By Fernando Rojas Cervantes
I believe that everyone is a product of their environment and that the experiences and people you encounter shape you into who you are. My childhood in Mexico was full of family, making lifelong friends, and a slow but steady path of growth and deciding what my dreams and aspirations were going to be.
My name is Fernando Rojas Cervantes. I am a 21-year-old Fort Worth artist and a University of Texas at Arlington architecture student. I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, where I spent 17 years of my life before moving to Fort Worth.
Growing up, I had an interest in exploring and playing with my creativity: Reading, puzzles and sketching were my daily hobbies. At the same time, my family and their appreciation of the arts and local culture led me to early exposure to museums, music and architecture. At 17, in the middle of my high school studies, my family moved to the United States, and I was faced with a new horizon I had never considered.
Next Project: “Generations”
Location: Wild West Mural Fest
Date: October 16 – 23.
Title: “The Garden”
Location: The Texas White House, Fort Worth TX
Location: The Pearl District, San Antonio, TX.
Title: “The Panther”
Location: 798 Rockwood Park Drive, Fort Worth, TX.
Title: “The Tree”
Location: Dallas, TX.
Title: “The Bird”
Location: The Table Market, Fort Worth, TX.
Moving to the United States was a radically new experience for me. I started my last year of high school at Arlington Heights High School, and the culture shock led me to open my mind to new ideas, people, cultures, and a new way of life, all seen through my foreign point of view. When I graduated, it was time for me to decide what I wanted to study, but as many other students can relate, I was unsure about it. So, I decided to test my luck and travel.
Traveling opens your eyes to a new culture, teaches you lessons you never expected to learn, and most importantly it puts you out of your comfort zone. Vancouver, British Columbia took me in and gave me a wild ride of experiences that set me on the path of getting to know myself and forging an independent character that will always stay with me. Long hikes taught me to appreciate nature, experiencing a city rich in diversity and art exposed me to a new way of life. Learning how to live by myself strengthened my confidence. With the winter approaching, I decided to come back home with my family, but to my surprise, my winter became colder:
My family moved to Kansas City while I was up north. The serenity of the frozen city gave me a space to release my creative drive and start drawing from life, polishing my observational skills.
After spending a few months in KC, I moved back to Fort Worth with a new background and a determination to embark on a creative path. I, then, enrolled in architecture school at UTA, and after my first semester, I found myself exploring photography and drawing in large formats. I found myself exploring different mediums, all thanks to my studio class that gave me a technical understanding of visual communication. For my final project in that course, I wanted to do something bold and expressive, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and produced “Grasp,” an artwork that aims to picture emotion through anatomy.
Realizing my potential, I kept practicing and met the owners of The Table Market, who gave me the chance to paint my first mural: “The Bird.” My drive to paint is fueled by a sense of belonging to the community and an aspiration to participate, share ideas and give back through my work, as well as continuing my growth as a visual artist and designer. Using the skills I had learned in architecture school, I design my murals around the context of where they are going to live, taking into consideration color, composition, and scale. The inspiration for every piece is unique, and it is distilled from the character of the place where I’m painting it, aiming to represent it and blend space with artwork. My artistic influences range from my Mexican roots and culture, the 1920s’ Mexican muralist movement, modernist architecture, street artists like Keith Haring and Banksy, as well as scientific illustration.
Fort Worth could not have been a better place to start. It is a city with immense character: its architecture connects it with the past; its historical hotspots like the cultural districts and the Stockyards foster years of culture; the Trinity River and the Botanical Gardens share their beauty to its inhabitants and, most importantly, it is filled with people who create communities and support each other. Thanks to the support of my family and friends, word of mouth has spread along with the city and my work has followed. I have had the chance to participate in projects like the Trinity Trails mural gallery to paint “The Panther,” traveled to San Antonio to paint “Hereford,” and for my latest piece, I finished “The Garden” for The Texas White House in Fort Worth. I feel proud to be part of this community and, in the few years, I have spent here, I have seen it grow incredibly quickly; I think that many great things await for the city.
In the coming years, I plan to finish my studies and keep challenging myself in the design field, whether it is through architecture or muralism. Eventually, I plan on expanding to different approaches and visual communication mediums, and I would love to travel and paint in different places, with Mexico at the top of my bucket list.
Fernando Rojas Cervantes is a 21-year-old muralist born in Guadalajara, Mexico but living in Fort Worth. Rojas Cervantes is an architecture student at the University of Texas at Arlington; he has murals in San Antonio and Fort Worth.