Updated: Oct 31
By: Alexia Hill
I live by the philosophy that anyone can be an artist, and everyone is, in their own imperfect, human way. But for someone like Jose “Pepe” Flores, where passion drives his work and skill comes naturally, being an artist brings a new level of self-expression.
Born and raised in Colima, Mexico, Flores has been an artist for as long as he can remember. His first major recollection of recognizing his love for the arts was participating in a school-wide art competition, where he had to draw something representing Mexico’s Independence Day. His drawing of a woman aiming a rifle, mid-battle, while simultaneously carrying a baby in a sling, ended up winning.
“I had a best friend in Mexico and what we used to do is carry around sketchbooks and we would create a monster off the top of our heads and whoever has the most badass monsters, like whichever of the two monsters we think would win, was the best drawing. So we would have a competition every day, it was off the dome so I’ve been doing this ever since I was a kid,” Flores explained.
Flores and his family migrated to Phoenix around 2014, where he continued to work on art all the way through high school.
After high school, Flores took an unforeseen hiatus from his art, until he moved to California for a fresh start and destiny began playing out. Flores’ uncle really liked the style of artist Alec Monopoly, and Flores told him, “I could make you that.”
“I hadn’t done art in like three years at this point, since I graduated high school, but I made the painting for my uncle and he was like, ‘Wow what the fuck this is sick, make me seven more.’” Flores said. “So, I was making really good money off of that. And because he wanted such specific paintings, like that Alec Monopoly-type style, that gave me a sort of portfolio that he could show off to his friends, and slowly but surely connections helped me to do it full time. All thanks to him.”
Over time, Flores has created a signature art style and distinctive brand name and logo for himself, known as “Takes Time Art.”
“It Takes Time comes from my belief that you can achieve everything in due time. Everything takes time, literally everything, and God’s timing is perfect, whatever you have dreamt for yourself is going to come but divine timing is beautiful,” Flores said.
These pieces are distinguished by bold lines, colors, iconography of cartoon characters and high-end fashion designs. Some of my personal favorite pieces include the all-too-well-known Takami Murakami flower, warped and distorted with a “Takes Time” twist, and a reworked piece, titled “Charity Begins At Home.” The work includes graffiti-style elements added on top of a Charles Burton Barber realism painting of a young girl surrounded by three dogs.
“My favorite type to do is a more modern style, pop-art style because it’s so colorful and simple. I can understand the beauty of realism, but it’s almost like a picture. I’ve turned down offers for things like that. I appreciate the support but I don’t feel right taking that type of money because I want to paint you something that looks like a painting, that’s different and out there and something you can enjoy for the rest of your life,” Flores said.
All of his paintings are trademarked with a single bright blue eye, sometimes actually incorporated into the piece, or in one of the corners as a sort of subtle artistic signature. Flores said the logo was inspired by an evil eye bracelet that a close friend of Flores gave to him, but more specifically, the shade of blue and imagery of the bracelet, not the evil eye belief itself.
“The eye for me mostly represents your third eye, where you are the creator of your own reality. I love telling people that because it’s like whatever you dream of, it could be the craziest shit ever, I’m like bro go after it. I’m the one crazy person that won’t tell you no and will support you,” Flores said. “You better be living your dreams and I’m a very spiritual person so if you’re a good person I feel God blesses you more than you can even dream of. Just because of my own self-belief, I know what I have to do to get where I want to be.”
From displaying his work at the Arizona State Fair to murals at King’z Barbershop to commissioning work on acoustic guitars and designer bags, Flores has major accomplishments under his belt and continues to achieve goals in his dream career.
More recently, Flores is displaying his work at the MU$EUM in Bogota, Columbia, and is in the process of commissioning a mural on a 16-wheeler semi-truck. The artist also plans to begin working on branded merchandise such as hats, pop sockets, pins and more. With a following on Instagram of over 11 thousand, and art on display in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and now Columbia, Flores shares his wisdom of never giving up on one’s aspirations.
“Just don’t stop chasing your dreams. At least work on it, even if you have the busiest schedule ever, as long as you’re working on your goals or dreams for an hour a day, that’s better than not doing it at all. Do it every day if you really love it. If that’s your dream you should want to,” Flores said.
Personally, I remember taking Art 1-2 in high school and seeing Flores’ work around campus, in the art studio and at the school’s art galleries. Voted as Apollo High’s next Pablo Picasso, his skill within realism was something I was equally envious of and admired. To see him grow as an artist and find his personal style is not only enriching as a friend but inspiring as an art-lover. Pepe Flores, creator of Takes Time Art, will live on and I can’t wait to see what will come next.
To keep up with Flores and his work, follow @takestimeart on Instagram.