Written by Miguel Montiel | Translated by Katie Andrews
Aram Huerta is an illustrator that originally hails from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, and despite what you might think, his artistic journey has not always been straightforward. Before becoming an illustrator, Aram explored the worlds of science and design. In this interview, he tells us a bit about his life, work, and how he relates with the world around him through his art.
“I was born and raised in Ensenada, BC, a city close to the US border. The culture in Ensenada is influenced by people from different parts of Mexico and the United States, for example: the music, clothing, second or third-hand cars, gastronomy etc. I remember in my adolescence that the aesthetic of some of these things bothered me. I felt I should discover other things in other spaces and look for different perspectives.“
Aram considers himself a ‘global citizen’; throughout his life he has travelled around different parts of Mexico and the world. In each one of his trips, he tries to familiarize himself with not only the place, but also the history and experiences of the people living there.
“I believe that if you go somewhere and you don’t meet a single local, you can’t really say that you’ve been there…”
So through striking up a conversation along the way, Aram discovers the consonance and dissonance of the places he visits. These discoveries impact his work and his identity.
“I am a mix of I don’t even know how many things. When I travel, I adapt to the ways of life and situations that I find in every place and I try to reflect this in my work…”
In his effort to reinvent himself as a person and an artist, Aram is continually learning and experimenting with different ideas, techniques, and tools.
“I like to observe and listen to what other people do and in this way I expand my palette of techniques and tools. A teacher once said to me: “He who always does things the same way, misses out on a lot.”
Aram learns and finds inspiration in the daily tasks of all kinds of people. Art, through their perspective, can take many different forms.
“To me, Art is transforming something ordinary into something extraordinary. For example, if someone makes the good dough, a good tortilla, good presentation, I consider this person making art. I think that everyone in this context has the capacity and opportunity to be an artist and make their daily life a work of art.”
Aram’s illustrations arise from the fusion of elements and situations that catch his attention. The Pez-Elote (Fish-Corn), for example, synthesizes the gastronomy of two Mexican regions for which Aram holds a special appreciation.“In the North, where I come from, there is a delicious type of fish taco. They come battered, and are served with mayonnaise-based salsa, pico de gallo (diced onion, tomato and cilantro garnish), and lime. Then if you go to Veracruz, you’ll find fish fried in butter that you eat with handmade tortillas. The Pez-Elote came from asking myself, ‘If I were a great chef, how would I deconstruct a fish taco?”
The important thing for Aram is not to make his living from art, but rather, to live artistically. In other words, meaningfully connecting himself with people and his surroundings. This is reflected in the way that Aram carries out his work.
“I like to work for my community… In the cultural centre, the small organic store, the local photographer, etc. I like to collaborate and exchange labour or jobs with the people around me.”
On top of establishing an alternative to the capitalist system, the form of bartering that Aram describes could help artists and small business owners to get around the Covid-19 pandemic.
As this article reflects, Aram is a person with extraordinary awareness and perspective. Without a doubt, speaking with him has been an enriching experience. I really appreciate his time and the anecdotes he shared with me.
Learn more about Aram’s work: