Pilar Agüero-Esparza

Staying inside the lines has never been Pilar Agüero-Esparza’s style. Over her 30 years as a practicing artist, she’s evolved from producing traditional two-dimensional art to creating three-dimensional pieces that address issues of culture, race, and home life.

Pilar draws from her experiences as a Latina woman growing up in a family of shoemakers to create unique shoes from scrap leather, much like her parents did. More recently, Pilar has used melted crayons to pour over paper, producing palettes of various skin tones. The idea was first sparked by seeing a pack of Crayola Multicultural Crayons, provoking her to wonder which color her three-year-old daughter would pick as her own skin color and how her choice could change as she grew up. Pilar has used that same eight-pack to pour, weave, and sculpt pieces that prompt viewers to examine their own notions of color and the role it plays in their lives.

“The interesting thing to me is how my practice has evolved. I trained as a painter and printer in school, but I found myself painting on the frames and stretcher boards. Drawings have always stayed in my practice, but over the years I’ve transitioned from narrative and realism, which are traditional in painting, to materiality and abstraction. It can be still narrative, but often I do work that’s more about material and sculpture. I’ve just always needed to work with my hands.”

Written by Michelle Runde
Photography by Daniel Garcia

This article originally appeared in Issue 9.5 “Profiles”

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