Tony Teran


“Portrait of Tone,” 1999


Oil on Massonite, 11” x 14”

Interview with Tony Teran

1.Q: Is There a common symbol or image that you recognize in your brothers paintings that you relate to or recognize as a part of you also?
T.T: In looking at Sergio's painting the common image/symbols I always see are human figures in particular family members and/or friends. I think the people in his painting have shaped his life in different ways. Good and bad. I relate to some of the images Sergio uses because there are various family member's and/or friends who have either inspired, shaped or have influence my life in one way or another.
2.Q: What was art about to a Mexican/American child growing up in seventies and eighties? How was art an influencing you and your brother?
T.T: Growing up in the seventies and eighties much of the Mexican/American art influence came from Mexican mural paintings. Also, comic books were another very popular influence for us. I really enjoyed various comics such as Superman, Batman, Spiderman and X-men.
3.Q: What were your own artistic tendencies at that age?
T.T: At a very young (8 or 9 years old), I became facinated with comic book characters. I was particularly fasinated with the super human character with mysticle powers who protected the weak and fought against evil. So at this age, I wanted to be able to create my own super hero comic.
4.Q: Did you guys have other artistic family members?
T.T: Yes. We had an uncle, whom we grew up with and look up to. In fact, he was a very talented artist but he always felt that his artistic talent wasn't much more than a hobby . In fact, he often expressed his concern over Sergio's decision to becoming a painter. He would say... "How's my nephew going to support himself as a painter?"
5.Q: Was there art in the house when you were growing up?
T.T: I don't recall having a lot of art in our house. Aside from comic books, art projects and art in general was really influenced in school for us. I still recall really being interested in arts and crafts.
6.Q: What do you think was your families (Mother, uncles, aunts) illusion of art making or art?
T.T: Most of my family members believed that art was only a hobby... a past time. As they (the men in the family) would say, "art is not a career." " You need to work 8-5 to raise a family, pay the bills, etc." Ironically, Sergio raises his own family and pays his bills with his art career.
7.Q: What is your opinion of art making? Is it necessary in our culture?
T.T: I think art is extremely important in the building blocks of life. It helps develop creativity but it also stimulates thinking, growth and intellect. Art also influences other elements of life --- cultural, social, political and regilious. It's all around us.
8.Q: What were your parents careers as children?
T.T: My father was a small business owner; and my mother was a stay-at-home mom/seamstress.
9.Q: Coming from a working class family why do you think your brother took on a career as an artist and not as an engineer or construction worker, cop etc ?
T.T: I believe Sergio's path into art was influenced by many factors in his upbringing. We were from a working class family; religious upbringing (Catholic); and our family unit was very dysfunctional. I think his attraction to art became a way of manifesting his feelings and emotions onto canvas and/or paper. T.T: It gave him structure. It influence learning. It inspired growth. And it connected him to a higher level of spiritual understanding.
10.Q What Horror movie affected you the most as a child?
T.T: Unfortunately, we didn't have too much censorship growning up in the seventies and eighties. The horror movies that affected me the most were Jaws; the Exorcist; Friday the 13th; and Halloween. Not in a good way either.