Home is Where the Art Is

Josh Loera
5 min readApr 6, 2021

First week in Guatemala

I still can’t really believe it. I’m pinching myself right now looking to my right and left out the floor to ceiling living room windows. Stucco white building, red clay tile roofing, orange sun setting behind the green mountain ranges, cool breeze flowing through the apartment. Smells like freedom.

It has so quickly started to feel like home. Probably because Cristine and the dogs were already here waiting for me (home is where the heart is). Maybe because more people here look like me. Maybe because the development we live in has all the modern comforts afforded to the most high end apartments in America…

- I’m living in a bubble here and I know that. I knew it would be the case before coming but let’s not talk about “survivor’s guilt” or the effects of American Capitalism globally (of which I am a beneficiary) at this particular second. -

… Maybe one of the reasons it already feels like home is because I can finally be ME full-time here. Maybe I’m an artist and it feels like home to be one all day here (home is where the … art is?)

It’s been a bit over a week that I’ve been here and the time has been partially spent figuring out an official game plan, a syllabus, a work flow of sorts. I did this in my last job and built my daily schedules around it. It’s not complete yet, but in general it will be based around blocking my day out with different creative or business activities. Such as, writing a blog for 1.5 hours, spend time on mentor-ship assignment 2.5 hr, write comic book script 2 hrs. , create post for social 1.5 hr Etc. So on and so forth… And it’s hitting me how much I want to do and how quickly a “work day” can be filled with these activities. Time flies when you’re having fun! My mindset was that I would treat this like a “full-time” job but, for some reason, I thought I would be able to fit a lot more in a day.

I probably can, but maybe I’m just not as efficient as I one day will be, and that’s okay right now. I’m figuring it out. I am also working to figure out what will be future streams of revenue so that I can eventually afford things on my own (PS Cristine’s job is covering the rent etc. So she’s kinda my suga-mama right now.) It’s interesting that during the weeks leading up to my last days at my job, this whole NFT craze blew up. Again, another sign that some kind of creative renaissance is upon us. It’s a very interesting concept and I’d been pondering the use of block chain as a tool to give some power back to the people in this digital age (thoughts for another post?). The function of NFTs to give power back to the artists. Which I fully support (of course, given that I am an artist).

That being said, as it exists today, it looks like it’s still white men that are mostly gaining from this. Not to say that there is something inherently wrong with it, but seems like an extension of the white male economic power structure that has existed. Financial literacy deficit between the average brown/black/minority person and the average white person as a driver of this structure is something that is always brought up when discussing the topic. But of course, financial literacy does nothing when impoverished; because how can you save if you can barely survive, how can you invest when living paycheck to paycheck.

So, it seems there is a similar phenomenon happening now. “What the hell is blockchain?” “How does Bitcoin work” “How do I get Etherium” etc. So on and so forth. So, this is a whole new language now, pretty different than the lingo of traditional financial literacy. But I do think it’s important for people to learn up. Education is changing and information is all around us. I’m speaking from a place of privilege obviously as I type from an ivory tower in a developing country. But as all things do, shit is changing (and has been for a while) and there seems to be approaching a “tipping point”of sorts. And it is during these historical times of change when the common person can take her/his/their part of the pie they deserve. Of course, it would have been great to buy a bitcoin when it was $1 because it would now be worth ~50K at the time that I wrote this, but it’s not too late to get into it and learn and buy $100 worth of bitcoin or etherium if one can afford it. I am not a financial advisor, so do your own research and make decisions based on that. I could be completely wrong.

I was reflecting on an old piece of art I created. One of my first “Original Concepts”. It’s a Blue and Purple bear painted in a kind of “color by numbers” style. He’s sitting slightly slouched on a stylized gold and black orb and he’s half smiling. The background is a deep red. The idea was: here’s this powerful creature of nature in a type of subdued state, maybe he just woke up from a hibernation. The original idea for the orb was supposed to represent the earth; this golden, precious globe floating through a treacherous void from which it is our only protection. Without this earth we would be promptly be destroyed by the forces just outside. But of course the golden vehicle is being enveloped by a dark matter… But art can have its many interpretation and each person should feel empowered to determine that for themselves. Even I am now I’m looking at this piece slightly differently. I’m not sure if I was conscious of this at the time, but now it seems like I was that bear: content, subdued, constrained by the trappings of a lifestyle provided by a job that on the surface was a shiny symbol of success in a system that would otherwise require me be given up as a sacrifice.

Maybe each of us has a version of this orb that was painted gold years ago but now the paint is chipping away revealing nothing more than a ball and chain. Maybe one of those things is the economic system we operate in today. Maybe American capitalism needs to change and maybe the blockchain can enable that and maybe it’ll be a more equitable system. Maybe it itself is just a new version of the same slavery. Maybe it will enable the rise of the killer robots that will be programmed to return the earth to a state of environmental equilibrium by way of Thanos-like ideology. Maybe this is all a dream and this next pinch will finally wake me up… Nope, this is the real world, I guess I’ll continue trying to make the best of it.

P.S. To honor that piece which was one of my first original Acrylic Pieces, I made my first NFT which is a digital version of that.




Josh Loera

I quit my job in the Civil Engineering Industry to pursue my passion in arts. I’m a Mex-American, Chicano artist that loves to bring BIPOC beauty to the front