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Daily Inspiration: Meet Renso Gomez Jimenez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Renso Gomez Jimenez.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
It was at the age of fourteen when I realized how powerful art could be, not just for making pretty pictures, but as an escape and a reflection of self. I was always the kid who got yelled at for drawing in the margins of my homework, especially math homework. I never paid much attention in class, the whole idea of sitting still and pretending to listen never really worked out for me. Heck, I didn’t even have a textbook. They were locked behind a glass cabinet because “students would ruin them.” In my early teens, I began to fall behind in school by hanging out with the wrong crowd. Growing up in a bipolar city such as South Central, you never knew what each day would bring. One moment you can be enjoying the warm sun beating down on your skin, but once that sun is gone, it takes all that welcoming heat and turns the city of angels into a warzone with dangers lurking behind every corner. I remember hearing loud screeching of tires and sudden pops! I ended up pinned next to a car holding on to my two younger cousins, not knowing what to do next. Or how about that time when you were eight and a brawl started at the park.

Do you remember those images of your dad hitting a guy across the head with a car jack? Or your cousin gushing blood from a bullet wound in his head? How about those dark years from 2007 to 2014? Four funerals in two years? Depression? How did you even cope? I spent endless hours locked in my room, sitting at a desk with a notebook and a graphite pencil set my dad had given me. I felt as if there was no bright future in sight, college was not an option for me, I considered myself lucky to even graduate high school. Fast forward ten years and my coping mechanism for tough times now allow me to create images, small windows that can allow me to escape from the dangers lurking in this world, images of unknown lands and beings. After many years of wondering if I followed the right career path, I can finally say that I am exactly where I have always wanted to be. Not only am I enjoying the life of an illustrator, but I also get to work with wonderful students and see how they develop their own craft. My biggest joy at work is seeing how proud students are about their work, especially after they have put in endless hours of effort into their creations.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My road to becoming an Illustrator and Instructor has been an extremely rocky one. Early on in life, I had to deal with depression and my surroundings. Life in Los Angeles isn’t always the glamour that television and films make it out to be. I have always worried about letting my parents down, even when they always tell me that they are proud. I have always worried if I made the right choices in life, if I will be able to support my family as an illustrator or if I will ever work for my dream company. But my biggest challenge of all has been grasping with the reality that I have time. In my mind, I have always tried to keep up with time, I always worry that if I take a break or stop to breathe, I will fall behind and I won’t be good enough to work as a professional. I worry about not achieving goals I’ve set for myself, and overall, I worry that I will never make a long-lasting impression on someone’s life. I have always wanted to inspire other artists or help them reach their goals by passing down all the knowledge I have accumulated over the years.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My artwork tends to focus on sci-fi storytelling and design. I enjoy creating worlds and characters with their own stories and struggles. In a way, these images and characters are reflections of myself and the worlds they live in are an escape for our imagination to dwell in. Even though I am an illustrator, I wouldn’t say that this is what I am extremely proud of. In terms of work, I am proud to be an instructor. The days I spend with all these young artists are the best I can ask for. Seeing their drive and determination fuels me as well it’s almost like an invisible power source that pushes us to become better. I love spending time with my students and seeing them grown, even if they can’t see it yet.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was a very shy kid. I hated being called on in school and I hated math with a passion. I would always draw in my notebooks during class. My mother knew from a very young age that I would be an artistic person. She always tells me that I would draw on my own shoes and the walls in the house, no crayon was safe in my hands. In school, my peers would always pick me for group projects because of my artistic background, they always wanted the kid who draws to be in the group. As I grew up, I had a huge passion for soccer, maybe because my father played all his life. Until this day, I am a huge soccer fan and I wake up early in the morning to watch Liverpool matches.

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