Jason Esquerra has always been a Jack-of-all-trades. A musician, Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor and independent film collaborator, Esquerra has found the Spring time an opportunity to bloom into a new art: digitally mixed nature photography, finding is inspiration in the most peculiar of places.

"I've been taking pictures of things people wouldn't normally see, or, passing by might miss. Certain things I find pleasing in their aesthetic but I try to capture them in ways in which people looking at them can't immediately tell what they are," said Esquerra. "Last year I started experimenting with a brand new style. The story goes: I was working in the wilderness. It was very cold and when I went to start my car, I saw where my hand, on the windshield, had melted the ice. I then saw the windshield as a blank canvas, but where my hand became translucent and the trees on the other side seemed to be breaking through that canvas, showing like a painting behind."

Beholding such, Esquerra's artistic heart skipped a beat and he went for his camera. He took some experimental shots, and the made a face imprint, and followed suit.

"It progressed from there," said Esquerra, "and then I experimented with various hues and resolutions. Using my face gave me a broader area to see through, and an abstract feel in that you couldn't really tell quite what it was."

Taking the shots home, Esquerra initiated a different artistic process, digitally editing the shots through color distortion, crafting sort of natural "Magic Eye" style images of boisterous colors and abstract symmetry.

"I started seeing these aesthetically pleasing images began to pop out, both from that canvas and fro behind it as the colors shifted," he said.

Merging naturalism in art with technology is a two-partner dance for Esquerra.

"A lot of it is already catching people's eye. And it started in one art form and bloomed into another one," said Esquerra. "One of the most important things for me is that everyone gets something different out of it. Thusfar, for friends and family there has always been discussion about what they might be looking at, and what feelings or emotions that might bring up."

Now Esquerra is gearing up for his first gallery show.

"Once I get some feedback from my first show I will probably revamp a few things," he said.

In the meanwhile, Esquerra is working on creating monster-sized prints of his work, properly framing them and completing his website.

"This is right at the very beginning," Esquerra said. "The next 45 days will be huge in terms of showing and production."

Originally from Orange County, Calif., Esquerra ran the Family Circus roundabout track to getting to this point in his artistic career. From growing up in Southern California, to headlining Oscar Wilde's "Importance of Being Earnest" in New York, to acting in OSF for three seasons and then again last year, to breaking into the Southern Oregon Independent Film scene to this new foray into photography, Esquerra has had a long road and finds that he has been greatly influenced by the odd jobs that got him along it.

"I've been a foreman, a bartender, a juicer, a personal trainer, a restaurant manager, a tofu maker, a professional musician, and an actor," said Esquerra. "Above all, I am an artist."

"I've always had artistic interests," said Esquerra. "We had no toys when I grew up, which was on a pot farm. I was the oldest and always led the kids on adventures, with a towel around my neck, traipsing off into the forest with a makeshift staff."

This attitude informs Esquerra's artist's philosophy.

"I've learned a lot about the differences between being 'artistic' and being 'an artist.' I believe you can take someone with a artistic talent, lock them in a cabin their whole life and they might master something. That makes them artistic But it's not until someone else opens that door and sees, or hears or experiences that mastery that the (master) becomes an artist.

"The first artistic person was probably a caveman somewhere, doing whatever. It's when that caveman turns to his buddy and grunts that he's shared that art and become an artist. Of course, when the other caveman grunted back, he became the first critic"&

166; but I believe that people want to see good and have a good experience. At some point an artist has to be vulnerable, because anyone in that cave or cabin will need release. Otherwise, what's the point?"

Contact Esquerra at jasonesquerra@hotmail.com