As an artist with a social media following, Hermiston resident Amy Fuentes is used to attention. Now, though, a new venue is housing her work.
The Hermiston Public Library chose Fuentes as its artist of the month. Her paintings will be on display in the library throughout September.
The 22-year-old artist said she is figuring out her future. Currently a personal banker at Washington Federal in Hermiston, she has been living in town since the seventh grade. She graduated from Hermiston High School, and she took art classes for three of her four years there.
But it was back in elementary school where she “discovered” herself as an artist. Her uncle Gerardo Zamora, an artist, introduced art to her.
“I’d watch him draw, and it intrigued me,” she said. He showed both her and her sister how to draw. He is a pencil artist, but also does pen and graffiti-style work. She keeps in close contact with him by sending him her work. He responds by telling her how proud he is of her.
Meanwhile, Fuentes’ sister also continued her drawing but began work in fashion, drawing dresses.
Fuentes draws subjects that interest her. Music is a topic to which she frequently returns. She has drawn JayCool, Kendrick Lamar and Drake.
She likes the messages of these rap artists. JayCool, for instance, speaks to the meaning of life — life is more than money and fame. Little things matter. Family matters.
When she started painting at age 19 she was merely trying to decorate her room. She viewed decor on social media and she would use it for inspiration. This was a good way to save money.
Painting on canvas, moving away from pencil, she developed as an artist. She continued painting, and she shared her work on her own social media. Then, one day, the library called.
“I was really surprised,” she said. “I was just posting for myself and maybe to get my work out there, but you never know who is watching.”
She is excited to have five paintings on display. They are of the rappers she likes, people who influenced her. One work, in particular, features Kendrick Lamar and JayCool. Fuentes painted this image from a concept she saw online. The image brings Lamar and JayCool together. She hopes that this collaboration can happen in real life.
Fuentes has never tried rapping, but she enjoys getting involved with rap through painting.
She also is doing non-rap-related work. She is working on a mural in DailyFix Nutrition, a Hermiston store she frequents.
She said working on a larger canvas, as she is now with the mural, is daunting. Still, a person needs to try new things, she said. The painting will be something simple involving flowers.
She is not yet sure of other ways she will expand. She has done a handful of commissions, but she is not overly fond of working like this. Art gives her peace and joy, and she does not get the same feeling when she creates work requested by other people. She likes making art that she chooses, of subjects she picks.
And though she has sold art, she is not putting her library paintings up for sale. This is not something she likes, because she becomes attached to her work.
At the moment, she wants to create more original paintings. Maybe, she said, she will start selling prints of her work. She would not mind selling prints. These prints might even be good gifts to the people who have helped her in her artistic endeavors.
Her mom, Esmerelda Zamora, has been a big supporter. She is a big promoter of Fuentes’ work. She has also bought Fuentes canvases and other supplies. Friends, including Araceli Santana and Nancy Nejia, have also been supportive.