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by Lorain Watters ÓPERA BHUTAN UN PUENTE ENTRE CULTURAS por Andrés Rodríguez



From the editor I’ve always been attracted to Claude Monet’s works. The way in which he uses thick brush strokes, how he handles nature in open spaces and his use of light colors just do it for me. So when I visited the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, and had those big and beautiful purpled canvases staring back at me, all I could think of, after the initial awe, was “Why the hell doesn’t El Paso have something like this?” I’ve heard claims that denounce El Paso’s lack of an art scene range from, “Well, El Paso is El Paso” to “We don’t need great art, we have the mountains."Others that range from “But we have Tom Lea” to “It doesn’t pay to be an artist here.” To be certain, El Paso is El Paso, the mountains are great and Lea was a fantastic painter, but this city’s artistic sensibilities are expanding, or are at least finding a greater audience. This issue is dedicated to exploring that under the big umbrella that is art—those who paint, draw, dance, sing or are musicians, even those who practice the art of computer gaming—and those who promote them in El Paso. Lorain Watters outlines in our main story, for example, how local galleries and small businesses are bringing the community downtown to experience art. She also provides a look into OSAPLE, a cultural collective that aims to promote El Paso as a great city. In this issue, we also write about UTEP’s centennial project, Opera Bhutan, which will premiere in October in Thimphu, Bhutan, with the help of students at the Department of Music. Here you can also find how three UTEP students are striving to redefine Chicano art through their project, Chucollective, by Miguel Orta. Alejandro Alba also delves into the lives of student MMORPG gamers. After I returned home from visiting Europe’s art museums, I couldn’t help but realize that my initial question was facetious. We have home-grown talent here, at this university–see our Minero showcase of student artists throughout the magazine and online–and this city, and that's what inspired this issue.

Thank you for reading, Andrés Rodríguez

minero magazine

Volume XVII / Fall 2013

EDITOR IN CHIEF/Andrés Rodríguez ART DIRECTOR/Christian Juárez COPY EDITOR/Verónica Enriquez WRITERS/Andrés Rodríguez /Alejandro Alba /Lorain Watters /Miguel Orta photography/Aaron Montes /Lorain Watters

MINERO MAGAZINE Designers/Diego Burciaga Department of Student Publications /Fernie Enriquez The University of Texas at El Paso /Edgar Hernandez 105 Union East /Christian Juárez 500 West University Avenue /Andrés Rodríguez El Paso, Texas 79968-0622 advertising designers/Fernie Enriquez /Hugo Garza /Edgar Hernandez accounting specialst/Isabel Castillo administrative secretraRY/Marcela R. Luna Advertising Director/Verónica Gonzalez Cover by EDITORIAL ADVISOR/Lourdes Cárdenas Christan Juarez dIRECTOR/Kathleen Flores

Check out additional multimedia content and the fully translated stories at


Minero Magazine is published by UTEP students through the Department of Student Publications. It is published once every fall and spring semester. Periodicals postage is paid at El Paso, Texas. Minero Magazine is not responsible for any claims made by advertisers. Additional policy information may be obtained by calling Students Publications at 915-747-5161. Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the university.


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OSAPLE's Gabriel Acuña, co-founder, and Carlos López, creative director.

By Lorain Watters Design by Fernando Enriquez Photography by Aaron Montes


abriel Acuña was born in El Paso, but he never got to grow up in his hometown. At the age of 1, his father finished basic training for the military and he and his family moved to Ft. Sill, Okla. That was the first of a series of moves that took him to Mannheim, Germany, Ft. Carson, Colo., Ft. Benning, Ga., Stuttgart, Germany and finally to Alexandria,Va., where he graduated from high school. After high school, Acuña decided to return to El Paso. He enrolled at UTEP and graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in media advertising and a minor in creative writing. “When I would say that I came back to El Paso, people would get mad and ask, ‘why would you want to come back, there is nothing here,’” Acuña says. “They didn’t have any pride and that sat with me.” Inspired by this experience, Acuña founded OSAPLE, a cultural collective that seeks to promote and push El Paso as a great city. He has worked on the campaign while working at Stanton Street Technology Group as an account executive, serving as a president for the


Advertising Federation of El Paso, performing as marketing director for Sun City Kickball and helping with the production of the annual Neon Desert Music Festival. “When we first started (OSAPLE), we tried coming up with creative ways to display the pride of the city,” Acuña says. “We conceptualized ideas for t-shirts, buttons and pins with the El Paso star imprinted on them.” The name OSAPLE came from the idea of taking the negative aspects of El Paso and looking at them from a different perspective, Acuña says. The logo depicts what El Paso represents. The first t-shirts, which had the words Chuco Chula printed on them, were released in December 2010.“They received a good response and we took a while to reprint them, but finally did and started selling them at Klothes Lime,” Acuña says. Carlos López, raised in Ciudad Juárez, graduated from UTEP with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a minor in printmaking in 2004. As OSAPLE’s creative director, he comes up with the ideas and designs that will be used on their merchandise.

