Reinaldo Gil Zambrano knew even as a child growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, that he would be an artist one day.
“Since I can remember, I always wanted to be an artist,” he said. “I was always drawing, and my parents were supportive.”
He has taken that love and turned it into large scale works that usually are 5 feet wide by 4 feet tall but are sometimes as large as 48 feet by 8 feet.
“I specialize in printmaking, especially relief printmaking, woodcuts and linocuts,” he said.
A linocut is a relief printmaking technique that uses a sheet of linoleum instead of wood as the medium.
Zambrano has used his experiences from traveling and living around the world to inspire his work.
“I have been exploring the idea of home a lot in my work and identity,” he said. “I have been trying to understand what that means for me.”
He also wants his work to create connections. “I use my practice as a way to create community,” he said.
He will bring that passion with him to Gonzaga University, where he will join the faculty this fall.
Zambrano first came to the United States in 2009. He spent a few years here and returned to Venezuela for a short time, then came back to the U.S. in 2014 to attend graduate school in Moscow, Idaho.
He earned a master’s degree in fine arts in 2017, but his time in Idaho altered his trajectory and he decided to stay here.
“I fell in love with a beautiful lady who became my wife,” he said.
He taught drawing and design at Eastern Washington University as an adjunct professor for three years. He has also spent his time developing the printmaking scene in Spokane. He’s one of the organizers of Spokane Print Fest held every April, a monthlong event that highlights printmaking through exhibitions and demonstrations. He also co-founded the nonprofit Spokane Print and Publishing Center, which provides equipment and resources to those who want to create books, art and other projects. When there isn’t a pandemic, the center usually offers classes.
Zambrano also has partnered with Emerge in Coeur d’Alene to create the Ink Rally, which is usually held every September. In that event an asphalt roller is used to print art on fabric.
He heard about the job opening at Gonzaga through friends and applied for the position. He learned in April that he’d gotten the job.
“To be honest, I was a little bit surprised but I was super excited,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working with the student body here.”
He will teach drawing and printmaking and said he hopes to pass along his passion for art to his students. But he’ll be trying to do that in new ways as many classes will be offered virtually. Zambrano said he plans to use a combination of prerecorded demonstrations and Zoom meetings. Students will still be doing the hands-on creation of art, but it will be at a distance.
“It’s a matter of adapting,” Zambrano said. “The same passion is there.”
He will teach a hybrid printmaking class that will combine online and in-person sessions. Students will come to his studio to use his equipment, but the entire class won’t be there at one time. The number of students allowed in the studio at the same time will be limited and social distancing will be in place, Zambrano said.
The pandemic has forced artists to explore other media they don’t normally use, Zambrano said. His use of technology to teach his students is no different, he said.
“It’s a challenge for me as an artist and as an instructor,” he said. “It’s something artists do. We adapt. We continue making beautiful things and continue using our voice.”
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