Interview with a Sparrow


How did you artist career begin?

I’ve been around my whole life actually. My mom is an artist and has taught art forever. I was always exposed to dance, writing, music and art from many cultures. I wanted to be an actress when I was younger at first. My dream was to be in a movie someday. I took drama classes outside of school and was in a few elementary plays. It wasn’t really until middle school when I was in an art class at school that I realized that I was actually good at drawing and painting. My dreams changed and I knew I wanted to pursue art as my career. I had an opportunity in high school to go on an exchange program to Napa, California to The Oxbow School for a semester. That experience changed my whole life. I became a new person out there. I went from hoping I could be an artist, to knowing I am an artist. Since then, It’s been how I define myself. That is also when I inherited my name, Sparrow. I became free.

Give me 3 words that describe your art as folks witness it today?

(I asked my friends and mom) Bizarre, Unusual, Vibrant, Ravishing, Entrapment, Beautiful, Phantasmagoric, or as my friend Presley said “oooowhuuutthatsdope”. I think it’s more just “Sparrow”. It’s me.

How has your art evolved?

Most of my early art was done in pastels, charcoal, and some colored pencil. I love the effects you can create by blending with those mediums. They’re so buttery and your art just transforms so smoothly right in front of your eyes. I also started with a more “sketchy” approach. A lot of movement. I started experimenting with graffiti a little after that and more mixed media. I learned that you don’t have to just use one medium. I experimented with collage, paint, layering, erasing, spray paint, and textiles. Soon I started to develop a style of writing my graffiti and it has become my signature. I love to make my art really bold but also incorporate my ability to paint more realistic. I also love to make the viewers imagination run wild and let them make the story in their head. I like when I can create something that I like and can picture on a wall, or a postcard. When people ask me what my medium is, I usually say I prefer to start with acrylic as my base and build off of that. Now I use mostly acrylic, paint markers, and sharpie. I also have a thing for making my own stencils.

Where do you think your art will take you?

I’m very optimistic and believe in myself as an artist. I know a lot of people criticize people like me because I believe more in art and being creative then being bored and conforming to what everyone else wants. I hope to develop an audience someday that follows my work and can recognize a piece by myself and say, “Oh hey, look! It’s a Sparrow piece.” I want to become a part of the art world and travel too. I love that my art career is really starting in the place where my heart and soul is, Albuquerque, but I want to expand eventually. I love to represent that I come from such a beautiful culture and like to put that in my art, so to be able to take that other places would be amazing. I also think that I can eventually take after my mom and have a teaching business where I can get the youth of today and show the world how creative they are! I want to be able to take what I know and show people that art isn’t just a past time, it’s a way of life.

Who is an inspiration for your work?

I get inspiration from so many artists. I own so many art books! I’m a huge Dali fan. HUGE. I love early Frida Kahlo pieces. Her journal is one of my main inspirations. I look at that book at least once a week. I even handmade a book and made a journal because I was so inspired. I also love early Picasso (1900-1907). His style of portraiture was so bold and not perfect. I love Gauguin around this period too. His color selection is so primary and gorgeous. I think imperfection is beautiful. I also love Miss Van for her bold graffiti characters and willingness to be weird. Of course, I love Banksy just because no one knows who he is, but everyone knows who he is, if that makes sense. My mom also is a big inspiration. She has the drive to do art and has made it her life so I know I can accomplish that too. She is proof that you don’t need a fancy degree and tons of money to be happy. She has taught me that as long as you’re happy and do what you love, your life will prosper. I also draw a lot of inspiration from literature. I think I’ve read Allen Ginsberg’s ‘HOWL’ a hundred times and cry every time I read ‘sunflower sutra’ because it is one of the truest things I’ve ever read.

What is the goal when you set out to create?

You know, most of the time, I just start. I like to just create. A lot of the time, I won’t even have an idea at all, and I just begin. I like to listen to music and let my emotion bleed out into my art. I do however get a lot of inspiration when I’m least expecting it and remember it for later. I’ll be in the car, or reading a book and a light will go on and I’ll be like “Oh my god, wouldn’t it be cool if I painted a….” and that’s when the inspiration is the best. When you’re not even trying. But in the end, my goal is to make the viewer happy. I want my art to make people oooh and awe and hopefully want to buy it to see all the time.

If you could give young artists a piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t let people tell you that art isn’t a career. Yes it is. I know a young girl that wants to be an artist and is amazing at what she does, but her mom is so against it and doesn’t let her. It’s a waste of talent and it makes me so sad. If it’s what makes you happy, go for it! You can only improve and go up that ladder when you’re an artist. I mean, I don’t want to be the bad influence, but in my experience, a little rebellion doesn’t hurt. I was raised to live in the present. What you’ve done is done, and you are only moving forward. Art is something that will never die, so why stop now?

What is next for you in your career?

Well, I’m really hoping to expand my inventory of pieces. My next project is another 4ft piece I decided. I took off school to focus on my art so I’m at the point where I need to get serious. I’m planning on starting a small online shop where I can sell some of my paintings and smaller pieces. I’ve been working on a line of cards for a couple months now and people are really interested in buying them! It’s exciting to hear that people enjoy my art. I’m really working on making my name known in the community right now too. Collaborations with other artists is something I’m planning on doing next as well. Maybe try for a mural when it gets warmer? I’m at a point right now where I’m actually confident that I have nowhere else to go but up! My life goal is to eventually be well known in the art world. I want to start traveling and getting my name out there. So be ready, because Sparrow is about to do big things in the world!