Pins and shirts designs courtesy of OSAPLE “Depending on what projects we are doing and with others, I will come up with the ideas and designs. Everything we do with OSAPLE is El Paso pride and making it a contemporary looking feel in art design,” López says. “We try to change perspectives and change the way people think of El Paso.” Along with his partnership with Acuña in OSAPLE, López is the design director at Sanders\Wingo Advertising. In May 2012, the first OSAPLE buttons were printed and sold at the Neon Desert Music Festival. “When we counted our leftover buttons, we noticed that the ‘I (El Paso Star) EP’ button outsold all other buttons by triple the amount, so it was a no-brainer that this would be our next t-shirt design,” Acuña says. The buttons and newly printed t-shirts were sold at Chalk the Block, a local arts festival, in October 2012.“The only issue was that OSAPLE doesn’t have any type of funding, so anything that’s printed comes out of my own pocket,” Acuña says. “I knew a large run of t-shirts would cost a few hundred dollars so I took a chance and bought them with my own cash.” Just recently, OSAPLE unveiled three new designs, giving the group 10 different designs in total, all of which are printed on buttons as well. “The arts are up there with the main idea of OSAPLE–people saying there is nothing to do in El Paso. We are trying to help kill the notion that there is nothing in entertainment because there is,” Acuña says. “When I walked around during the Last Thursdays event, it was after six o’clock and the streets weren’t dead, there was a nice heartbeat to downtown.” Along with merchandise, OSAPLE has hosted bar hops, which offers patrons the opportunity to visit bars located in the downtown area such as Hello Day Café, Bowie Feathers and Cabo Joe’s. With the bar hop, OSAPLE has gained potential sponsors, who Acuña says will help with future bar hops and other events that will include visiting art galleries. “We would do a different version (of the bar hop) that’s family friendly, but still keep the regular one,” Acuña says. “We would stop by the galleries (downtown), do some dance interpretation or collages, things like that. It would be the same route, but having something different for everyone.” OSAPLE also manages “Chuco! Talks,” a video and podcast series. Starting out as an online video series,

“Chuco! Talks” interviews different people from organizations and events, such as Chalk the Block, Hope and Anchor and The Royalty. “The production pieces are informative and we have one every week,” Acuña says. “We invite someone local to talk or to record a podcast, about 15 minutes, and they talk about things going on in El Paso.” Although OSAPLE is fairly new to El Paso residents, its 10 members are contributing to the city, devoted to spreading pride and making it a livelier place. “People compare El Paso to other places, like Chicago or New York and criticize the city. I think this city has a lot to offer and the people are friendly,” López says. “You don’t find this mix of food and personality in other parts of the country, and maybe that is because of the frontier we have with Juárez, you see people coming all day back and forth—an interesting phenomena.” Acuña says there are many upcoming projects and new merchandise planned for the future, but the end goal is still the same – to enhance the art scene and promote pride towards the city of El Paso. “Most people don’t know about us and what we do, so we try to promote art, fashion, cuisine and places to hang out that are in El Paso,” he says. “We are trying to make a strong appearance on Facebook because there are things to see in El Paso but you have to explore it. It is not institutionalized like in other places, you need to go out there.”


student showcase

Carlos López, creative director, and Gabriel Acuña, co-founder of OSAPLE.

Gabriel Acuña nació en El Paso pero no vivió en su ciudad natal hasta que llegó el momento de ir a la universidad y se inscribió en UTEP. En 2003, se graduó con una licenciatura en publicidad de medios y creación literaria.

C. Damian Balderrama is a senior media advertising major, minoring in graphic design. He has experience with ceramics, painting, drawing, embossing, screen printing and garment construction. "Art is a way to escape from reality, not a necessarily dull reality, just to a more interesting and colorful one."


Al regresar se dio cuenta que muchos paseños no se enorgullecen de su ciudad. Entonces Acuña creó OSAPLE, un proyecto  que busca promover a El Paso como una gran ciudad. “Cuando apenas empezamos, intentamos idear maneras creativas para exhibir el orgullo de la ciudad”, dice Acuña.  El nombre OSAPLE, viene de la idea de ver las partes negativas de El Paso desde una perspectiva diferente.  Carlos López, director creativo de OSAPLE, originario de Ciudad Juárez, se graduó de UTEP en diseño gráfico y grabado en el 2004. López es

el encargado de proponer ideas para la mercancía, la cual es orgullosamente de El Paso. OSAPLE tiene varios proyectos como Chuco! Talks, una video serie podcast en la cual entrevistan a gente relacionada con organizaciones y eventos de la ciudad. Además tienen su línea de mercancía que promueve El Paso con botones (pins) y camisetas.  Acuña dice que hay muchos proyectos y mercancía que están por venir, pero la meta final es la misma—el promover la escena del arte y orgullo hacia la ciudad de El Paso.


Reinventando el artechicano



on la idea de promocionar a los creadores del arte mestizo paseño y fomentar la creatividad y la pasión por el arte visual en la frontera, un grupo de estudiantes de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso creó en el 2008 Chucollective, un colectivo que busca reunir el talento emergente de esta región, incluyendo pintores, diseñadores, fotógrafos y dibujantes, bajo un mismo sello. “Queríamos juntar artistas de El Paso que no han sido vistos antes”, dice Elisa Lozano, estudiante de tercer año de diseño gráfico, quien junto con Rodolfo Rincones y José "Luigi" Martínez, también estudiantes de tercer año de diseño gráfico, fundó Chucollective. “Hay muchas exhibiciones en la ciudad, pero hay mucha gente que no ha sido expuesta y lo necesitan”. A pesar de que los artistas involucrados en el colectivo no consideran su arte puramente chicano, José Luigi ve el trabajo del colectivo como una nueva expresión de esta corriente. “A mucha gente no le gusta la palabra (chicano), y aún menos a los artistas”, dice José Luigi. “(Sin embargo) el simple hecho de ser un artista de El Paso te hace un artista chicano porque no eres puramente americano, tienes influencia mexicana y americana”. Stacy Schultz, profesora de arte chicano en UTEP, dice que es algo común que muchos artistas fronterizos no se sientan identificados con el término chicano. “Muchos asocian chicano a pandillero”, dice Schultz. “La mayoría prefieren identificarse como mexico-americanos o hispanos”. Rodolfo, mejor conocido como Wox, busca sacar provecho de sus raíces mexicanas e influencia estadounidense y plasmarlo en su obra. “Yo soy un híbrido, más no literalmente chicano”, dice Rodolfo, quien además de buscar una licenciatura en diseño gráfico, estudia pintura. Rodolfo piensa que a partir de sus orígenes, “uno puede referenciar cosas más amplias”. Elisa, por su parte, dice intentar agregar piezas de arte chicano o del suroeste con influencia mexicana a su obra. “Es de dónde vengo, tengo que incorporarlo de alguna manera”, dice Elisa. Chucollective tiene influencia de varios artistas de diversos antecedentes y nacionalidades, desde la obra clásica del muralista mexicano Diego Rivera hasta la escultura abstracta y contemporánea del artista plástico americano Donald Judd. Imágenes cortesía de Chucollective (De izquierda a derecha) "Infinite" por Rodolfo Rincones y "Abstract Study of Gnome" por Jose "Luigi" Martínez.

