So yours really is a rags to riches story Pablo, can you tell us a little bit about where you came from, and your climb to the top?
I came from a multicultural home in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Houston. My mother had been a share cropper on a South Texas farm with no running water or electricity. When she was 12 her mother died and she had to raise 6 sibling under those circumstances. She eventually went to Houston and became a maid/nanny for a rich doctor. She observed their lifestyle, their values and their interests. She saw that the rich collected things. So she learned about buying and selling collectibles. My father’s family had been run out of several countries due to religious and political oppression. He had to quit school in the 5th grade, but self-educated himself. He could speak 5 languages and was very smart mechanically. He worked for the railroad and became a union organizer. —- My parents taught me the value of hard work, education and discipline. They also taught me how to buy, sell and trade to get ahead.
I was a sickly sissy who loved art and was the target of bullies growing up. I spent a lot of time at the library and the art museum to escape the bullies and to dream of a better life. I eventually got involved in martial arts and went from being a whimp to very tough. I studied and taught martial arts for years. I also got interested in dance to improve my martial arts. This led to my being a founding teacher at the Houston Contemporary Dance Theater and to my focus on dance in my art. I was lucky enough to have gotten scholarships to help pay for my college and eventually got advanced degrees. I have worked many, many types of jobs along the road to my success as an artist. In every job, I learned technologies, skills and observed people–all of which helped me to be a better artist.
You are a man of many talents, you do a lot of different types of art, but do you have a favorite type, and what type has been the most profitable for you?
Of course I love doing drawings and sculptures of dancers. However, every thing I do releated to art I find interesting and challenging. I do environmentally friendly landscape designs and interior design based on the principles of balance, harmony and simplicity of Japanese art.
Can you tell us a bit about your art? What do you find inspires you to
create your pieces?
Of course my main inspiration is my wife Beverly. She was a model and then an executive in sales and marketing for DVF, Revlon and Ralph Lauren. We have been married almost 40 years and she runs our international art and design business. Her mother had been a designer in Miami in the 50s and had her involved in the arts as a child. Beverly has done dance and has done yoga everyday since her teens. She still is my main model and my muse. Of course over the years as an artist and designer I have done illustrations, logos, designed furniture, a chapel, etc. — I really am obsessed with beauty and the wonder of the union of form and function.
Most artists that have been successful know business and how to market themselves, what ways have you marketed yourself that have proven successful?
The greatest marketing tool for me has been my name. And that was a gift. For years I went by my given name which no one remembered or associated with art. Then a dear friend of my wife suggested that I go by my nickname “Pablo”. I grew up in a Hispanic neighborhood and even had a bit part in a Mexican soap opera when younger. Marilyn and Beverly had worked together for a French designer. Marilyn was a well known photographer–odds are that you have seen her photos of the French countryside and villages. At any rate, Beverly and Marilyn convinced me to go by Pablo. And the rest is as they say “history”. People remembered my name and associate it with art. In art, name recognition is everything. I have been in 24 books, most of the major magazines and newspapers, TV, radio and was even subject of a short film that ran on HBO.
Have you found the business end of art difficult? And what kind of advice can you give to our aspiring artists?
To make a living as an artist is very difficult. There are literally millions of good artists. However, too many artists do not get the fact that art is a business. While some artists with connections or government subsidies can get a check while in a socialist bubble, the really successful artists understand the beauty of capitalism. My advice is to understand the great system we have in the US based on individual freedom and responsibilty. Learn to stand on your own two feet and to be a wise and hard working business person as well as a visionary artist. I get up each day at 3am. I love what I do. I thank God each day for my blessings and for those to come. I would also advise to avoid wasting your time with losers and in non productive activities. Too many artist spend more time discussing art and politics than in doing art.
How important is it to find an agent, or a media/press consultant to help you grow your brand?
I am blessed in that my wife worked in sales and marketing for some of the world’s top designers. So she has been my agent and done a fabulous job.
If you could give young artists some advice on making it in this business, especially getting started, what would be a few things you would recommend?
Learn all that you can about everything. Do not waste your time on “saving the world”. Be willing to work, not just dream. The difference between success and fantasy is work. Make your life successful and then share your blessings with others. As a famous environmentalist I am always amused with all the people who want to save the whales yet cannot manage to save a drop of water or a kilowatt of electricity in their own lives. I believe that our first responsibility is to fulfill our own destinies and to use our God given talents to our fullest. The best thing you can do is to be a good example. Be a good person, be a good artist and use your success to make things better.
Do you have any parting advice for young artists that dream to be as
big a success as you have been?
The odds are that most of the young/aspiring artists reading this are more creative and talented than I. What will make you successful is hard work and understanding people and understanding business. Try to meet people who can do you some good and to avoid people who drain you. Put your faith in God and try to find your destiny. My destiny was art. I tried to run from art, hide from art, hack paths away from art–but art was God’s gift to me and was the road that I was to follow. There is no greater joy in life than to make a living doing what you love.