In 1976 after graduating from high school I went on a cross-country trip. Along the way I stopped in Arkansas where I became fascinated by a collection of 4 very primitive but artful bottles that had been covered with buttons, service medals and other personal trinkets by a woman who had outlived all of her children; a unique and personal portrait created from the bits and pieces of their lives. Later I learned from a folk art dealer that what she had created were pique-assiette style “memory pieces”. At the time I was a young art student with the goal of becoming a commercial Illustrator but I never forgot their power and had no idea how they would impact my later career in the mosaic arts.
I was born in East Los Angeles California and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. After graduating from Arroyo High School in 1975. I attended Pasadena City College for two years before being accepted to The Art Center College of Design. I graduated with a B.A. in illustration in 1982. I entered the advertising industry focusing on the entertainment industry. I created Byrd/Beserra Studios in 1985 with my partner the celebrated poster designer and Illustrator David Edward Byrd (david-edward-byrd.com). I completed my masters in 1989.
The focus of my art changed dramatically with the discovery of Oaxacan folk art creatures. It became the catalyst for self-discovery about my own Latin and Native American heritage. The expressiveness and raw emotion created from fanciful creatures carved in wood and painted in saturated colors and wild patterns just knocked me out. That day I bought my first modest piece (an orange tiger) and started down the road to leaving the commercial art field. As a volunteer repairing Los Angeles’s own marvelous Watt’s Towers my desire to merge decoration and architecture into my personal métier was cemented. I started my new career by creating small pots, bowls, boxes and candle holders sold in craft and gift stores while I payed the bills painting toys in development at Mattel. I received a call in 2006 to design and create my first commission. Two 25 foot tall fluted columns and a 30 foot long bench for the new public library being built in Camarillo CA. This piece opened the door to a career creating commercial and residential mosaics. My most recent commission for a park in California was a large scale climbing tunnel and slide ironically in the style of the Oaxacan Alebrijes that I love so much. In April this piece was awarded the Best In Situ Prize at the 2016 Mosaic Arts International competition.