Imagenes cortesia de Chucollective. (De izquierda a derecha) "Infinite" por Rodolfo Rincones, "Abstract Study of Gnome" por Jose "Luigi" Martinez y "Untitled" por Elisa Lozano.


José Luigi dice haber sido influenciado principalmente por el arte callejero del inglés Banksy; Rodolfo asegura que las influencias más fuertes en su trabajo vienen de Max Ernst, Frida Kahlo y Salvador Dalí, mientras que para Elisa, la ilustradora Julianne Moore ha sido su fuente de inspiración. Sin embargo todos coinciden en que su principal motivación viene del trabajo artístico de sus propios compañeros.

El propósito de Chucollective no solo es mostrar el talento local que surge de las entrañas de la ciudad, sino también servir de mensajeros para los ideales de cada artista. José Luigi dice darle más importancia al significado de su obra que a su estética. “La razón por la que comenzó a interesarme el arte no era porque fuera bueno en dibujo o en pintura”, dice José Luigi. “Lo que yo quería era expresar una idea… yo veía la pintura como ese medio de hacerlo”. Rodolfo dice procurar encontrar un balance entre la estética de su trabajo y el conceptualismo de su mensaje. “Algo puede ser muy estético pero usualmente (el espectador) no tiene tanta inclinación hacia que están haciendo y, (por otro lado) hay gente que es muy conceptual, pero dejan a un lado la estética”, dice Rodolfo. Chucollective ha tenido la oportunidad de mostrar y vender su trabajo exitosamente en varios lugares, tales como el hotel Camino Real, durante los eventos Last Thursdays en Loft Light Studio y en puestos de ventas en Neon Desert Festival. Ellos también usan el Internet como un herramienta de exhibición y venta.

Schultz, quien sin embargo admite que la escena del arte paseño está en crecimiento y está siendo más aceptado y mostrado en lugares como el Stanley and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts en UTEP. Según miembros del colectivo, El Paso es una ciudad rica en diversas formas de arte a punto de salir a flote. “La escena del arte se está calentando, un ‘boom’ está a punto de pasar aquí en El Paso, culturalmente”, dice José Luigi. Chucollective ambiciona el crecimiento de la escena del arte en El Paso y darla a conocer a otros lugares del país. “Ojala Chucollective se expanda más allá del ‘Chuco’, ese es el propósito”, dice Rodolfo, quien asegura estar trabajando en expandir su propuesta artística al resto del país a través de giras y galerías fuera de El Paso. José Luigi ve su proyecto como una nueva expresión del arte chicano con una visión joven, nunca antes vista en la ciudad y habla con entusiasmo sobre las últimas corrientes de artistas locales. “Son generaciones que quieren que haya más educación en el arte y más cultura en El Paso”, dice José Luigi, quien busca exponer una nueva corriente de arte chicano con influencia del abstractismo estadounidense y en enviar un mensaje de unidad en la cultura mexico-americana. “La generación de ahora está hambrienta de cosas nuevas, ya no quiere más Southwestern… somos una nueva generación de arte chicano”.


- Jose Luigi Martínez

El colectivo ha utilizado redes sociales como Twitter, Facebook e Instagram para promocionar el trabajo del grupo y los eventos y galerías donde han de presentarse. Pero existe aún bastante camino por recorrer. El grupo conoce la dificultad económica que representa el dedicarse a la creación de obras artísticas en El Paso. “La gente (rara vez) siente esa conexión con el arte; les gusta y lo respetan, pero no lo compran”, dice José Luigi. “Prefieren gastar 200 dólares en salir de fiesta y comprar una pintura que vieron en Target por 20 dólares—que no saben ni quién la hizo—en vez de comprar una pieza de arte local que saben que nada más ellos van a tener”. A pesar de los obstáculos para sustentarse económicamente a través del arte, el colectivo se muestra optimista. “Tratamos de vender arte, pero esta bien si la gente lo ve e intenta entenderlo”, dice Rodolfo. “Creo que es más importante que la gente este expuesta al arte a que lo compre”. Los miembros de Chucollective atribuyen gran parte de su éxito a lo que se les ha enseñado en la universidad. Muchos artistas paseños optan por buscar suerte en otras ciudades creyendo que la escena artística de El Paso está muy limitada. “Mucha gente piensa que no la va a hacer, y se va a Austin, me imagino que les va igual o peor porque pierden contacto con su ciudad”, dice José Luigi. “Lo que hace la identidad de cualquier artista en música, arte, video o film, es su ciudad natal”. La profesora Schultz asegura que aún queda mucho camino por recorrer. “Aún no podemos competir con Los Ángeles, parcialmente, porque somos una ciudad más pequeña”, dice

