Joaquin’s house sits on a modest street in an outer NE Portland neighborhood. The single-story yellow ranch does not stand out, but the experience inside tells a decidedly different story. Warm colors, cozy furniture, food and spices in the kitchen are all evidence of Joaquin’s life and history, but its his collection of original artwork that sets his home apart.
It all started when Joaquin met Heidi McBride at a social event and shared that he had wanted to own art his whole life but didn’t feel he knew what was ‘good’ or if he could afford it. She invited him to her gallery where he discovered “Rodeo Riders”, a painting by a Portland-based female British artist that resonated with Joaquin and made him feel at peace. At first it seemed out of his reach, but they resolved the hurdle with a payment schedule. Three months later his painting was ‘home’.
The work now hangs on a wall adjacent to his kitchen, perfect placement for a chef whose life takes place, a majority of the time, in this room. The painting depicts a cowboy kneeling, head bowed in contemplation, yet ready to spring up and into action. When Joaquin saw the work for the first time he thought, “Oh my God, there I am. I see myself in this piece. He’s is crouched, but ready and poised for something. And that’s kind of how I am. I’m not laying down, and not quite standing yet either. But, I’m ready!” And he’s right; it does resemble him. From the crisp white collared shirt to the cowboy’s physical characteristics to the metaphor relating to Joaquin’s own life trajectory.
Joaquin confides that he never thought he would buy art when he accepted the invitation to the gallery. Several years later, however, he has added other works to his collection. Joaquin says that “owning artwork makes me feel calm, like I don’t have to worry so much. It’s empowering.”
PORTLAND LOVES ART