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As a continued celebration of Children’s Day, which was April 30th, we bring you an interview with one of our city’s young artists who at just 6 years old is already carving out a space in the local world of art.
By MoKa Hammeken
“By the artist.” That is the title I gave to a picture I took of Salomón at the Book Fair last December. In it, he’s sitting behind a table where he was displaying and selling his drawings. It seemed nice, surely due to the artistic vein that runs through the family.
During workshops and other events I often see Salomón with his camera, taking pictures just like his parents. At a creative writing workshop he gave me a drawing, which I could see was very entertaining and, as his mom says, from his “Angry Birds” phase.
Later, a video he made was posted and upon seeing it both Ariel and I realized that even at his young age Salomón was already making better videos that many of our colleagues. It’s interesting to see how everything that surrounds him permeates through; that is artistic sensibility.
Salomón is the oldest child of Nina Mier and Socorro González, and since I met him he has always been a restless, curious and attentive to his surroundings. So I was amazed to find him extremely nervous when I visited his home for our interview.
Some of Salomón’s paintings had been hung up on the wall dividing the entry way from the kitchen in the home of Nina and Socorro. A small table held various sheets of paper, with nearly all the drawings he’s done. To my right there was an easel with a framed picture.
Although you can’t necessarily tell what many of the drawings are, what is evident is his strong outline, soft and resolved strokes (or “smudging”), with a very interesting color distribution. A bit of abstract art never hurt anyone.
“I like to draw and paint, I like colors and I put them down.”
“Who taught you to draw?”
“No one,” he responds resolutely while twisting his fingers together, “I just learned, no one taught me.”
“Did you see your father drawing and want to do the same thing?” I ask upon seeing him begin to mix around his drawings.
“No. He doesn’t paint…I mean, not like I do. He does other things. My sister is the one who copies me…today I painted a picture of a bottle; it was around here so I could show you.”
“Who did all these drawings?” I ask, pointing to the ones on the wall.
“They’re mine, some from before, when I was younger…for example, this is a giraffe, this other one my dad calls “Hulk.” I don’t know what this one is; that one over there is me,” he says, pointing to the only drawing on the wall in the form of a child. “His first self-portrait,” says his mom.
“Yes, I paint every day and keep all of them. Later they don’t fit in my drawers and I give them to my mom so she can store them…” he responds though it’s notable he’s still nervous. He starts playing with his hair, while Nina looks at him entertained, “…although there are some I like more…but I keep everything because later I do them well.”
“They’re his sketches,” says Nina, “He puts all his ideas together in a single drawing and then plans a whole series of drawings.” She shows me a sheet and I recognize characters from Tim Burton’s film “9.”
“I don’t know many people who have seen that movie,” I remark, “Did you like 9?”
“Yes, Tim Burton is one of my favorite directors.” I’m blown away! It’s incredible that at just 6 years old, Salomón already has his favorite director, one who is curiously characterized for being a bit dark. “I also like Coraline.”
Film lover, just like his dad.
“It’s when I watch movies or TV I see things I want to draw.”
Nina adds, “Did you already say that you write stories?”
“No,” he responds as he scratches his arm, and Nina chuckles. She has never seen him so nervous.
Salomón pulls out a bunch of pages stapled together and hands them to me. It’s a story about a dog and his friend, the fleas, but he says they’re not stories because they’re not written. They’re just drawings and he doesn’t remember what the story was about. Nevertheless, he more or less tells me about the drawings and then sets to looking for the picture of the bottle he had done.
“He asks me to make the covers, that’s why these pages are here. Plus, many of them are on recycled paper, because he spends his time painting,” Nina explains.
“Do you get scolded at school for always drawing?”
“A little, but I don’t draw much there, I draw more here.”
“He’s been talked to twice at school for drawing instead of paying attention, but that’s not a lot,” confirms Nina.
“What happens is I begin to draw on the page with pencil and then things come to mind and I see a drawing I like and want to do…like this,” he takes off in order to bring back a magazine, “These…” he shows me a page, “like these.”
“I also get a lot of ideas from here,” he takes off again and returns with the e-tablet that Santa Claus brought last year. “I also take pictures and video with this, when my mom lends it to me.” Nina smiles, mischievously. Indeed, recently I’ve seen her touting the tablet around.
“You also used to take pictures, didn’t you?”
“Yes, with a grey camera but I don’t know where it is now.
I see that poor Salomón can’t contain his nervousness any longer, using a mosquito bite as the perfect excuse to release his tension. If we had continued with our talk, he probably would’ve had an attack. This was his first interview and apparently the mere weight of his words was sufficient. We wrapped up just in time as Chef Socorro had prepared dinner and everything was about ready.
Now that the interview was done, the young artist took his tablet and began taking photographs, documenting how his pictures had been hung, as well as a few photos of himself.
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