IN BRIEF A group of UTEP students, looking to reinvent how Chicano art is perceived, started Chucollective in 2008. They seek to unite local talent, including painters, designers, photographers and illustrators under the same label. Chucollective is made up of José "Luigi" Martínez, Rodolfo Rincones and Elisa Lozano, graphic design majors. They are influenced by artists such as Diego Rivera, Donald Judd, Bansky, Max Ernest and Frida Kahlo, among others. Members of the artist collective say they don't subscribe to nationality, either Mexican or American, when working as artists. "I'm a hybrid, but not literally Chicano," Rodolfo says. "One can reference broader things." Chucollective has shown and sold their work at the Camino Real Hotel, Last Thursdays, Loft Light Studio and Neon Desert Festival. José Luigi says that the art scene in El Paso is expanding and is looking to take the project to other parts of the country. His ultimate goal, he says, is to bring a fresh perspective to Chicano art. "The current generation is hungry for new things, they don't want Southwestern anymore...we are a new generation of Chicano art."



— A look into El Paso's growing art scene —

“I think the arts here are exploding." –Peter Svarzbein, Purple Pop-Up Gallery founder

story by

Lorain watters

designed by

D iego B ur c iaga

photograph y by aaron montes and

lorain watters


It’s Thursday night and the thumping beats echo against a darkening sky as a local deejay presses keys in rhythmic patterns on his laptop, wiping away sweat from the El Paso heat. Local vendors and buyers talk over the music as the best price for a “oneof-a-kind” painting is bartered for. Food trucks are parked in an empty lot as employees throw meat on a sizzling grill, season shrimp, beat dough for pizzas and decorate cupcakes, creating a savory aroma that drifts through the streets. The scene was part of Last Thursdays, an event that takes place every last Thursday of each month, and illustrates the changes going on in Downtown El Paso. Several artists, business owners and non-profit organizations have joined efforts to revitalize downtown and to offer a lively art scene for the El Paso community. Loft Light Studio, a photography studio that opened in August of 2010, is heavily involved in the arts movement and revitalization of Downtown El Paso, said co-founder Steve Garduno. “The move or objective is to make a difference in our city, with downtown in mind of course, when it comes to the arts and media aspect,” Garduno says. “We want to be able to provide a place that El Paso has not had, like Loft Light photography studio and events.” Along with the photography studio, Loft Light also hosts art shows, where local artists can submit their work and have it displayed in the studio. They were also instrumental in bringing to life mARTket, an event that happens every last Thursday of the month, which is made up of artists, vendors and is located in 18-20 different venues throughout the downtown area. “The idea of mARTket started at Loft Light, but it grew so fast and so big we had to expand,” Garduno says. “Now the city of El Paso has backed us up and we are now in conjunction with most galleries or art-based

businesses downtown, as well as coffee shops. Three to four years ago it wasn’t alive and as spread out around town as it is today.” With events such as mARTket and businesses such as Loft Light Studio, El Paso’s art scene is not only changing and allowing more opportunities for local artists to promote themselves, it is also becoming a visual spectacle to admire. Silver IsReal, owner of EsTYLOW JUNKTiON, a couture, apparel and image design company based out of El Paso and founder of the non-profit Urban Art-Fitters, focuses on the style of art known as urban art. Urban Art-Fitters uses urban art and designs from EsTYLOW JUNKTiON to create murals on the walls of buildings around the downtown area. Some of the murals include “We Made Contact,” which is on the wall of The Mix at Union Plaza; “Dead Boy,” which is on the wall of Krystal Jeans on Fourth Street; and a metro bus, which is painted on the wall of Purple Pop-Up Gallery on Mills Street. “Urban art is often associated with vandalism and trespassing, the Urban Art-Fitters work closely with building owners and the city to avoid upsetting anyone with our murals and messages and to reassure our work will remain undisturbed,” IsReal says. “Since Downtown El Paso has what seems like an endless amount of alley space, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to clean up and attempt to beautify the same areas, which shoppers and residents usually avoid.” Carlo Mendo, co-founder of Loft Light Studio, brainstormed with IsReal to develop the concept and the first design was released in January 2012 as a t-shirt that says Make Love Not War. IsReal says the design was inspired by Jeannette A. Lazaro, who wrote the words on her mirror a couple of days before she was in a fatal car accident. “She passed away in January 2011. Jeannette and I had dated over the course of the year and a half prior to the events and she involved herself in many of the projects Carlo and I worked on,” IsReal says. “The loss was a painful one, but we learned to cope with it through our work and memories.” Urban Art-Fitters received a lot of attention with this design and other non-profit organizations and artists began contacting them to get involved. “Now that we have good weather again, we’re going to move forward with two projects, which are still in the works, but will involve the youth organization Latinitas,” IsReal says. Working with Marina Monsisvais, owner of Barracuda Public Relations, Urban Art-Fitters has secured two walls, one in the Sunset Heights area and the other in Central El Paso, which will display what the artists are calling a “mariPAZa” design, a butterfly ingrained with a peace sign. “So far, Carlo and I, along with various artists from around the city, have put up the existing murals with spontaneous designs and collaboration.

