporating my poetry into my drawings and monotypes and it’s a creative direction that I am excited to continue to explore. I have had numerous challenges in creating my art; namely the pandemic, disrupting the strict (unrealistic) timeline that I had set for myself. I have learned to let go and focus on the positives, which sounds corny, but it is true. I try to remember to take things one day at a time and to be grateful. This pandemic will end and things will get better and when it does, I plan to take the lessons I’ve learned in quarantine with me.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Los Angeles and there is so much to see that it’s difficult to choose! When everything is finally open again and it’s safe, I would recommend that everyone go to support local galleries and artist run spaces like Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Monte Vista Projects to support talented local artists. There is no shortage of good food in the city, but two of my favorite restaurants are Holbox and Chichen Itza located in the Mercado la Paloma. Holbox specializes in Mexican seafood and has the best fish tacos I’ve ever had; I’d highly recommend the grilled octopus tacos. Chichen Itza has a dish called Cochinita Pibil which is a marinated pork from Yucatán in Mexico and it’s amazing. I love being outside and I would take someone who has never been to LA to walk along the LA river. It’s a great place to relax or have a snack and it’s a quintessential LA experience. I recently visited Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park and it is a beautiful place that I think everyone should go see. It has something for everyone and will satisfy Instagram junkies as well as serious hikers. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have been lucky enough to get to meet a lot of incredibly talented and inspiring people that have supported me through my life. I have to give credit to my family first and foremost. They have always supported my creativity and encouraged me to pursue it. They would take me to museums and galleries, save articles for me to read about up-and-coming artists and enthusiastically attended every art show I have been a part of. I also need to thank Karin Andrino, a talented artist and illustrator who was my art teacher when I was in high school and taught me how to paint. Thank you to the professors and the graduate students that mentored me in college including Kevin Appel, Monica Majoli, Maximilian Karnig, and Andrea Welton among others. I would not be here without all of you. Thank you.

Website: https://www.diegojuarez.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/diego_c_juarez/

Image Credits
Ivette Peña

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