Life is the most difficult of all games to play. It’s the only game which doesn’t come with an instruction manual and the only game where you have no choice but to play. But this is what makes living so fun. You never know what to expect and it’s always filled with emotional roller-coasters that makes grated cheese out of the emotionally weak. But the key to living life to its fullest is all in the way that you handle the roller-coaster ride of events and emotions that you’re put through. It’s a long-term game of endurance and, if inspected closely enough, it’s much like art. The two can be considered and compared side by side as they both require a certain amount of perseverance, humility and dedication to be enjoyed to the fullest.
And for our featured artist, Abel Ibarra, life imitated art in a very parallel way. For Abel, life wasn’t always as kosher as it now is. As a child, he grew up in a rugged section of Los Angeles, California, and at a very young age he would witness not only the rough and tumble streets, but also find himself void of a beloved brother who fell victim to that same violence.
But this is when Abel’s tragedy literally turned into triumph, as he felt empowered by his love for his brother to carry on his dream to be an artist. “I feel as if he lives through me,” says Abel. “I feel like he’s always right here besides me when I create and if anything he was a much better artist than I was.”
This passion to realize his brother’s dream has taken Abel on a 360-degree turnaround. From being a troublemaker to getting into school, this artist has turned his life around for the better. He attended Los Angeles Trade Tech to take courses in graphic design and he’s turned his hobby into a business, which has him working alongside some of the world’s most power brands. From Fiat, Lowrider Magazine to Tribal and Converse. Abel is taking the world by storm and literally scaring the competition.
While Abel’s already got his hand in deep with several toy lines and corporate accounts, don’t think for one minute that he’s getting comfortable. “I want to take care of my family as best as I can,” he explains. He goes on to mention that his family comes first, and, once he accomplishes that task, he’ll move on to extend his helping hand to create programs for inner city children. “I want to take care of them because I care and if anyone ever has questions they can always email me because I read and respond to all of them by myself.” He goes on to mention in a very humble manner that the success of his work will never go to this head and that it will just give him a constant reminder that there is a new generation of artists that we all have to collectively help, teach and motivate.
Abel’s story is one which is far more deserving than the few pages that he’s received, but you have to roll with what you’re given. His story and the chronicles of his life experiences are better suited for a full novel. This is literally a true story of a man who went from rags to riches, and created a mini-empire built on the artistic creativity of yet another Latino artist. It just goes to show you that we’re growing not only in numbers, but also as a legion of artists, entrepreneurs, Latinos and businessmen that Corporate American is taking seriously. Our style garnishes the respect of a finicky market and we have to understand that this is just the beginning of a long phase of business that is directly influenced by Hispanics.Of even more inspiration and importance is the fact that Abel is an artist who made his mark without forgetting where he’s from. This in itself is a very important attribute to mention, as the value of any given artist should be weighed on not only his work, but also his outlook on life and what he can teach, rather than how much he can charge. We’ve seen plenty of artists who chalk up a good game, but refuse to share, empower or educate other children interested in their craft. To us, this is useless, as the next generation of kids needs to have role models such as the ones that we feature in Arte. They need to see that dreams do come true as long as you never give up. Even more important is that their mentors carry themselves in an appropriate manner, and with Abel, we have no worry that he’ll be in the game helping lend a hand where it’s needed.
OG Abel. He’s one to learn from, one to educate. And more importantly, the artist who believes that it’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice. Now that’s a real OG.