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University Turns to Student Designer to Create Hispanic Heritage Merchandise

University of Arizona student Luis A. Esquer smiling to camera

Arizona Student's Design Chosen for Hispanic Heritage Month Merchandise

Meet Wildcat & Graphic Designer: Luis A. Esquer 

Junior studio arts student Luis A. Esquer’s bold designs honor Hispanic heritage and culture. They reflect his own experiences and the influence of a caring community of family, friends, and neighbors.

In a recent interview, Esquer shared his approach to the project, his many inspirations, and what led him to the University of Arizona.


This is the first year that the University BookStores and The Adalberto and Ana Guerrero Student Center have teamed up with a student artist to create a design honoring Hispanic heritage and culture for Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place annually from September 15 through October 15. Luis A. Esquer’s design boldly illustrates a complex and nurturing community defined by diversidad, herencia, and familia.

What did you want your design to show?

People who don't know about the community usually only see one person. I wanted to show different features, different skin colors, different ages, and different emotions in a way. It’s about the family you're born with, for sure, but also the family you choose. So, anybody that you grow up with – your neighbor, your grandma's third cousin – everybody matters because all those people contributed to making you who you are, to raising you. They did that through these traditions and values.

“It's not just me speaking through these designs – it's my community, it's my mom, my sister, my brother. It's all the people who have touched my heart and have changed the way I think of life.” 


Where is home, your family roots?

I was born and raised in central Tucson, among lower-income, working-class people. My father immigrated here from a ranch in Mexico, so he had very humble beginnings. My mother is Mexican-American and grew up here.

When did you decide to become an artist? 

I've always been an artist; I've always produced art. My brother plays in a mariachi band, and my sister was a folklórico dancer. I wasn't good at either of those things. The only times I’d really felt like I belonged was in the process of making art.

What is your approach to making art?

Whenever I do art, it's based on the moment, it's based on how I am in that moment, on that day. That's why it's difficult to get an assignment that is so specific because it takes time and energy to put myself in that headspace.


Why did you choose Arizona?

I chose to attend mainly because I wanted to have more technical skills. When it came to my art, I wanted to go to a place where I could learn about different topics, meet loads of people, and have as many different perspectives as possible. I wanted to be exposed to different opinions and art styles, and I definitely got that. 

How did being here expose you to new people and ideas?

I think the university is a good place for that, especially since there are so many people who come from out of town or out of state. And even people that I'd known in high school, I didn't really talk to as much until I got here. There are a lot of very creative, very different people that I work closely with now.

Do you have a favorite hangout on campus – a creative secret garden?

The visual resource center (VRC) in the art building. It’s just like a little printing lounge with a little library in there. It's super small and, honestly, a little bit difficult to get to. Not a lot of people know about it. I think only art students really use it, but it's open to the public. I recommend it. 

What advice do you have for other Wildcats? 

Some people focus on their studies, get their degree, and leave with that. But if you're looking for more, searching for a group to belong to or help you learn more about yourself, I think that you should definitely look into the cultural centers or look into just taking a class in some random building. Take an art 101 class, take a business class, maybe. It’s more about learning about yourself and seeing what you actually want – not just out of the degree, but of life.

Find merchandise featuring Luis’ design and help support the Guerrero Student Center at the same time. Learn about all the other campus Cultural & Resource Centers and how they are helping Wildcats succeed.

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