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Sergio Cabrera paints with all the colors of his heart

Every brush stroke represents emotion in Sergio Cabrera's paintings.
Photo credit:
Sergio Cabrera

Sergio Cabrera is a painter who never stops. And the desire to create things on paper, canvas or whatever material he has at hand goes way back to when he saw his dad Benito making sketches of cartoons such as the Fintstones and Disney characters for his sister Xochi.

“That's all it took for me get into drawing, painting. Right away I wanted crayons and color pencils ‘cause I wanted to be like my dad who I thought was the greatest artist,” says Sergio.

Originally from Firebaugh in Central California, Sergio found great inspiration from Bob Ross of PBS’ “The Joy of Painting.”

But during his high school years, Sergio wasn’t creating landscapes and still life like Ross was; his interests were more otherworldly. 

“I drew a lot demonic drawings, I still wasn’t into actual painting until I was eighteen, that's when I really feel in love with painting.”

Sergio is 32 now, and lives in Corona, CA. He eventually wants to move back to San Diego because he loves the Hillcrest gayborhood, but for now he continues to make his art just a little further up the coast.

He started out using acrylic paints but has since transitioned into oils. He still uses acrylics for the back ground. He says he can add glitter to that base and make the paintings come alive.

“The main image I use oil paint which I have been using for the past three years, and I'm so glad I did even though it’s more work, it’s totally worth it ‘cause the paintings come out way better.”

The process from inspiration to a finished painting can take one to two whole days, and a week for it to completely dry.

Sergio uses his works of art to express his emotions, “like when guys hurt me or lie to me I can't really do anything but to paint my feelings.”

He says he does some of his best work when angry or sad. However his inspirations still come from supernatural places.

“The last couple years I’ve been really inspired by aliens," says Sergio. “I have a weird infatuation with them and have been doing my alien series for the last two-and-a-half years.”

“So I guess I paint about boys and aliens.” He laughs, “Deep, I know.”

But these emotions aren't limited to Sergio. Our own publisher Johnathan Hale, recently lost a beloved member of his family, Ace the cat.

Sergio says he loves cats and hearing about Johnathan's loss was heartbreaking, so he created a portrait of Ace, "I wanted a light fresh mint background to match Ace's eyes I love how the painting came out and really happy that Jonathan loved it."

How many of these original works of art has he created over the years you may ask. He cannot give an exact total, there are too many.

“I haven't kept track of paintings since high school ...but for the last three-and-a-half years I have finally been writing them down and keeping track of them, numbering them. So far I have two-hundred and thirty-nine paintings.”

Celebrities and pop icons are another of his favorite subjects, from Pennywise the clown from “IT” to Tupac Shakur to Madonna, Sergio is always thinking of his next model.

But there was one that he held most dear to his heart and he says that work was the most difficult of his career.

“My Mom Esparanza Marquez passed away about two months ago,” Sergio says. “I made a painting about how much I missed her and loved her. I wouldn't say it was complicated to paint but hard and full of so many emotions ....almost crying the whole time I was painting it. So I would say that was the hardest painting I've ever had to make.”

People are already taking notice of Sergio’s works. He is currently working on a few commissioned pieces and then he will get back to making the weird and disturbing alien series which he calls “awesome.”

It’s been a long and wonderful journey for Sergio filled with many inspirations, some letdowns and heartbreaks. But he has taken all of those feelings and learned to use the stroke of a paintbrush dipped in color to express them, setting his soul free for the world to see.

But in the end he would not have it any other way. Filling your heart with something you love and making things that will touch other people isn’t for everyone. But for Sergio it’s everything that makes him the person he is today.

“Painting is what I love,” he says, “and it’s the only thing in life that makes me happy.”

If you would like to see Sergio’s paintings you can go to the photo gallery on our Facebook page. Or on Instagram where he says he posts more pictures of his works than any other place.