Twenty-two year old Texan native, Rebeca June is a lot like any girl her age—working a part-time job, going to school, and trying to make time to enjoy young adulthood in the midst of it all. But what sets her apart is her natural talent and big dreams. She has already held her own solo show and consistently tries to evolve and inspire. Here we talk further about her work ethic, inspirations, and ambitious future.
Cliché: Can you tell me a little about your background?
Rebeca June: I’m originally from Cancun, Mexico, born and raised. But I’ve been living in El Paso, Texas for the past 10 years. I’m 21 (well, by the time August rolls around I’ll be 22) years old, about to graduate from school, working a part-time job to stay afloat, living the dream!
When did your love for art begin? Were you inspired and taught by someone or was it always innate?
I think it’s been a little bit of both. My love of art has been instilled in me for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents are artists; my dad is a painter and my mom is a sculptor, so I grew up surrounded by the arts. It was the most nurturing childhood anyone could have. My dad taught me everything I know, and although school has helped as far as practice goes, there is nothing like learning your craft from your idol. Are you completely self-taught or have you gone to school for art? And if so, where and what is your current enrollment status? I pretty much learn by trial and error. For some techniques I’ve had mentoring from professors and other artists, such as portraiture. Some of my other experimental techniques, honestly, I’m just messing around to see if sparks fly or I find new areas to explore. I’m currently a senior at UT El Paso, and I’m majoring in Painting and minoring in Ceramics.
I’ve noticed from going through your work that you have a very versatile array of styles that you seem to be able to master whether it’s sculpting, sketching faces, drawing celebrities such as Lana Del Rey, and even painting your mother’s body to look like a portrait. Are you completely self-taught in all of these fields or have you gone to school for art? And if so, where and what is your current enrollment status?
I pretty much learn by trial and error. For some techniques I’ve had mentoring from professors and other artists, such as portraiture. Some of my other experimental techniques, honestly, I’m just messing around to see if sparks fly or I find new areas to explore. I’m currently a senior at UT El Paso, and I’m majoring in Painting and minoring in Ceramics.
Of all of your acquired skills, which would you say is your favorite?
I go through phases, just to be as well-rounded as possible. But if I absolutely had to pick, I’d say right now watercolors own my heart. That, and colored pencils. And oils. And ink. I just can’t, I’m sorry!
What are some of your current inspirations?
Right now I’m really finding inspiration in nature and the connection that human beings have to it. I find it sad that most of the time we are very detached. I’m not trying to make a specific point, just trying to embrace the reality of the great divide between us and our natural world.
What is a “typical” work day for you like? Do you try to indulge in art daily or solely work off of spontaneous inspiration?
There is no typical day. I’m lucky enough to always feel the need to be working, though I hardly consider it work. Most of the time I have too many things I need to let out on paper, and I have to calm myself down to take it a drawing at a time. I have a tiny little studio adjacent to my room, and I love spending my time there. But as far as inspirations go, there is a different one every day, but it always has to do with what mood I’m in that day.
Most artists use their craft as either a form of escape from reality or as a way to express themselves. What role would you say art has taken in your life?
I try to get lost in it as often as possible, as I’m sure all artists do. It’s difficult to explain, because for me it’s not really an escape as much as it is a home. Musicians hear music out of ordinary life; I see and feel art everywhere, in all its forms. It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful way to view life.
What would you like for the heart of your artwork to say about you?
I’d like my work to say that I was honest, flawed, and that I found splendor where there seemed to be none. Or at least that I focused on what is often overlooked. But I also want to leave an open space within my work to allow every person who sees it to interpret it differently. There is a quote I really love: “No two people ever read the same book.” I think it applies to artworks, too.
If you could collaborate with one artist, who would you like it to be?
I could write a book just to answer this question. Vincent van Gogh has a very special place in my heart. Frida Kahlo, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, you know, the masters, ideally. Now, artists who are still alive? I would love to collaborate with Conrad Roset, Joram Roukes, Henrik Uldalen, Linnea Strid, or Bec Winnel. They’re all so amazing, and I look up to them immensely. There is too much talent in this world.
You are a young, talented, and up-and-coming artist with, in my opinion, a very bright future. Where would you like to see yourself and your work in about 5-10 years from now?
I get so nervous whenever someone says that. Thank you, really. In 5 to 10 years, wow. I don’t have any specific goals for myself, I just want to be able to travel and exhibit my work. I’m not too much into the money aspect (hence, I’m a Fine Arts major), but the traveling, that would be amazing. To see the world with the purpose of having people see my work would be my dream come true… and if people knew my name, that’d be pretty sweet as well!
To see more of Rebeca’s work, follow her Instagram @rebecajunne
Rebeca June’s interview originally appeared in Cliché Magazine’s August/September 2013 issue.
Images courtesy of Rebeca June.