Loft Light Studio MINERO MAGAZINE / FALL 2013



student showcase

Loft Light Studio All marketing and graphic design is done by me through my image and apparel design business,” IsReal says. “Carlo and I focus a lot on keeping things fresh, genuine and hip, which is reflected in our various approaches at spreading the word.” With the contributions of local artists, more events are happening downtown on a weekly basis. “The Urban Art-Fitters plans to revolutionize the way we see the city, but it looks like the revolution has already started. We may have lit a match a few years back without realizing it,” IsReal says. Along with these efforts, another art space has emerged to display the artistic talent of El Paso. Peter Svarzbein opened the Purple Pop-Up Gallery after he was asked to do a pop-up gallery for Chalk the Block last year. “I did it with my friend Serg, whom I have known since high school. He had an idea of wanting to do some sort of space and I had an idea of wanting to do a gallery,” Svarzbein says. “After the pop-up with Chalk The Block, we contacted some of the owners of this building (on Mills Street) wanting to do something long term and they were down with the idea.” The gallery officially opened on Dec. 1, 2012, the same day as the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree, which brought at least a thousand people to the area. “We had some good sales during that time as well, but it really wasn’t about that,” Svarzbein says. “We use this space as art spaces, performances, karaoke night, menorah lighting for Hanukah, a lot of things, but our art openings will always be free.” The pop-up gallery is like an art collective, Svarzbein says, created by a group of individuals who want to promote El Paso’s art scene and provide a place where artists can showcase their work to the community and art collectors can come and see the talent of El Paso.“I think the arts here are exploding,” Svarzbein said. “This gallery, if I can be really hopeful with it, is sort of like catching a firefly in a jar. We are catching that firefly and letting that light be exposed. It’s a pop-up gallery, so if this is the last show we do or move to another space, it is completely okay. The whole idea is to create a space that will show the light that is happening here.” Svarzbein thinks the El Paso community should be involved in the revitalization of downtown.

Yajaira Enriquez is a senior graphic design major and painting minor. She specializes in illustration, typography, packaging and poster design. "I am passionate about design and painting and incorporate conceptual ideas and visual solutions in all of my work."

“We need to motivate property owners and other creators and artists to get off their butts and make something happen,” he says. “ The baseball stadium is great, the other museums that are coming along are great, but to

" looks like the revolution has already started." -Silver IsReal


bring back and create an urban fabric, an urban experience, a downtown experience, it is not going to happen with big projects, it happens with 1,000 small projects – tea shops, galleries, cafes opening up, somebody sweeping the floor in the mornings and washing windows, having people that care and are concerned with creating a community, creating a space – that is how a downtown comes alive.”

Con la ayuda de varios artistas, empresarios y organizaciones sin fines de lucro, el centro de El Paso ha crecido de manera constante, convirtiendose en un lugar animado y vibrante para el arte. El estudio de fotografía Loft Light Studio, que abrió en agosto de 2010, forma parte de este movimiento de arte, dice su cofundador Steve Garduno.“Queremos proveer un lugar que El Paso no ha tenido, como Loft Light Photography”. Loft Light también fue uno de los organizadores de mARTket, un evento que se lleva a cabo el último jueves de cada mes, en el cual participan artistas y proveedores. Con eventos como mARTket y negocios como Loft Light Studio, la escena de arte en El Paso esta dando oportunidades a artistas locales para promover su trabajo. Silver IsReal, es dueño de EsTYLOW JUNKTiON, una compañía de diseño e imagen establecida en El Paso y también es fundador de Urban Art-Fitters, una organización sin fines de lucro, que se enfoca en el estilo de arte conocido como arte urbano.“Urban Art-Fitters planea revolucionar la forma en la que vemos la ciudad y la revolución ya empezó”, dice IsReal. Junto a estos esfuerzos ha surgido también otro espacio para mostrar el talento artístico de El Paso. Peter Svarzbein, abrió Purple Pop-Up Gallery en diciembre de 2012. La galería es de arte colectiva, dice Svarzbein, creada por un grupo que quiso promover la escena del arte en El Paso y un lugar donde artistas puedan mostrar su trabajo a la comunidad.


ÓPERA BHUTAN UN PUENTE ENTRE CULTURAS Por Andrés Rodríguez Diseño por Christian Juárez n Bhutan, situado en los Himalayas, no existen los teatros de ópera, pero Stefano Vizioli tiene a miembros de la Academia Real de Artes Escénicas en Bhutan en una reunión creativa preparando su entrada al escenario improvisado. Algunos actores llevan banderas, otros tamborines y cada uno desde su esquina avanza al centro del escenario en una especie de danza. Vizioli, el director de ópera en Roma, es el director de escena de Ópera Bhutan y desde 2012 ha formado parte del equipo que ha preparado a los cuatro cantantes internacionales profesionales, los músicos y bailarines de la Academia Real y a los más de 30 estudiantes de UTEP que formarán parte del coro y la orquesta en la ópera. Pero Ópera Bhutan, que se presentará el 12 de octubre en la Academia Textil Real en Thimphu, lleva años de preparación. Aaron Carpene, conductor de músicos establecido en Roma, viajaba, producía y grababa por Europa mientras trabajaba como asistente musical para Alan Curtis en el 2004. Era una de las mejores orquestas de Handel, dice Carpene, pero el quería darle a la música un entorno distinto.


Fotografía cortesía de University Communications.

“Fue todo muy bonito el trabajar con este alto nivel de producción y valor artístico, pero pensaba que sería interesante llevar una de estas producciones de ópera a un nuevo contexto, algo completamente diferente, para darle aire nuevo, para darle un nuevo espacio”, dice Carpene.

