Day 144 - Rene

Day 144 - Rene (2nd person I approached)
May 24, 2014 - Rene was on his way to meet a friend, but when I told him what I was doing, he decided his friend could wait a bit. He gave me a quick synopsis of his life, and allowed me ask a few questions to fill in the gaps. I ran into him again about 30 minutes later. His friend had waited.


Rene was born in Mexico City, Mexico.

“I’m from a middle class family. I have one younger brother. We’re Latin so of course, family is of the utmost importance to us. We’re very close,” said Rene. He is completely fluent in English, but still has that sweet, warm Mexican accent.

“I went to an American school. For kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school. I’ve being speaking English since I was four years old. My parents knew it would be good for me to be able to speak Spanish and English,” he said.


When he finished high school, Rene started applying to colleges.

“I love Mexico and my hone town. But life there is hard. There is so much crime. I managed to stay away from that. I had a good education and wanted to go to art school. I applied to a number of colleges. I wanted to go to Europe to study, but it was too expensive. I could have gone to the States (USA) but being Mexican it can present other challenges. I applied to Emily Carr (College of Art & Design) here in Vancouver (British Columbia) and got accepted. My parents wanted me to travel, to study and to experience living in Canada. My father told me he would help me through college. He also said that once I had graduated, I needed to find work,” said Rene.

“They helped me as much as they could. I studied Industrial Design. But to tell the truth, I didn't feel really passionate about it,” says Rene. His parents came to Vancouver for his graduation from Emily Carr.

“I’ve being drawing since I was a young boy, creating with my own art with my hands. I’d like to get into graphics for games and animation. I’m thinking about going back to school, but that won’t be for a while. I’m working on getting my permanent residency right now,” he says. 


As an artist, Rene is also interested in acting.

“I’ve being a musician for a long time and when you play music in front of people, you get used to performing. So going for auditions is easy. I’m thinking about taking some acting classes and see what happens. Finding work is tough here. I mean it’s tough anywhere. Even if you go in someplace and hand your resume to them in person, people still look you over and then you don’t hear anything,” said Rene.

“I took a six month working course to become an electrician, but after about four months I got laid off. There wasn’t going to be any work there for me.”


Currently Rene is working in a gift store where he is crafting leather goods. He shows me the hand-tooled leather belt he is wearing, telling me he made it. He also shows me  a leather pouch for his phone, and a beautiful hand-carved leather wallet, which he also made. Clearly Rene is a talented artisan. 


About four years ago, he happened to be walking past a leather goods studio.

“There was a very attractive woman standing outside of the studio. We started to talk. I was immediately attracted to her because she is a very beautiful woman. But what really drew me to her was the life in her eyes. I could see her soul behind those eyes. So many younger people have nothing in their eyes. It’s hard to meet people my age that aren’t stuck up and full of themselves. She’s a wonderful person,” says Rene. He has a big smile on his face and a sparkle in his eyes.

“We’ve been going out for four years now. She’s older than me. I’m very lucky to have her in my life. The relationship is good.” #notastranger