(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
Escobar’s art features many mediums and personal details…
As First Thursday gears up for Chataqua weekend, it will have a very personal message from featured artist Angenette Escobar and her show “Casa Escobar.” The Portland-area artist has already shown at the Chewelah event before – in 2016 – and this time around she’ll be able to enjoy the town’s four-day festival.
“It is work that is highly personal work about my culture and upbringing and where I grew up in South Texas,” Escobar said.
A mixed-media artist, she will have 25 pieces that range from small carvings, drawings into wood, large paintings and much more. A sculpter by trade, Escobar found that the smaller pieces she did, the more intimate they became.
As a Mexican-American who doesn’t consider herself completely one or the other, she said she wanted to make a show about how angry she was about the current immigration controversy. It changed, however, to be more of a reflection on the culture she grew up in.
“The meaning changed to be about my family and how much I love my culture,” she said. “It’s deeply involved in where I’m from and it’s very personal to me.”
For example she had a painting called The Dreamer about the DACA controversy and it changed to a youth dreaming about Mexican-Americaness, and is a reflection of love and not anger and disappointment.
“I’m a teacher and I deeply care for children,” Escobar said. “It’s those musings and a deep concentration of love.”
She said she always just has her students experiment first and then she begins teaching, not the other way around. While she went to art school and got her BFA, she’s always seeing what she can do between mediums and getting different messages across.
“That is why art is so magical for me,” she said. “You can use so many different vehicles in it.”
From paintings that show family members, sculptures, plaster, wooden carvings by Dremel and clay houses – Escobar has a wide range of visual arts for people to experience for First Thursday, all with their own meanings.
For example, a painting of her and her sister had many layers, including her sisters sad eyes to bring across a multi-layered message. In some pieces, she added little charms and votives to the Virgin Mary and more, interesting details for people to enjoy.
There is a painting of three women’s attire from three different times of Escobar’s life when she was 40, 30 and 20.
“I don’t paint because I love to paint, I paint because I feel I have something to day,” she said.
It’s also how she explores ideas and topics. She says she’s not a poet, not a musician and not a writer so this is how she expresses herself.
Escobar has been working on her show for the about a year with some pieces taking her weeks.
“One of the most time consuming things were sculpted hands and those took a while,” she said.
Some pieces took a week or two and a half weeks depending on size and detail. One challenging thing is Escobar is not a full-time artist.
“I have to make time,” she said. “I’m a teacher at high school and that is time consuming and challenging, so I try to squeeze it in and steal off to my studio when I can.”
She has been in Portland for the past 22 years after growing up in Texas. While it makes her homesick not to be close to family it does give her a change to explore her feelings about those roots.
Good friends of Tim and Nandis Nielson, she was invited back after showing in 2016 and looks forward to spending a week in Chewelah.
“He told me more and more people are poking their heads into these shows,” she said. “We had a nice turnout when it was new so it will be nice to see even more people. That’s a super positive thing to have such a strong artist presence in your community.”
While Chewelah is a tiny place in Eastern Washington, Escobar said she finds it liberating. While Portland has traffic and many, many people, Chewelah is an escape from that craziness and allows her to relax and enjoy the moment.
“Along with the previous show, I was also in Chewelah in 2004 and it has really changed and gotten really energetic,” she said.
Escobar will add to that energy. She will be lecturing at Quartzite Brewery on Wednesday and showing on Thursday.