Art Calls

Forsaking the Pirate in a Tie

By Alex Vega

As soon as we saw the huge, multi-level warehouse in downtown Boise, we loved it. Built in 1961, it had a long history. Our discussions with the owners of the building were professional, the city was easy to work with, and we leased the building. We brought it up to code, and turned it into a twelve- thousand-square-foot studio.

Why did we need so much space? It all started with art. At an early age, I showed promise as a creative type. Drawing came naturally to me. My brothers and I are all artistic, and our mother encouraged us in this, as in all our endeavors. She let us paint on our walls in our rooms as children—she wanted to see color! In junior high and high school, I took piano lessons and every art class available. I learned painting, sculpture, studio art, and advanced drawing. Nampa High School has an amazing art program and a lot of talented students. But even though my future in art seemed promising, certain people repeatedly told me there is no money in art. They said going into the industry was a bad idea, and artists were outdated. I took this to heart, went to North Idaho College, and studied finance. It was quite a leap, but I followed the money.

In college, as I looked at my future syllabus one day, I realized I had made a mistake. I had no interest in finance. I kept at it anyway, but even after I started working in the industry, my interests were elsewhere. I knew that the career I had chosen was not a good fit for me. I wasn’t aggressive enough, and I was forever doodling on the sides of my reports, drawing portraits of clients and fellow workers. I created comic books, and drew temporary tattoos on myself under the sleeves of my sleek business suit. Always daydreaming, I couldn’t wait to get home and finish whatever painting I was working on. My wife Jamie and I both paint, and I think her work is amazing, surreal, beautiful. When we bought our home in 2002, we were both twenty-two. It was a delight to create our own space, in which we could live and paint and raise a family. Art filled our walls, including the art of our sons. Every day when I went to work, I wanted to be home. The art was calling me.

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Alex Vega

About Alex Vega

Alex Vega is a graphic designer, illustrator and muralist living and working in Boise. Alex primarily works in large scale, painting murals and oversize canvases. He and his wife Jamie, a fine artist, transformed a twelve-thousand-square foot warehouse into a private art studio and gallery downtown called Boise Creative Center. See it at

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