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by Samuel Peña | January 11, 2018

As part of the Well-Fed Artist Workshop Series, guest speakers have been invited to share about their artistic practice and passion- as it relates to their work as an artist and the topic of the monthly workshop. For more information about our next workshop visit:

By Samuel Peña

It’s 1972 in Culiacán Mexico. César Armando Peña has hair down to his belt and you can see him sleeping with his head next to a speaker playing UK Rock N Roll records every night. Sometimes he still has a guitar in his hand after hours of picking out each part he had just heard. Sometimes he just lays down, closes his eyes and absorbs the distant vibe that resonates with his soul. To this day, my father tells me he is a “Rock n Roller, true and true” (said with a thick Spanish accent).

When I was 17 years old my first love left me on graduation night. Defeated and cracked wide open, I moped around my room... stuck in a loop, with no sign of getting any better.

Until that one day, when my father came home with an acoustic guitar. He gave it to me in hopes that I too would be a “Rock N Roller.” I learned some Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Yusef Stevens, etc, but rather than being drawn to a whole song, I was more into playing an A-minor chord over and over and over and over again. It soothed me. My mother would walk down the hall and shout “Come on Samuel, can you please just take it somewhere, you’re driving me crazy.”

But I would smile because I knew I was driving myself out of crazy. I wanted to stay in that musical loop, to go deeper into time and strum a groove with such a swing, such a feeling that I created a bedrock, a foundation for inspiration.

I bought a loop pedal, plugged in my guitar and spent every possible moment creating short loops that I would keep on repeat for what my parents would say, “go on for way too long.”

Searching for that endless loop. The loop that feels fresh every time it starts over, that makes you want to tell a story about it, create a dance piece to accompany. One that has enough space for others to add to it. A soundtrack to our lives. Both relatable and serving to increase self-awareness and growth.

You see, it was in those loops, where others thought I was frozen in time, that I found a way to create a foundation for me to identify my pain and witness my healing over time. Each time the loop passed, it marked an increment of growth and gave me that platform to get out of my loop.


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