Taking on Edmund Herger

Leaving projects unfinished is very common for artists of all kinds. For many it’s the stepping stone that leads to something better or that transforms into something completely different. This means that a the work of a couple days, weeks or even years is left at a standstill. Not to say this is completely voluntary, unconscious or simply by loss of interest. Many times there are external factors that come in, sometimes it’s time, a new job, another project or simply not their priority. For me it was the combination of an unexpected circumstance and frustration.

Going back to 2016, I was in art school and was taking on a personal project about an artist named Edmund Herger. The project had come together after the desire to find an artist with my last name and eventually write about this artist’s work. On my research I found many artist with my last name, Fuentes, too many. And to be honest I was very underwhelmed as I was hoping to find something, someone no one has really heard of. I had come across many contemporary artists in pretty much all fields of the arts ; drawing, painting, sculpting, dancing, acting, music, you name it and there’s a Fuentes that does it. Being underwhelmed was the result of me not being able to find someone that would be harder to come across, someone that would require extensive research. I wasn’t looking for something hard to research but I did want to do some type of discovery and be surprised about what I found. After that I didn’t feel like doing it anymore, I had no interest looking through tabloids and repeating information of someone with my last name, no matter how famous or important their work. I let a couple weeks pass and I didn’t feed different about what I had found.

About a month later I decided to renew my search but with different parameters, the difference being that instead of using my last name Fuentes I would go on to use my mother’s maiden name, Herger. First I began a search through family trees to see what I could find, i came across nothing, this was in hope to find a close relation to some artist. So I continued searching anyone with my last name and was surprised to find some ties to some conservative parties but no artists. Lastly I fried something I was hoping to avoid, as it was simple and I didn’t want to have all the information in my face without something to add which was not there before. I went to good old Google and typed “Herger artist” and the searching platform spit out “E. Herger” . Afraid to even click the first link, I closed my eyes and clicked it. All I found on the site were 4 pictures, 4 paintings all dated to an approximate year and titled in German. That was it, nothing more. I later continued to click on every link on the next four pages and all I could total were 6 images but nothing on E. Herger .

My research would continue for about 2 years. slowly I began to share what little I had found about E. Herger like his first name Edmund and a total of 10 pieces of art ranging in mix media, oil, paintings and etchings. After those 2 years of research I stopped my research. Paraphrasing Golden Girls character Sophia Petrillo.

“Picture it Puerto Rico 2018. a young man had just recently graduated from art school was working on research on his laptop computer and it crashed. He lost all of the projects that weren’t backed up, including his research project and thats where it ended. No one ever found out who was Edmund Herger. The point? Guys that young man was me.”

I was so frustrated by losing all the research I had done. The documents that took so long to dig up, the high resolution digital images i was able to find about Edmund’s art and the books I had to translate to English, as every text with his name is in German. I didn’t want to know anything about it, going as far as deleting any social media past or story archived on the internet. I refused to even consider going through all of it again, until now that is.

Taking on writing definitely came with many challenges, the biggest being when it came to subject matter. It became increasingly hard to find what to write about. At a stand still with my writing I couldn’t figure out what to write about, no ideas crossed my mind until a couple of days ago. I didn’t want to give up on this project to improve my writing and realized that it was the best opportunity to retake this unfinished project. I do face many challenges as I go back to this project I left 3 years ago which include translating and researching the internet once again for any information, crossing my fingers that the servers are still up. I am not sure how long it will take or how much I will be able to find about Edmund this second time, but I’ll share and write about every part of him and the process.

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