"AL PRINCIPIO ERA UN CASTILLO EN EL AIRE." - aaron carpene director

Su amigo, Preston Scott, quien en ese entonces trabajaba como abogado ecologista en Bhutan, le comentó que los bhutaneses estaban buscando algún tipo de propuesta musical nueva para llevar a su país. Carpene puso manos a la obra y empezó a formular Ópera Bhutan. “Al principio era un castillo en el aire. Digo era una idea loca y al principio parecía totalmente improbable y completamente irrealizable”, dice Carpene. “De hecho por muchos años estábamos buscando un asociado, quien le pudiera dar piernas al proyecto”. En el 2008, con la crisis económica y el cambio de gobierno en Bhutan, el proyecto se vio más inalcanzable, dice Carpene. “Fue un año muy bajo para el proyecto y parecía por esas razones que nunca se pondría en marcha”. Ese mismo año el Smithsonian Folklife Festival en Washington D.C. tuvo a Bhutan como el país invitado. Scott era el curador del festival entonces

tarlo, darle una oportunidad y ver qué pasaba”, dice Leslie. “En realidad no fui a la sala de audiciones pensando que iba a conseguir un lugar. Fue más como tirar semillas y ver cuál crece en una florecita, y esta lo hizo”. Leslie, quien es parte del conjunto de música árabe en UTEP, cantó “V’adoro, pupille” de Handel en su audición y consiguió formar parte del coro, el cual coadyuvará a comentar la historia y a establecer la acción y el ambiente, dice Leslie.

Fotografía cortesía de University Communications. Leslie Yapor en un ensayo. La estudiante de cuarto año en UTEP forma parte del coro de Ópera Bhutan. y Carpene se dio cuenta que la Universidad de Texas en El Paso estaba por recibir el templo bhutanés, o el Lhakang, construido para el festival y así encontró el socio que buscaba para realizar su ópera. “Preston (Scott) pensó, ‘Wow. Si esta gente de Texas esta interesada en (conseguir) este templo, tal vez también estén interesados en apoyarnos en nuestro proyecto loco’ ”, dice Carpene. La ópera es completamente desconocida en Bhutan, dice Carpene, y aclara que mientras investigaba el proyecto lo último que quería hacer era llegar a colonizar a los bhutaneses con esta arte occidental. “Pensé, ¿No sería más interesante, no ayudaría más a nuestros amigos bhutaneses a entender nuestra forma de arte si se involucran activamente en el proyecto?” dice Carpene. “Pensé, ¿Por qué no hacemos esto en un diálogo cultural donde podemos, dentro de la historia, introducir aspectos de la tradición bhutanés musical, de danza y canto?” Carpene decidió montar la obra “Acis y Galatea” de George Frideric Handel ya que encontró en ella elementos occidentales que compartía el mundo oriental lo cual le sirvió para unir el arte de la ópera con la cultura bhutanés. “He éstado viendo, investigando, estudiando nuestra cultura, mitos griegos, etcétera", dice Carpene. "He estado estudiando la cultura bhutanés para intentar poder identificar estos aspectos comunes y a través de ellos crear estos puentes para que el producto final no sea tan esquizofrénico, sino una idea mas homogénea”. Algunos de esos elementos comunes aparecen en la ópera como “Cyclops”, quien representa la montaña Etna, mientras que la tradición en Bhutan dicta que dioses habitan las montañas. Leslie Yapor, estudiante de cuarto año de música comercial en UTEP, asistió a un recital, donde la profesora de canto y ópera en UTEP, Elisa Frase Wilson, explicó los requisitos para formar parte del elenco. “Decidí inten-

“Nos están dando la oportunidad de ser expuestos a este proyecto que pudo haber sido hecho completamente por profesionales”, dice Leslie. “Será la primera producción de ópera en vivo en Bhutan, así es que nosotros estaremos estrenando este tipo de música en otro país. Eso es una gran cosa, es un hito”. Nathan Black, de Washington D.C., se inscribió en UTEP para estudiar violonchelo con el profesor Zuill Bailey y recibió la invitación para formar parte del evento la primavera pasada. “Mientras el evento se avecinaba más y más, nos dimos cuenta de que sería una colaboración no sólo con el departamento de coro en UTEP, sino con unos de los mejores especialistas en música temprana del mundo”, dice Nathan, estudiante de tercer año de interpretación musical. La profesora Wilson,Vizioli y el director de la Ópera de El Paso, David Grabarkewitz, junto con Carpene y Scott, sirven como los directores de Ópera Bhutan. El elenco también incluye cuatro cantantes profesionales de Italia, Estados Unidos, Canadá y Camerún junto con músicos de la Academia Real de las Artes Escénicas en Bhutan y la Academia Textil Real. “Lo que es especial es que estaremos tocando la ópera en estilo de música temprana,” dice Nathan, quien toca la parte del basso continuo. “Aaron Carpene empezó a trabajar con nosotros a finales del año pasado y entrenó a los músicos a tocar en ese estilo...Este estilo de tocar toma meses y meses de preparación”. La música temprana son los periodos de música que demuestran estilos distintos a la música clásica occidental de los siglos XVIII y XIX. Incluye los periodos que preceden la música clásica, el medieval, el renacimiento y lo barroco. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart adaptó “Acis y Galatea” en 1788 al estilo contemporáneo, algo que Carpene cree disminuye las intenciones originales de Handel. Para celebrar el centenario de la universidad, Ópera Bhutan tendrá un estreno en UTEP en otoño 2014.

Illustración por Christian Juárez MINERO MAGAZINE / FALL 2013



student showcase

Fotografía cortesía de University Communications. El equipo de Ópera Bhutan en Bhutan. Entre ellos Aaron Carpene en chamarra azul al fondo y la profesora Elisa Wilson, la segunda a la izquierda en la primer hilera.

