Local artist Cande Aguilar has been an artist for all his life. He continued the family tradition and became a musician until he eventually found his true calling: painting.
Aguilar, who was born and raised in Brownsville, finds inspiration in his community, in his barrio, and he created this theme called “Barriopop” that makes him create unique artwork based on his experiences in the area. But there is a new theme in Brownsville that is changing the way the whole world sees our city: SpaceX.
The local artist, who was the first Brownsville artist to have a solo show in New York City, recently created SpaceX-inspired art pieces that use an ironing board painted silver to mimic the rocket. Aguilar said this is the first time he does work inspired on landscaping and that the inclusion of what’s going on here in Brownsville is very exciting.
“It is something that’s national, worldwide news that’s happening right now and that’s why I thought about how this makes sense,” he said during an interview weeks after he created the painting.
“I didn’t force it, I didn’t really think about it. I was more like impacted by it and then so therefore it kind of came out. And that’s usually what happens with my work. It’s not something that I’m pushing to do, it’s just stuff that falls in my lap and when I do it, it just makes sense.”
The inspiration came from watching a video of one of his favorite artists creating a new art piece and using an ironing board to put the paint as a pallet. Aguilar remembers telling one of his close friends and an artist too, Mario Perez, how interesting that was. A few days later, Perez showed up to his house with an ironing board as a gift that he found on the streets.
Sitting inside his studio one night, Aguilar paid attention to that folded ironing board that was against a wall and thought: “That looks like a SpaceX ship, man” and laughed. But the thing is, as a science fiction fan, especially Star Wars, the exploration of space is not a theme strange to Aguilar.
“And that’s what Barriopop is, it has to do with the humor of the barrio. … I thought, the ironing board is hilarious and it just goes with the current culture that’s going on. So, it just kind of fell right into my lap,” he said.
“It becomes this sort of object of artistic sense of humor. I thought that maybe I’ll collect a couple more and do a few pieces with this kind of motif. The Mexic-Arte museum in Austin actually saw the image and they invited me to participate in a show that they are having in September.”
In a video on his Instagram, Aguilar is seen creating the painting where he placed the ironing board in front of SpaceX at Boca Chica Beach using blue, red and black spray. Aguilar said SpaceX really impacted him, especially in one of the launches where he was watching the live video online with his children and one of his daughters asked him to look through the back door and there it was: the SpaceX rocket.
“I could literally see a rocket from my own backyard. You can imagine. In my wildest dreams, how could I ever imagine seeing a rocket from my own backyard. That’s when it really hit home,” he said.
“From my perspective, it’s a very exciting time. As far as human behavior because I feel like we are leading this double frontier here in Brownsville and it’s very unique to anywhere else. We got people crossing the river to go to a better world, to a better life. And so, now the dream of crossing space to go to a better world, that’s two frontiers in one area, so that’s very exciting. That creates a lot of inspiration and as an artist you pick up on that. It is endless, it feeds the artwork and it feeds everything.”