We had the good fortune of connecting with Ricardo Cisneros and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ricardo, why did you pursue a creative career?
When I was young, I remember wanting to be a professional baseball player. I had more passion than talent when it came down to it. As I grew older, I faced the reality of being poor and not being able to afford playing the sport. Poverty became an ever-growing deterrent in my life. One activity that did not require any money was going to the city library. My mother would let me and my siblings roam through the aisles for hours. I remember being fixated on book cover illustrations. During this time in my life, I started to develop my artistic tendencies as a coping mechanism to escape the reality of being poor. Comic books and sci-fi novel covers became my art teachers. On the weekends, I would stay up listening to KROQ and KNAC on the radio while I worked to recreate the illustrations I collected. Unlike sports, art came naturally and with ease. Not pursuing a creative career would go against the very force that was driving me forward.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My graduate thesis speaks about the influence of “Society of the Spectacle” by Guy Dubord. In his manifesto, he laid out a set of conditions for disrupting the corporate influence in society. My work aims to take my personal struggle as a minority living in poverty and create visual situations that disrupt social programming. In my work, I incorporate pop culture references that invoke a sense of nostalgia. These become props in a fictional representation of a cultural issue that I believe needs to be highlighted. After years of employment and medical struggles in my family, in 2019 I was able to graduate with my MFA. I have always believed there is opportunity in the struggle. For most of us, giving up becomes a sense of relief. It is easy to fail. When you face as much oppression as I have, you either hit the floor and stay down or you get angry and motivated. We have all learned to judge emotions on a spectrum of good and bad. In general, I think we consider anger to be on the negative end of the scale. It has been the opposite for me. Anger has been the best propellant in my creative endeavors. When you live at a level of considerable instability and discomfort, you learn to read the subtleties of opportunity. The catalyst of my inspiration is to develop a visual language that is constantly developing to become better than it was yesterday.
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 have lived in California all of my life. For anyone visiting the area for a week, I’d start our adventure in San Diego and visit Little Italy and old town. Moving up, we would visit downtown L.A. and check out The Hive gallery and some local micro-breweries. On our journey north, we would stop by fisherman’s wharf in Monterey before stopping by Chinatown in San Francisco. This would all culminate with tons of hiking in Humboldt County. There we would eat some garlic fries and pizza at Arcata Pizza & Deli. Our final stop would be a hike through Fern Canyon.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my fellow artist Sergio Hernandez. A couple years ago, I was in a low and confused point in my life. Recovering from a near fatal case of pneumonia, I wanted to go back to school and work on getting my MFA. Sergio connected me to a friend of his that was able to coach me through the application process. I hope that he knows just how grateful I am for his friendship and guidance and I wish him the best of the best of health right now.