IN BRIEF Opera Bhutan will premiere Oct. 12 at the Royal Textile Academy in Thimphu, Bhutan, and several talented UTEP students will perform as part of the chorus and orchestra. The inception of Opera Bhutan came about in 2004, when Aaron Carpene, a Rome-based music conductor, was traveling with a Handel orchestra through Europe while assisting Alan Curtis. “It was all very nice to work with that higher level of production, of artistic value, but I was thinking that it would be interesting to take one of these operatic productions to a different context, something completely different, to give it a new air, to give it new space,“ Carpene says. After merging ideas with his friend Preston Scott, who was working as an environmental lawyer in Bhutan at the time, Carpene began to formulate Opera Bhutan.

Pauline Mateos, is a senior graphic design major and a designer for Academic Technologies at the UGLC.

In 2008, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. hosted Bhutan as the guest country. Realizing that the University of Texas at El Paso was about to receive the Lhakang, a Bhutanese temple built for the festival, Scott and Carpene found the associate they were looking for to produce the opera. “Preston thought, ‘Wow. If these people from Texas are interested in (obtaining) a temple, maybe they’re also interested in supporting our crazy project',” Carpene says. Carpene says his goal was to create a cultural dialogue, in which they could introduce traditional aspects of Bhutanese music and dance to a Western medium. To celebrate the university’s centennial, Opera Bhutan will have a premiere performance at UTEP in the fall of 2014.

"For me, art is created to showcase beauty and a fascination of how the ideas in our heads look on paper."


rrows and bullets are rapidly being fired at evil, demented and deformed creatures, who alter the reality of Thomas Chellis. Thomas, a senior multimedia major, plays as a green, hideous Orc, with fangs and patches of hair all around a bald head. He is trying to escape a raid in “World of Warcraft,” as his fingers tap computer keys at an incredible speed. Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Gaming requires time to develop characters with a brand new life in a whole new world. “It’s like ‘Pokémon,’ I get to play ‘Pokémon’ with a gun,” Thomas says. “It’s also a time sink, it takes my mind off of things. It’s a cool thing since it lets you be something else for a while.” While studies show how online gaming addiction can lead to anxiety and depression, players like Thomas, find gaming to be a portal into another world where all their doubts and troubles disappear.

“MMORPGs are time consumers and I didn’t have time to be consumed. I was doing other things,” Thomas says. “But then my friend that works at Blizzard (an entertainment software developer) convinced me to play and I used it as a rehabilitation process, a second skin.” According to Thomas, antidepressants were a horrible experience and he needed to find an alternative. “Fuck antidepressants—that shit is worse than crack,” Thomas says. “I’ve done my fair share of drunk driving, but as soon as I get on antidepressants, boom, I was t-boned on the freeway.” He says that being able to live for a while through another character was the best antidepressant he could have ever taken, and with the benefit of no side effects. “Being able to shift out and just be something else is amazing for any form of rehabilitation, even if it’s pretending to be a giant green, buffed-out alien that was possessed by demons once; it’s very cathartic,” Thomas says.

Thomas says initially he refused to play online games due to his commitment to retro-console gaming and his admiration for firstperson shooter games. However, once the breakup happened, his friend convinced him to play WoW.

In “MapleStory,” Alina Anchondo, sophomore linguistics major, plays a brave female magician, who throws elemental bolts at her enemies as they pounce. She says that playing online gaming and embodying a virtual image is an experience that helps her take a break from her daily life. “I’m usually a wizard when I play the game. There are archers, knights, but wizards are the ones that attract me the most because they are something you can’t have in real life. Having that ability, even if it’s through the computer is very helpful to get out of reality,” Alina says. “When I’m playing, I don’t think of the essay I have to turn in or the test I have next week. I let go of everything and focus on the quest I’m doing in the game.”

"(The game) relieves a lot of stress. It's like a drug, sort of."

Alina, who began online gaming her freshman year of high school, says she has been devoted to the game ever since. “Seasons come and go (playing), especially since I entered college. In high school I had a lot of time, I’m the type that if I start doing something I really get into it, so I sometimes won’t finish homework,” Alina says. “I try to avoid it at times, but I’m actually very devoted to my character. I’m the type that will take the time to personalize the character, and I tend to stay toward how I am. I try to project myself onto my character.”

MMORPGs require time and devotion to succeed, Thomas says. “I am in deep with ‘World of War Craft,’” he says. “I did not do MMOs before 2009. I would actually avoid them. I got into MMOs because of the end of a relationship actually. I was suffering from some shitty depression. I kind of filled that void that went missing.”

- Eduardo Martinez


While online gaming offers the ability to be anyone or anything virtually, Alina says that being true to herself is important. However, there are many that choose to project a different personality. “You’re just trying to be someone else, it makes sense since you go about your daily life and

this is a way to get out and maybe it’s just to project yourself differently,” Alina says. “It is kind of an escape completely from who you are, maybe if you are unsatisfied or tired, you can be different gender, colors, skin or you can be an animal.” Alina has had experience with various online games such as “RuneScape” and “League of Legends.” In each game, she has learned that time is what is important when playing. “It’s like anything, you have to put everything into priorities, and sometimes giving yourself the time is important because you won’t be able to do something else because you are overworked,” Alina says. “I try to avoid it when I know I’ll get sidetracked, but when I see I’m not achieving anything and I’m stuck with homework, I give myself time to play so I can reset.” In the same world of “MapleStory,” twin brothers Eduardo and Enrique Martinez play as a magician and warrior to escape reality and take on difficult, virtual forces. Eduardo, a junior computer science major, and Enrique, a biological sciences major, say that gaming for them is just a recreational thing they commit to when they have time. Like Thomas and Alina, Eduardo says that gaming can become addicting. “(The game) relieves a lot of stress,” he says. “It’s like a drug, sort of.” According to the American Psychiatric Association, online addiction was proposed as an Internet Use Disorder and will be in the revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2013). Online gaming can be considered to be a stress reliever, but it can be damaging to the player’s health. Scientific and academic professionals have conducted studies that show how online gaming addiction can lead to behavioral changes that lead to anxiety and depression. Among them are Kimberly Young, psychologist and speaker on Internet addiction, who has conducted research and treated people with online addiction.

