This month’s Art Spark Texas artist Jesse Kantu is from Houston. Jesse was nominated for our 2019 Artist of the Year award by his sister Frances. Although he did not win that award, I was interested in getting to know a little more about him and feature him as an Artist of the Month.
Jesse grew up in a non-traditional nuclear family in Houston. His path towards art was mostly mentored by his teachers. He started taking art classes in high school, playing around with various original ideas and themes. His teachers noticed his talent and encouraged him. He took more art classes at Houston Community College and became more serious about his choice of subject matter. He transferred to the University of Houston where he received his BFA with a concentration on Sculpture and a minor in Art History. In 2015, he received his MFA from Houston Baptist University with a concentration on Painting. As his sister Frances wrote about Jesse, “The artist has a unique vision. At times it can be spiritual, dark and chaotic, and at other times it is hopeful, beautiful, and childlike. There is always a message intertwined which gives a feeling of impact and healing.”
Kantu’s artistic influences are many: “Everybody combined into one” according to him. He admires University of Houston Professor Aaron Parazette for his ideas on color, and artist Jackson Pollock for his gestural influences. Focusing on painting, Jesse is looking forward to being involved in some pop-up art shows later this year and is focusing on his art business at Pyramid Art Services.
Although Jesse does not identify as an artist with a disability, he finds that disability finds its way into his art. He feels that the common denominator in his work is the idea that we all suffer and as a result, understand pain, want to be accepted, and want to find love. He wants his work to evoke feelings of hope.
Artworks Director, Art Spark Texas