Mike Esparza is a local Houston artist and projectionist at the Alamo Drafthouse, as well as a good friend of mine. He's long been organizing gallery shows in support of Drafthouse programming in town. The halls of the Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park are often hung with paintings by Mike and others, inspired by the new releases playing in the theater that week: The Force Awakens, Godzilla, Batman v Superman.
Mike's art has a very specific look to it - often backdropped by fleur-de-lis wallpaper and focused on action figures or characters from comics, TV and film, he's got a wonderful eye, an intimidating prolificity and a whole-hearted love of pop culture that shows in every piece he does. I have three paintings by Mike in my home - one of myself, one of my husband and one of Candyman. They're all amazing, but Candyman's my favorite.
Mike was tapped to paint a mural in the Jaws-centric lobby of the Alamo Drafthouse Corpus Christi, and it inspired me to kick off a new series where we discuss the incredible care and design that go into every single Alamo Drafthouse lobby. Take a look at this thing, and read on for a brief interview with Mike below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company, Wonderbros.
My brothers, Matt, Eric, and I have always loved art. We love creating, both for our own enjoyment and for others to enjoy, as well. Among some other stuff, we’ve created art based on comics, movies, and pop culture. We set up Wonderbros as a way to showcase our work and produce a venue for us to create work for others.
How did you get involved with this project?
Well, the new Corpus Christi Alamo Drafthouse is a project being undertaken by the San Antonio Alamo region. I’d done some work for the San Antonio Alamo in the past. When it came time to look for an artist, a good man named Robert Saucedo [Alamo Drafthouse Houston Programming Director] dropped them my name. Since they were already familiar with my work, they went ahead and contacted me. They asked if I was interested and the rest just fell into place.
How'd you pick the scene from Jaws you wanted to portray?
The Alamo team picked out the super cool image.
Are there any Easter eggs in this mural we should look out for?
Some cameos of the staff and ourselves.
What were some of the advantages and challenges of working in an Alamo?
It's totally a different experience working in public than in my studio. Headphones and good company solve any distractions.
We have a pretty awesome team. Shout out to fellow co-artists Sarita Ackerman and Cat, my super hot and lovely girlfriend, for their help!
Time, money and space aren't an object - what's your dream mural?
Anything Star Wars or Star Trek-related. Huge fan!
Any projects we should be on the lookout for from you for the future?
I'm working on some gems for a solo show in 2018.