Eastfield trio reaches international art contest


Kathy Windrow

Art major Ryan Bustamente poses with his piece, “What a Wonderful World,” which is now featured at the “self unfixed: picturing identity” exhibit at the Bath House Cultural Center. The exhibit is curated by art instructor Kathy Windrow.

CARMEN GUZMAN, Managing Editor

When accounting major Tyric Francis lived in the Caribbean, he’d wake up early and go fishing with his dad. They’d sit at a jetty, lines cast into the water, anticipating a catch while they talked about anything that came to mind.

No matter the quality of that day’s catch, the conversations stuck with Francis up to his first art project in instructor Erica Stephens’ art appreciation class. He was prompted to create a sculpture about an important memory.

He sculpted “Dear Son, Love Pops,” a 8.5-by-3.5 inch wooden board adorned with fishing equipment and a vintage photograph of his father and grandfather. The work is bound by rope.

“It’s a piece that reminds me of what I had before I came here,” Francis said. The piece was his first venture into sculpting, and it advanced to the League for Innovation Art Competition’s international bracket.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting it to go there.”

Five of 70 artworks submitted for a Dallas College competition advanced to the international level. Three were made by Eastfield students: art major Ryan Bustamente, art major Tonatiuh Perez and Francis.

“My art showed me there’s potential in what I can do,” Francis said.

His work is currently featured

 alongside other local artists, including Bustamente and Perez, in the “self unfixed: picturing identify” exhibit at the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas.

After the recognition of his work, Francis decided to keep art as a hobby.

“He’s brand new to art and already starting to trailblaze,” Stephens said. “I love it.”


‘What A Wonderful Night’

Bustamente made a similar piece in art instructor Kathy Windrow’s class. His 16-by-20 inch acrylic painting “What A Wonderful Night” is an environment piece featuring his grandmother’s front yard.

Initially, Bustamente thought his piece was just for fun. He didn’t expect to get an email from Windrow celebrating his selection for the art competition.

“[Windrow] said to paint something mesmerizing and recognizable,” Bustamente said. “I thought of my grandma’s house.”

Alongside Francis and Perez, Bustamente spent his night celebrating the personal victory.

Windrow and Stephens texted each other into the night, impressed by their students’ placement.

“This is the kind of thing that encourages them to keep going,” Windrow said.

Bustamente has explored art since he was 6 years old. He initially dabbled in watercolor after coming to Eastfield but switched to painting when Windrow helped him enjoy the learning process.

He’s using the victory to jumpstart his career goal of becoming an art teacher.

“If you’re struggling, that’s the beauty of art,” Bustamente said. “The answer isn’t always in front of you. But if you enjoy what you’re doing … you can find the answer.”



Perez put colored pencils to paper for his art piece, “Heliotropism,” a 25.75-by-19.5 inch drawing of endangered insects shrouded in flowers.

“Gardening is one of my hobbies so I try to incorporate nature into my artwork,” Perez said. 

North American fauna were selected to add a sense of familiarity to the piece – telling viewers that such organisms can be found in the backyard.

The piece was tedious to create, Perez said, but the results were worth the work. Perez’s piece was initially turned in for the student art show, but he was later encouraged to enter in the League for Innovation’s art competition.

“There was nothing wrong with entering,” Perez said. “I wouldn’t lose anything from it.”

Although he has long since graduated from Dallas College, Perez has kept an eye on competition updates. He also keeps Windrow’s feedback in mind when creating art.

“I just hope they keep growing and growing and make it out there in the art world,” Windrow said.