Artist Bobby Gaytan is all about finding the right balance between his work, family life and his art. A graphic designer by day, Gaytan always manages to find time for what he calls his “passion projects,” and he has a lot of them. If you’ve been to Boise, you’ve probably seen some of his colorful murals. They don’t come off as someone’s side project. On the contrary, his art is professional, nuanced and heartfelt. It puts a smile on peoples faces, and he said that’s what it’s all about.
“I’m always trying to find balance between my day job and my passion,” said Gaytan. “In recent years I’ve started my passion projects, working on big murals. I’m still developing, working and trying new mediums and techniques. I want to be able to use my skills for something good and I think people feel good looking at my art.”
To find Gaytan’s art, all one has to do is take a walk downtown, he’s done at least a dozen different murals in the Boise area. Currently, he has a mural up on the side of the Neurolux bar and if you look to the right from that location, there’s another one sitting on the upper side of a building titled “Groovin.” He also has some large mural projects coming up around the state, in Twin Falls, Hailey and Caldwell. People can follow him on Instagram, @bobbygaytan, to see what he’s working on and to view previous pieces.
Gaytan grew up in Texas and Idaho and, when he was younger, was particularly attracted to graffiti art. He got into airbrushing and spray paint and has dabbled in multiple mediums like clothing design, magazines, t-shirt and car airbrush. He’s worked at the Idaho State Fair doing airbrush for the past 12 years, this year is the first he won’t be attending. He’s always used his vacation time at work to go and work the fair but feels like it’s time to move on and put more into his larger projects.
“Now I’m trying to pick and choose my passion projects because things were getting a little too hectic,” said Gaytan. “I get asked to do commissions all the time but I have a family and my time is limited. I’m a yes-man and I take on a lot but recently I’ve been pulling back to focus and figure out what I want to do more.”
He used to do a mural every year at Freak Alley and said as a young spray paint artist it was great because anybody starting can go there and learn. He also credits Karen Bubb from the Boise Arts and History Department for being a champion of his work and giving him a platform.
“I’m still learning a lot with aerosol,” he said, “there’s always something new and I just keep working to improve. Some people may look at it like I’m a weekend artist but I do a lot and I want to encourage others too. If I can make time to do the things I love, there’s no reason someone else can’t. If you’re serious about what you do it always comes back around.”
Gaytan’s work, although colorful and sometimes downright cheerful, also spreads a message of inclusivity. On his page people can see sketches, graffiti style art and much more. Some are playful, some tell a story of his heritage but all of them are pleasing to see.
Working with spray paint, Gaytan starts off with a sketch and then layers the colors using different techniques and works from dark to light. Unlike painters that use a canvas, he has to take into account environment like wall texture, filler and wind. When he painted “Groovin” he said it was incredibly windy and they had to use a lot of scaffolding. It took him three days.
Initially, that mural was only supposed to be up for three months but it’s still there. It’s really an example of how pleasant Gaytan’s work is. Somehow he creates a connection with his art and the city in a totally organic way that seems to resonate with people and he said, that’s what he’s looking for.
“I like to bring smiles to peoples faces,” said Gaytan, “that’s who I am and what I give out and that’s what I’d like to keep doing with my art.”