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Estefan
Washington, DC

Thanksgiving 2009

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Estefan Gargost

Latin-American Painter

It was a cool summer morning in Waterbury, Connecticut, the day I was born.  The date was August 14, 1967.  The second-born born to Don Julio and Doña Pilar, both from Puerto Rico, at Saint Mary’s Hospital.  My parents had already chosen my name, but Mom, who did not speak much English, could not fully communicate it to the registering nurse.  Dad was working during that fateful moment.  And so I became Estifen (the Latinized oral form of Stephen).  That is how begins the odyssey of a human being searching for his place in the World and how to reach it. 

It became evident at an early age that I had an interest for art.  I drew anything that piqued my interest and used any surface and media I could find.  I even created my own pigments from anything that had a color I was interested in using.  My favorite came from annatto seeds that I discovered living in Unibón, a country barrio in Morovis, Puerto Rico.  I made several drawings in which I used mango tree ashes and annatto. 

On September 12, 1982, the family of six returned to Waterbury.  That was my sophomore year in high school.  While at Wilby High School, I came under the artistic tutelage of Professor Maryellen Considine-Woolley and Dr. Andrew Sirica.  Professor Considine taught me a great deal about proportions, textures, and perspective.  She was an extremely teacher.  I did not speak English at that time, and she had to resort to hands-on and gestures.  Dr. Sirica helped me lose my fear of damaging my artwork.  He taught me to be fearless. “Don’t be afraid to put pressure on the paper,” he said referring to making drawings pop-out.  During my last year, he became impatient with me as I stopped following the course syllabus and worked on whichever project caught my attention.  Once he walked away from me, arms flailing in the air exclaiming: “Of course he’s working on stained-glass when everyone else is doing macramé.”  Subconsciously, perhaps, he encouraged me to be that free.  He would take me into the art closet and give me paints and materials that had been there too long.   

It was my experience with them that convinced me I was destined to creating a place in the world of art.  They introduced me to the world of art exhibitions and contests.  They became my inspirational guides. 

Nearly 30 years have gone since those three wonderful years of self-discovery, and I still think of them fondly, and still can visually the moments, smell the aromas, hear the sounds and words that defined each turning moment in the path of art.

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