Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Suico.
It’s a warm midsummer’s night and I’m on a quiet road in a remote village in central Spain. I’ve just shared an amazing traditional meal with the most welcoming local family I’ve ever met. Perched atop his father’s shoulders is Carlos’s 5-year-old son and beside them walks his 10-year-old daughter, hand in hand with his wife Esme. We’re laughing together as we share stories and meander back to the family’s home.
Carlos and Esme have a goal to provide a positive, multicultural and supportive environment in which children from all over Spain can come to practice English. After volunteering at their camp for 10 days I was invited to stay at the couple’s home while I waited for my departing train in two days’ time. The moments I shared with them ended up being the highlight of my entire European journey.
On my final evening, Esme and Carlos treated me to dinner at a charming little restaurant enclosed in grey stone on a tiny street corner. As we entered I noticed only a few locals inhabiting the bar, which left the quaint dinner tables virtually empty. We sat down and my hosts took the liberty of ordering a number of local delicacies, resulting in a mouth-watering spread of tapas.
Later that evening we sat talking on the terrace of their family home, our stories as unfiltered as the view of the milky way above us. Esme and Carlos talked about their passions; hers being professional photography, and his teaching at the school they helped build in the village. They went on to tell me about how they met, and about times they experienced growing up in the very village they are now helping to develop.
My time with Carlos and Esme reminded me of what I love so much about being an artist. Having an intimate insight into the lives of people from all walks of life and experiencing the emotions and themes that create their worldview allows me to create artwork that pays homage to the collective stories of humanity in my work, with the respect and authenticity that each individual’s story deserves.
Please tell us about your art.
We all have stories and we all want to be heard. As a society, our increasing use of social media is a simple example of our ever-present hunger for belonging and connection. I prefer a more traditional and personal approach to build connections in my community, and this is reflected in my art. Each of my pieces tells the story of an individual or collective with whom I have sought an authentic and sincere connection through listening to the unique and meaningful life experiences of their choice. My work tends to begin with a series of stories, quotes, and thoughts that ultimately evolve to include multiple layers of prose. Much like neurons in the brain, these layers represent the interconnected stories in our lives which weave together to create our own individual worldview and that of the human collective.. I then approach the theme from an impressionist point of view and express the intimate and powerful beauty in it through raw vibrant texture.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
I think it’s important to accept that success won’t happen overnight. I always knew that proving myself in the art community would require me to be consistent and persistent. So I took a long-term view and studied in the healthcare field to ensure that regardless of where I was at in my art career, I would always have a way to maintain a steady income. This has allowed me to continue investing in myself and my art consistently over the years. As I move forward, I can reduce my reliance on this type of work and begin focusing more and more time on my art. So, I would suggest that others be realistic about the challenges they are likely to face and plan ahead to mitigate their impact as much as possible, even if it means doing something less desirable in the short term so that you can focus on your passion in the long-term.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I am currently developing a solo show in July in collaboration with Elephant Room Gallery. This is free to attend and is located at 704 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605. My work is also available for viewing on my website: www.justinsuico.com and Instagram page @justin.suico.
- Website: www.justinsuico.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/justin.suico
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/justinsuicoart
Photographer: Jon Benson
Producer/Manager: Mary Munez @GoLuckyStudiosChicago
HMUW: Maribel Candia