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Daily Inspiration: Meet Estéban Whiteside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Estéban Whiteside. 

Hi Estéban, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I always liked looking at art but never felt like it was something I could really do. So, I stayed away from trying. In 2013 I wanted to give my girlfriend (now wife) a gift but I was too broke to buy anything so I decided to paint her favorite pattern on a 9×12 in canvas. She loved it and I also realized I loved to paint. So that Christmas I painted my niece and nephew a few paintings and I was hooked. I started painting every day or at least sketching and after about a yr. of that, I got a museum assistant job at The Phillips Collection in DC. Being around masters work 8 hrs. a day had the most significant impact on my work than anything else. I started developing my style and learning about so many great artists. I did abstract work in the beginning but after the murder of Michael Brown, I decided I would only do work that had meaning to me and marginalized people everywhere. I wanted to start shaming oppressors and building up the oppressed in all my work. And I feel like I have since then. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road at all. But a good one. My work is in or face and very polarizing so I always have people who don’t agree with it and come at me in person and thru social media. It used to bother me but it really only fuels me to make more extreme work now. Another big obstacle for me was gallery representation. For two years I was represented and it felt like I was in a fucking conservatorship. I was told when to post and what size works to do and what topics I couldn’t touch on. Telling me not to work on a specific topic only makes me want to do it more. 

That was the hardest. I don’t feel like an artist I just felt like an employee again… 

Glad to be independent again! 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I feel like I approach my work like a reporter does. I feel like I’m creating a piece for a future article that will be written about the subject. My work is about issues that affect people of color like myself and other marginalized groups also. In 2019 my work was on Spike Lee’s show She’s Gotta Have it” for one episode and that is probably my proudest moment as an artist so far. I love Spike Lee and his work so this was a huge self-esteem boost for me as an artist. 

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
My favorite childhood memory is the feeling of excitement on Christmas Eve and then of course opening presents the next day. I loved them all. Can’t pinpoint one in particular bc they all were great. 

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