From a very early age, Edgar Esquivel became interested in art.
Born in Mexico, the recent Chestatee High School graduate moved to the United States at the start of first grade. And during that time, he found his calling.
“I lived with my dad and I started liking art when this guy rented our basement,” Esquivel said. “When I would come home from school, I would just stay down there with him and he would have a lot of drawings related to gangs.”
While the Gainesville man said he liked drawing, he stayed clear of the “gang-related stuff.”
“But I started liking art from then,” Esquivel said.
In second grade, he drew cartoons such as Power Rangers, Spider-Man and superheroes. He then sold them for a quarter to get ice cream in school.
Since then, Esquivel has considered himself an artist, making him a 13-year veteran of the genre.
And the 18-year-old has come long a way since selling his pieces for ice cream though. Recently, his work was selected for the Bus Shelter Art Project in Gainesville.
The Bus Shelter Art Project is the installation of 15 pieces of art on bus shelters in the community by the city of Gainesville and Vision 2030 of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce with help from the Quinlan Visual Arts Center.
“Art was selected in order to introduce artistic works which build on the Gainesville Connection brand of connecting people to family, friends, recreation, business, government, education, retail, nonprofits and places of importance,” according to a Quinlan news release. “Thematically and visually, works are focused on the connectivity of people to the community.”
Esquivel said he used his community as an inspiration for his chosen pieces. He said they show exactly how it fits into the connective purpose of the project.
“I painted in watercolor people from different ethnicities because I grew up in a community, a peaceful community, where ... there were whites, Mexicans and Asians,” he said. “And we all got along. It’s pretty peaceful.”
Esquivel also sketched Brenau University, the Blue Ridge mountains, the bridge on Jesse Jewell Parkway, Lake Lanier and the square to show the connectivity of the community.
“And I drew a chicken to show that Gainesville is the poultry capitol,” he said.
He applied to the project after seeing a link about it at Chestatee High.
“I wanted to do it so people could see my art and I could show them what I can do,” he said, noting it “felt great” when his pieces were picked. “It’s been a while since I actually won something art related.”
While clearly interested in his art, Esquivel has another interest he plans to pursue.
“I’m really into cars, and I’m really into art,” he said, adding he wants to combine his two passions. “I’m going to study collision repair and auto engineering. I want to put my art into cars, like airbrush art on the body.”