Ernesto Guerra was born in Chicago, Illinois. Born the 11th of 12 children, Guerra’s innate artistic gifts surfaced through necessity. When the family could not afford ornaments one Christmas, young Ernesto transformed some leftover McDonald’s containers into his first object d’art for the tree. While it seemed he was on his way, his burgeoning creativity was later stunted at age 9 by a figure who should have been a source of encouragement—his 4th grade teacher. She spurned Guerra’s submission to a school art contest and cast a spell that would hold his destiny captive for more than 20 years with the utterance of a single phrase: You are not talented.
The caged bird did not find his song again until after he moved to New York City in 2000. He would work there for years as a manager in the demanding hospitality industry. Stressed and stricken with tinnitus, Guerra realized he was stuck in a job he no longer enjoyed and felt his life had begun to speak to him. It did not seem right to feel empty in one of the busiest cities on earth. After one hard day at work, Guerra came home to find an unused paint kit that belonged to his roommate. He picked up the brush and never put it down again. The spell had been broken. With no physical witch or monster to slay, Guerra abandoned New York City for Houston, TX, where he rejected any submission to the subjectivity of art instructors in favor of taking ownership of his own artistic development. He honed his craft through trial and error.
The self-led experience gave him the necessary