“When I’m playing...I let go of everything and focus on the quest I’m doing in the game.” - Alina Anchondo According to Young, signs of Internet addiction are absence of sleep due to prolonged usage hours, withdrawal from social functions, cravings to play at random times of day and the loss of a job—or failure at a task such as school work. Although studies show that gaming can implicate health and behavioral changes, students say they understand their priorities. Usually controlling their game play, the Martinez twins say they try to put school first then set aside a few hours for game play, but sometimes it’s hard. “I play about one to two hours if I’m not caught up with school. Usually it’s if I have free time I take advantage of it,” Enrique says. “I keep a balance (between life and gaming) so one doesn’t take control of the other one.” Eduardo says he usually plays for four hours when he’s not in school. “I balance it out– for every hour I play, I try to have two productive hours,” he says. “Or if I play a lot, I make damn sure to redeem myself.” Thomas says he doesn’t have a strict schedule. In fact, he usually plays throughout the day. “I don’t set aside my game play from all my other tasks. I have it all in tabs, sometimes,” Thomas says. “I’m in class and I’m playing. It’s multitasking.”



“I try to avoid it when I know I’ll get sidetracked, but when I see I’m not achieving anything and I’m stuck with homework, I give myself time to play so I can reset.” - Alina Anchondo

Since Thomas invests a lot into the game, he says his characters have value in the market place. is an online database that provides users with a price value of their characters based on the investment the user has given to the character. The value is based on level, titles, ownership of mounts and pets, equipment and PvP (player vs. player status). “You can’t sell them (the character). I mean, you can sell them, but if the company finds out they will cancel your account since the virtual property belongs to the company (Blizzard), you’re just someone playing in their toy box,” Thomas says. The webpage also tells you the character’s server rank and world ranking. Thomas’ main character is currently ranked ninth in his server and 3,500th worldwide. According to Thomas, the total time it took him to get his character to reach the highest level in the game was 125 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes and 6 seconds. This was throughout a span of two years. According to, Thomas’ main character is worth over $5,000, and he has 12 other characters that are ranked and valued as well. “I like all the classes, if I didn’t I wouldn’t have a max level of everything,” Thomas says. “I feel bad playing sometimes, so I invest in some luxury pets and mounts.” Enrique says that spending money on the game becomes an issue after years of playing, and that sometimes discourages him from playing. “I play on and off, but I never quit. Before I would spend a lot of money but then it started to get expensive,” Enrique says. Overall, online gaming can become console gaming for those who play solo, but according to Enrique and Thomas, MMORPGs require collaboration every now and then.“(With) online gaming, you get the chance to play it with your friends and you get to grow your characters together, while console gaming can generally be a solo experience,” Enrique says. Although he began playing for personal gain, Thomas admits that WoW is a game that requires communication amongst a team, better known as a guild. “If you are not a team player, it definitely won’t be a good experience,” he says. “This is a team-based game, but yes, at times I rather go solo, that’s why I took on ‘the Hunter,’ which is known to be able to handle the game by its own.” Alina, who has also played console gaming, agrees that online PC gaming can be a better experience when it comes to working together and having fun. “I am a console gamer, but not online. I feel that there is a lot of competition, like ‘Call of Duty,’ and I don’t like that, I’m not that good,” Alina says. “I rather work in a team, or explore on my own. I consider myself a recreational gamer, just for fun.”


Flechas y balas son disparadas con velocidad a las criaturas deformes de “World of Warcraft”, el juego en línea de rol multi-jugador masivo (MMORPG) que altera la realidad de Thomas Chellis. Los MMORPGs requieren tiempo para desarrollar personajes y entrar a un mundo nuevo, dice Thomas, estudiante de periodismo y multimedia en UTEP. Inicialmente, Thomas se negó a involucrarse con juegos en línea por su entrega a los videojuegos retro, pero cuando se separó de su pareja, su amigo lo convenció a jugar “World of Warcraft”. “Lo usé como un proceso de rehabilitación, una segunda piel”, dice Thomas. El estar vivo por medio de un personaje fue el mejor antidepresivo que pudo haber tomado, dice. Aunque los videojuegos en línea dan la oportunidad de ser cualquiera virtualmente, Alina Anchondo, estudiante de lingüística en UTEP, dice que el ser ella misma también es importante. “Soy de los que se toman el tiempo en personalizar el personaje, y suelo quedarme como soy. Intento proyectarme en mi personaje”, dice Alina. Otros estudiantes de UTEP como los hermanos Eduardo y Enrique Martínez juegan MMORPGs por recreación. Eduardo dice que los videojuegos pueden ser adictivos pero tambien ayudan. “(El juego) me quita el estrés”, dice Eduardo. “Es como una droga”. De acuerdo a la Asociación Psiquiátrica Americana, la adicción a los videojuegos en Internet fue propuesta como Trastorno por uso de Internet. Estudios conducidos por científicos han enseñado que los trastornos por uso de Internet pueden llegar a afectar el comportamiento y aumentar la ansiedad y la depresión.


Minero Magazine Fall 2013  

Minero Magazine Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Issue

Minero Magazine Fall 2013  

Minero Magazine Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Issue