For some, dreams are simply a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. We live them subconsciously but they are doomed to dissolve at daybreak or the sound of the alarm clock. We are fortunate if even a trace of them remains after they flee. If we are truly lucky, the experience endures, haunts and gnaws at us until we have no choice but to give it breath and color, allowing the reverie to become life itself Mixed media artist
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 validation to reclaim his destiny, a gamble that resulted in his work being featured at such venues as the East End Studio Gallery, Talento Bilingue de Houston, MECA, Dionisio Winery and F Bar. Today, he shares his love through the creations in his current retrospective In Dreams. When asked about the exhibition and his personal statement on the collection, Guerra offered: I paint because it allows me to be in the moment and document the joy in my life. While I paint, I feel completely connected with my subjects and allow my heart to guide me through completion. Painting for me is a spiritual experience that helps me practice patience and faith. I hope that I can inspire others to create and develop their own dreams.