Info: Abel Godinez Romero. Born and raised in Watsonville California. Artist/journalist.
How did you get into art?
From a "nature vs. nurture perspective", I can definitely say I got both my ability and influence from my mother because my dad has never been the artistic type. Both of my parents come from really humble beginnings (immigrated to California from Mexico, met working in a factory here in Watsonville), so I'm really grateful for them providing me with paper and pencil to pass the time with. I don't really remember if I enjoyed drawing so much because I was good at it, or if I was good at it because I enjoyed it. Either way, I devoted a lot of my time to it as a child. I went to a public elementary school, but I was fortunate enough to be a part of the G.A.T.E program which offered the opportunity to learn about art, music, poetry, etc., while also taking students on field trips out of Watsonville to art museums in San Francisco and technology museums in San Jose. After those nurturing years through the G.A.T.E program, I went about five or six years without making any art. My middle school didn't offer any art programs, so without an outlet, my motivation to create art died out for a while (I went about five years without making any art at all). Feeling the need to express myself, I eventually got into graffiti. I went a little overboard with it, and eventually landed in juvenile hall for my efforts. Having been put on probation and accumulating thousands of dollars worth of fines by the time I was 15, I had to get a job at Domino's Pizza and get my grades up to par at school because I was being threatened with expulsion. My senior year in high school, I was fortunate enough to be selected for an advance placement art class along with a class in video production through the R.O.P program. Without a doubt, all these influences in my past helped me appreciate everything art has to offer, and, most importantly, motivated me to keep doing it.
Why do you love art?
Because it can be a cathartic experience for people of all ages both symbolically and physiologically. I strongly feel that exposure to art will magnify the human experience because it exercises our ability to feel emotion and compassion (through the neocortex/mammalian part of our brain as opposed to the more primitive/reptilian part of our brain). Paintings with meaning, music, theatre, film; all of these artistic outlets have the ability to touch a persons soul. Stress leads to cognitive, emotional, social, and motor problems, while art has the ability to nurture the process (one article I’d recommend every artist to read is “The effect of art on the brain of the underprivileged child” by Christina Pili). It is a fact that when schools emphasize the arts in their curriculum, they witness dramatic improvements in student performance extend to every single other subject (yet the arts are always the first things to be slashed when making budget cuts). One could say this is because of miscommunication within bureaucrats, but I’ve never been one to shy away from a taboo subject some might call “conspiracy”. To understand what I’m referring to, one needs to look no further than this creepy quote by a famous Rockefeller: “In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen – of whom we have an ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.” -John D. Rockefeller, General Education Board (1906)
Who are your influences?
I love the work of Banksy, Mike Giant, Shepard Fairey, Ernesto Yerena, Salvador Dali, Chuck Close, and so many more. Others who I consider artists in their particular field are Calle 13, Immortal Technique, Bruce Lipton, David Perlmutter, and Frank Bardacke.
If you are interested in Abels artwork, you can contact him on Facebook.