The Owner's Story
Click to OpenClose
Juan Diego Cisneros was 11 when he ran away from home and worked as a shoe shine kid in Reynosa Tamaulipas MX. He recycled newspapers and helped around different places to have money to eat. He was eventually old enough to work in the fields in the US. He saved money and worked hard. Met his wife and they got married in their 20’s. They are now almost 50 years married. He just packed and left with no second thought to Kalamazoo MI in 1986 when their youngest child was not even a year old yet. Then after 8 months they came to Grand Rapids and Juan started his legacy. Traded a truck and $10,000 dollars cash for a house that he still to this day lives in. He would wake up at 4 am to go and look for scrap on garbage day, he would try to beat the garbage men to the route. Scraped cars and then eventually opened a shop on Granville ave that he sold and then bought the corner property right next to his house and stared Cisneros Tire Service. Unfortunately in 2001 the building caught fire and was demolished. For 5 years Juan went back to looking for scraps, towing cars and trying to make a dollar in every way. In 2006 He trusted a contractor to build the now standing building, but again misfortune struck. Juan had an appointment he couldn’t miss and the contractor said “put the building material order in my name and I’ll come pick it up in the morning for you” Juan agreed and the next day the order had been returned and the money refunded. The order was in the name of the contractor; he got the money and left the state. Against all odds and luck Juan still took it into his own hand (literally) and build the shop himself from the ground up.
Owner's Connection To GR, Thoughts on Liberation, Reclamation
About the Artist
Click to OpenClose
Born and raised in Mexico City, I have now lived in Grand Rapids for more than half of my life; that affords me bilingual and bi-cultural insight. In pursuing a career in graphic design I instead discovered printmaking and its inherent practical and social nature. Over the past 25 years, my love for printmaking has grown deeper. My work is inspired by my concern for the environment, relationships in nature, social justice, and food issues. I strive to create work that is easy to look at but difficult to swallow. Currently, I work from my studio at Tanglefoot and belong to that amazing collective of artists. Besides being a printmaker, I am a gardener, but I also enjoy cooking, paper making, paper cutting, mosaic making, dancing, creating with my daughter, and walking with my dog while listening to audiobooks. I recently completed a mural and mosaic project on Grandville Avenue, and a printmaking art residency in Veracruz, Mexico.
ARTIST'S CONNECTION TO GR, THOUGHTS ON LIBERATION, RECLAMATION
Liberation: Getting free from visible or invisible forces of oppression. Learning one’s history and place in the world so no one else does it for you.
Reclamation: To recover what is rightfully ours.