"If I can bring out joy in others and give someone a reason to be proud of our region, I'll have achieved the highest of heights."
Gabaldon, an extremely talented artist who does a lot of El Paso themed artwork, first started to paint in 2012 but had been doodling for years in the margins of books and note pads. Gabaldon didn’t get into color and painting when he took a “drink and paint” class with his wife. He remembers his first experience painting as “freeing and eye opening” because he had complete control of the paint and the brush to do anything he wanted. With each piece that he painted his passion began to grow, and soon he saw himself teaching himself from his own vision. Having spent hours working and learning, Gabaldon feels like he is finally hitting a stride in his work and his artistic voice shines through.
Gabaldon has been doodling for years and this has greatly influenced his style, as he prefers “the odd and the silly.” When he was growing up he was very into The Far Side, FoxTrot, Marvel Trading Crds, anything Sega, and afternoon cartoons and all of these influences can be seen in his artwork today. The desert here is also a source of inspiration for Gabaldon because of all the bold colors in the landscapes and our skyline. Apart from these two things, Gabaldon told us that the people that he meets at events are a big inspiration to him. The act of meeting someone who wants to decorate their space with his art is a humbling feeling that helps him push forward with his work.
The desert serves as a great source of inspiration for Gabaldon because of the landscapes and vibrant colors we have all round us. He chooses to paint El Paso themed paintings because we are surrounded by all this color and Chuco flavor. He believes that the spirit and the culture of the border is everywhere and can be seen by everyone no matter their perspective. So while some people may choose to say that we have no green or vibrant colors, just brown, Gabaldon chooses to see the color that is simply amplified by the brown surroundings.
Gabaldon remembers the time he went to Santa Fe to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe museum and how he was impacted by her paintings of Cerro Pedernal. There were so many views of her favorite mountain and this got him thinking, "I bet she could have painted that view over and over and over again and it would never be the same". This got him thinking of our beloved Franklin Mountains, and how he could try to capture their beauty for years, and yet he would still find more beauty that needs to be captured in a painting. He continues to paint El Paso because it is constantly changing and even though he continues to paint our surroundings over and over he doesn’t feel like he captures it correctly. This serves as motivation to keep painting in the hopes of capturing a piece of its spirit.
As for Gabaldon’s wishes for his artwork, the main one is that people experience joy from seeing his work. He hopes that the beauty and spirit of El Paso that he is trying to capture is seen by others, and that they can find joy in the “healing aroma of desert rain” he loves so much. He hopes that his artwork can help instill some much needed community pride of our amazing city.
You can go follow him on Instagram as @gabaldonart and see his amazing artwork!