We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabriel Cardenas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabriel, do you have a budget?
Yes I have a budget. For me, budgeting and keeping track of my spending habits regarding my artistic labor has been very important. This allows me to know how much a painting costs in supplies as well as how much my creative labor should be priced at. Budgeting allows me to recognize how much capital I have currently and projected capital I can make off of paintings, murals, and/or prints. In addition, When I sell a piece of art, I tend to make a log of my sales and put that money into a pot so to speak where I classify it as art money for art needs (materials, supplies, etc.) I have personally been focused on making money from my other jobs that are not art related and then using saved money there to go toward my artistic career. I can understand there are financial barriers for some and also recognize my privilege in being able to have had capital to expend on my artistic ventures and not only housing and utilities. for me it started around 2015 when I first started getting paid for making art and slowly but surely putting money away to save and use for future art endeavors. I am lucky to have been consistently working and juggle being a working artist where I am now able to consistently get work as an artist and have a constantly evolving budget that reflects that.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I create politicized works of art that speak to contemporary issues. My visual art work hopes to educate viewers on past and present social economic and political struggles faced by working class people of color. Some of my artwork also calls for revolution and mass mobilization against unjust institutions. I know not everyone thinks the same however the goal is to open up discussion and dialogue on some issues that we should all be aware of. I been fortunate to meet important individuals that promoted my work and contracted me over time. I been fortunate to be part of a community that identified with my work and that had similar sentiments and desires for a more equitable society. Professionally, nothing comes easy. There are definitely struggles and days where I work all day on concepts ideas writings etc. There are times when I don’t go outside or even talk to other people because the work requires quick turn around times. And from time to time you do get people that flat out waste your time. It’s all part of the experience. Lessons I’ve learned along the way are being yourself, trying your best, trying to find your own style that people can recognize as your work and speaking truth to what you see. Being honest about your intentions and being responsible especially when part of a community. My goal with my art work is to serve others. To represent Chicana/o and working class struggles. To fight for a more equitable society free of violence. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I shout out the communities I been a part of and the people I’ve met that gave me a chance and have contracted me for art work.
Youtube: GBRL. Cardenas
Photos by Gabriel Cardenas