Constructing unorthodox models with uncanny detail, Sergio is effortlessly passing with flying colors. This Texas-based character sheds light on two pivotal moments from back when.
This feature was originally printed in GRØSS VOL. 1
We read about an art class that you got kicked out of because you drew yourself crucified. Was this an intentional statement or just a rebellious act?
Art class was set up Freshman and Sophomore one side of the hallway then Junior and Senior on the other side. My brother was a senior while I was a Sophomore. I use to hang out next door with Juniors and Seniors until the bell rang. The teacher would get mad because I was on the wrong side. She made it like you had to earn your right to be on that side. She was a hardcore Christian. I use to wear shirts with Krishna, Hanuman, Nrisimhadeva.
She was one of those teachers that no matter how good you were, it didn’t matter as long as you followed directions. There would be people drawing stick figure stuff, completely kissing her ass.
She'd always make fun of them or roll her eyes at me. The class was such a high demand to get into it. She had to accept you and critique your final project as a Sophomore for you to be accepted and further your art cluster your Junior and Senior year. She also always painted horses, her office was filled with them. One time I was like “who cares, all you paint are horses”, and the whole class was like "oooohh"… [laugh] So, she hated me. She super-hated me from that point on. She was one of those teachers that no matter how good you were, it didn’t matter as long as you followed directions. There would be people drawing stick figure stuff, completely kissing her ass.
When it came down to the final critique, I did the piece as a form of Capitol punishment awareness, it wasn't anti-anything. It was about the other people who were crucified. She saw mine and walked past it, and then came back to it and turned it around. This one chick in the class was like “I like Sergios the most” and she had this breakdown and said “all you are in except you know who” and she walked out into the next room. She made it about something else and was extremely mad at me. It was insane. I ended up going to homeschool in my home town, and at that time I was getting into graffiti and I was smoking and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. It was senior year and I didn’t need the credit for the art class [in order] to graduate. Anyway, they put out art paper to cover the tables, I would always draw on the tables, and I never did my final at all. On the last day of school [my then teacher] he was calling out grades and he was like “you got a 100”. After everyone left I asked him how I got 100, and he pulled out of his cabinet every drawing I ever did on that paper. He said “I knew you are pretty much always high when you come in here, but the kids after you one time got in an argument over who could rip out one of these papers and keep one of your drawings. That was when I knew you were doing something, and I started taking them before they got there.”
The moral of the story is one teacher wouldn’t let me be an artist and one did. I think I owe a lot to that second teacher, probably to the first too, sometimes you need that you know
“I’ll show her.”
What would you consider your first big break? Maybe a “Mom, I’ve made it!” moment?
Um, I'm not sure. I won a juried show curated by an assistant curator of SFMOMA and it definitely was a tipping point for me. Man, this is a really, really crazy one. That was a really, really weird scenario, almost like a movie.
I was hoping I would get at least third, at least I could buy a bucket and just roll it and I’d be super stoked.
My car broke down a few months before the show. One of the gallery owners here who is a really good friend of mine would let me borrow his ride a lot. Another one of my buddies had a shop I would airbrush cars for, and he had an extra civic he let me borrow one time. Literally the day I borrowed the civic, I went inside a store, came out, and literally the whole dash was gone. It was probably two hours into me having this car, I called him and I was like “Dude you’re going to super hate me man, the whole dash of your car is gone. There's no A/C, no radio.” Meanwhile, I had to drive one of my tricycles down to Houston to a juried show, and the way it worked was first place got $5000, second got $2500, and third got $1500. So I borrowed the gallery owner's Tahoe to drive it down there, on the way back I asked the owner if he wanted me to bring it back and he was like “no just keep it for the night” So I parked it outside my place, and the craziest thing, I came out in the morning and his radio was jacked, and it made me look like a crack-head. Like dude, what was happening? People were going to think I was pawning radios or something.
The next week was the juried show and I really, really needed this bread to buy a car. I was hoping I would get at least third, at least I could buy a bucket and just roll it and I’d be super stoked. So anyway, I’m trying to make it to Houston and there’s major traffic, and I finally made it into this huge parking garage with all these levels, I was running down the stairs and just trying to make it, it had already been open for a couple of hours, I was hoping I didn’t miss this juried part, I didn’t even really know how it worked.
So anyway I walk in, and I knew my trike was already on the postcard. I come in and they had name badges with my trike on them. And then they had a picture of the Houston paper and my trike was in the paper, it was weird. So anyway I was in line to get a beer and I heard, “Okay ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to announce the winners”.
“Let me at least get second, I could really use this bread”
It couldn’t have been any more perfect. You could feel the tension in the room, maybe it was just me, I was praying like, “Let me at least get second, I could really use this bread”. Anyway so he called third and second, and it was almost the biggest dick move, but they start saying “normally you don’t put the winning piece on the flyer…” and it was really quiet and I was like “YES!” Like real loud, and you could tell everyone was like “fuck that dude”. But I was just so stoked. I sold that one, a collector wanted to commission a piece, and another person wanted one too so it ended up being this bang that worked, a tipping point.
Published by: GRØSS in Visual