KOKOMO, Ind. – A class trip to New York City inspired Adrian Gazcon to dream big about his artistic career.
“I told myself that one day, I would come back to New York to have an exhibit or something with art,” said Gazcon, a senior at Indiana University Kokomo.
Someday came sooner than he expected.
In early September, Gazcon was among 10 emerging international artists selected for a New York Fashion Week pop up gallery with Australian clothing brand Ksubi, New York Street artist Hidji, and performance artist Travis Rogers of DntWatchTv.
The selection gave him a big confidence boost as he prepares to graduate with a degree in New Media, Art, and Technology (NMAT) in December.
“I struggle with a lot of self-doubt, but I’ve overcome my expectations of how far I can take my art,” he said, “I proved myself wrong in a way. I can be a working artist if I just work hard.”
He heard about the Fashion Week exhibition on Hidji’s Instagram page, and submitted digital files of “Paranoia,” a 4-foot by 4-foot cartoon painting, for consideration. Within a few days his work was selected, and he received a carton to pack it up and ship it. He also received an invitation to the gallery’s opening and closing ceremonies, and was able to attend the closing.
He called it “a surreal experience” to see his painting included in the exhibition.
“At first I didn’t believe it was real,” he said. “Being from Logansport, Indiana, and here I am with my work as part of New York Fashion Week. Now I am thinking about what’s next, like doing exhibitions overseas, or having a clothing line. I saw at Fashion Week that people like to see art on clothes, and I may want to do that.”
He’s come a long way during his time at IU Kokomo. He started in the NMAT program, then changed to general studies, thinking a career as an artist was too big of a reach. Then, he thought about a quote from his favorite artist, Pablo Picasso, who said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
He considered studying a field that would lead to a more traditional career and decided he had to be true to himself.
“There was something, intuition, maybe, that I had to continue the artists’ path,” he said. “It was scary at first, thinking about if I’m an artist, how am I going to make a living? How am I going to do it? The only answer is you just do it. You just have to take the risk. If you don’t, you will never find out if you will make it or not.”
He’s building a fan base through social media, noting that “Paranoia” received nearly 5,000 likes, and more than 300,000 impressions — along with a request for permission from one admirer to have a tattoo of it. He’s also sold prints through that network.
“It’s kind of wild right now. When I post art, it kind of goes viral,” he said. “I never thought people would care. They are telling me how much they love my art, and how I inspire them.”
Gazcon is proud to be setting a good example for his younger family members, not only as the first in his family to go to college, but also the first artist.
“I always felt this pressure to do more, to inspire others,” he said. “I’m setting the path for my younger siblings. I just hope I can show them to take risks, and do what you love. In the end, it’s always worth it.”
Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.