My work is mixed media and multicultural, incorporating influences from my southern California childhood, my Mexican-American upbringing, my artistic studies in Asia and Indonesia, and my time performing, teaching, and collaborating with artists throughout the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Asia.
I was born and raised in San Diego. In the 1970's I performed with Sausalito’s Snake Theater, one of the Bay Area's leading experimental theater companies. In the early '80’s I formed my own theater company and from 1987 to 1994 pursued a solo performing career, touring internationally to Asia and Latin America. I have received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts (Solo performer, 1991), Marin Arts Council (Solo Artist, 1987 and 1993), and was chosen as a Cultural Specialist to perform and teach in Guatemala and Nicaragua by USIA. In 1993 I received a fellowship from the US-Japan Friendship Commission to live in Kyoto, Japan for a year. Japan, with its ancient cultural and artistic traditions, was the catalyst that caused me to shift my focus from stage performance to the visual and ceremonial arts. This is the passion that has informed my work for the past 24 years.
Since my return to California in 1994, my work has concentrated on the link between art, spirituality, and the community. Representative of this focus is the Bolinas Community Spirit House, which I created for the town of Bolinas in 2002. This walk-in sculptural piece sits in the center of town and is visited by thousands of people each year, a majority of whom leave wishes, prayers and offerings
Other public art pieces include “Healing Hearts, Healing Hands” in Stinson Beach, the Legacy Spirit House in Sausalito and several pieces at the Kabuki Hot Springs in San Francisco.
I opened a studio/showroom in beautiful Point Reyes in 2006. Open to the public, Ernesto’s Studio is an enchanting world of masks, angels, altars, and garden sculpture. In all my work I strive to create pieces that act as portals for the spirit and vehicles for personal discovery.