Luis Alberto Rivera
“Shoeshine Boy 4 a Day”, 2021, 6″ x 6″, stained glass, stingers, mirrors, smalti, wires, metals, foam
At the age of 13, while being close to my elderly but smart grandfather, he taught me the value of work while building a ragged shoeshine box. He explained that materials were readily available, therefore we used different old pieces of wood to build the box. While working with him, he spoke about different products needed, such as a toothbrush, cloths, rubbing alcohol, aniline and bitumen to polish. My gramps also explained that shoe shining in the one commercial street of hometown was going to be a challenge. Other boys had already set their spots. Next morning, there I walked with my new/old box. As I turned the corner, there they all were, my competitors. It took courage to stand beside them, but I did spend the whole day there. Lots of thoughts went through my mind as the day came to an end and I did not shine one pair. Went back home and shared my frustrations with gramps. He said, life and work is a sacrifice, you have already begun. You have built the box and another day is still on the way tomorrow. Never give up, never give up.