Simplicity, discipline and love for work have placed Jess Dávila on high. The renowned international sculptor 15 years ago decided to leave everything in the United States and return to his native Huachinera, a town in the highlands of Sonora 249 kilometers from Hermosillo.
After living in California, polishing his name as an artist in New Mexico and touring important galleries of the American Union, he finally returned to the land where he was born, with a transcendental purpose: to leave a cultural legacy in his homeland.
Interviewed by “Primera Plana”, Dávila confirms that today he is in a stage of fullness of his life and does what he loves most: creating art. But, let’s take a few steps back and know a little about its beginnings.
Like all children, he had his first contact with art when he was in elementary school. That’s when he discovered his taste for drawing. That restless little one that during the recess took advantage to paint and imagine worlds. “I never left the drawing, I still like it,” he says smiling.
However, he points out, teachers or parents almost always make the mistake of seeing a child scratching, whether in notebooks or walls, they always put the “Do not do it” brake, instead of indulging that concern.
Effort: root of success
Due to life circumstances, remember that from a young age he settled in San José, California. There, together with his family, they started the business of selling vegetables wholesale.
It all started with a load of melon that arrived. He sold it and it went well. So he asked for another and also placed it. At the time it was already full trucks that moved.
“I also had restaurants, I love cooking, creating my ideas. I personally went into the kitchen and gave my touch to the dish. It was very successful. I also developed a business that was closer to this environment of creativity, it was about decoration and banquets for businessmen, weddings, conventions, thematic scenarios, ”he said.
International collectors look for his work.
When did you decide to enter fully to the creation of works? How was that step taken?
When I was already a little better in my finances. That’s when I said it’s time. My children had already grown up, so I made the decision to find where to go and went to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Why in Santa Fe?
It has a lot of art and artists. People from all over the world come to buy. And it is art of all kinds, nothing more plastic. They called me ‘crazy’ because there are more than 40 thousand artists, painters, sculptors, designers. They warned me that if I went there they would eat me alive; but the reason was to go to learn, improve and be level and even surpass many of them. There I am doing very well, thank God, as long as with the help of my wife Coyito, because only one does not. She helps me in the promotion of the works, so that it can be seen in public in exhibitions, on the networks, on the website.
There I was forming a group of collectors who acquired my works, and it was growing. There are those who have up to 30 works of yours, and that is how it happens, they fall in love with you with your art.
If you could tell us about the creative process that follows to give life to a work?
First of all I study the subject. If it is an animal, a bear, a bison – I have two types of bison. My style of sculpture is contemporary, that is, I give you the idea of what it is, but I don’t give you everything, so that you finish the work, although when you see it you know what it is. I see the movements, how, when, to give him that idea. It is not realistic, it is not a photo, it is a concept of mine. The same with my human figures, I have my chubby, my slender, from the mountains; For example, many of my figures are exaggeratedly long, tall.
What artists, sculptors, have you had to work with?
I have many artist friends, many of them great, but some have caught my attention. One who unknowingly and unintentionally impressed me when I was young was Benny Bufano, a famous Italian sculptor. I had never noticed that he wore his style, he was one of those who gave me direction without me noticing, until a collector called me who started buying my works but also had Bufano and tells me ‘it caught our attention that you are going in the same direction as Benny Bufano ‘. Then I lost focus and had not seen it that way.
Look, I am supposed to invent creations, but over time in books, internet, museums, I find that it has already been done, then everything we do has already been done, and we are talking about writing, music, sculpture, but every Who gives him his image, idea. My students tell me I want to see what style I fall, I tell them to leave it; They are like a feather that are floating in the air, one of these days you will fall in the right place, leave it.
For 15 years he decided to leave everything in the US and install your workshop in the highlands of Sonora. This is the Artistic and Cultural Center of Huachinera.
What motivated you to return to Mexico and establish the Huachinera Cultural Artistic Center?
Returning to Mexico we always brought that idea that with God’s favor we were going to return, but I started doing the Artistic Center, I formed a civil association, I was still very busy with my galleries and exhibitions in the United States. But over time, my wife and I decided to get rid of the study there and build in Huachinera, we were both born there and have our roots and family. But most of all it is to contribute, leave something and see how we can help in what we know is art and culture.
In Huachinera what exists of work are the ranches, but nothing else will give work to one of a family; What is happening is that they are leaving either Agua Prieta, Nogales, Hermosillo, where there are not enough jobs.
So the idea was to help those who for some reason cannot leave, and give them something else with art and culture; At the same time there they have tourism and having this cultural campus is already striking, more workshops with children, in painting, sculpture, mud, music. And so it was growing.
What is the recommendation you would give to the sculptors who start their careers?
Nothing else they know is not easy. You have to sacrifice yourself, have the discipline of taking out work, you have to make sure that you are doing something and you cannot leave and jump from this work to the other. You have to make the decision to say I am a stone sculptor and no more. Make the decision of what you want, one nothing more.
They asked me how long it took to make the 1.60 m work that is permanent in MUSAS Museum, it was a month and a half. But when it started, it took small work and lasted a week or two weeks. I didn’t have the ability. Remember that all repetition teaches you, it improves.
Despite all this sacrifice, in the end he dedicates himself to what he likes …
I don’t work anymore, I’m enjoying what I do. That is the other: you have to learn to do what you really like. Although the stone is very heavy, very dirty, dust, “the ball” reaches you and it hurts everything – laughter – but sometimes they talk to me in the studio that it’s already eleven o’clock and come to dinner … I’m in love with my work, That is not work.
Creativity is something else. Because you always bring something here – it points to your head – that you want to take out. Right now I am working on the Sonoran cimarron. I ordered a stone from Italy for this bighorn, this one is very significant.
How is that selection of the material you are going to work on? Should you know beforehand?
It is very curious. For example, my favorite stone is marble. But I also love onyx, limestone, sandstone, all the work, but every stone is like each one of us, there are some say ‘with me no and only like that’. Others that are easy, but some that – sorry for the word – but are bastards.
When they go to my workshop and ask me, what do you do with so much stone? Well, I want to have her here when I can think of them, they are stones from all over the world. I also feel that if I run out of stone and I run out of work, I’m going to finish too – laughs.
15 Mountain Moons have passed
Against wind and tide, for 15 years through its Civil Association they organize the “Mountain Moon” festival in Huachinera, an event that seeks to put this community in the spotlight of artistic attention nationwide.
This edition will be held from October 10 to 13 at the Artistic and Cultural Center of Huachinera. The inauguration will be with the La Caridad de Nacozari Youth Orchestra, there are 120 children playing all kinds of instruments and vocals.
There will also be a presentation by the Los Hermanos Othón Orchestra, from Mátape.
The short film “Nita la minita” will be presented, which was made by children from Nacozari.
Also from nine to one in the afternoon, it is the culture bar for children that includes workshops, presentations, dance, puppets, protection of flora and fauna. To review the program and see more work of the artist you can consult www.jessdavila.com