EDINBURG — Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 6 years old, Oscar Sanchez was unable to hold a pencil up until middle school.
Now 21, hundreds of his drawings of superheroes and Anime and Pokemon characters were for sale Saturday morning at the United Collectors Expo in the Edinburg Activity Center — something his mother, Elfida Sanchez said she could have never imagined her son to be doing years ago.
“In middle school, he drew like a kindergartner,” Elfida said of Oscar, who is also autistic. “He would scribble with crayons and pencils.
“Now, I am so proud of his artwork. He does his own creations and seeing his dedication to his drawings is wonderful and amazing.”
Oscar’s drawings were one of the 61 vendors at the collectors expo. His art pieces that featured a variety of cosmic characters were spread across three tables, some standing on miniature easels. A few of his drawings featured medleys of Marvel superheroes, while others were of individual characters from the Japanese animated show “Dragon Ball Z.” Each one was signed with his signature and the date he finished it.
“Goku is my favorite best character, because I want to be strong like him,” Oscar said.
In middle school, Oscar had to take medication to be able to control his hand movement. However, it all changed with one assignment in an art class he took his freshman year at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School.
Oscar’s first drawing was of Spider-Man from the Marvel Comics-based video game, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. His art teacher then laminated the drawing, which his mother keeps safe in a binder.
Oscar said that since then, all he has wanted to do is draw.
He spends over eight hours a day drawing at a desk in his room. And, it is in that space where he has produced almost 2,000 original drawings, which his mother keeps in binders. So far, he has filled seven 3-inch binders.
“Because of his condition, he gets frustrated around loud places with a lot of people, but we try to take him out to places and out of the house,” Efilda said. “But he just looks forward to come home to draw, and we are glad we get to show people his drawings at events like this and raise his confidence.”
This is Oscar’s third time selling at the United Collector’s Expo, which has been taking place every two months for the past two years.
“This is what I like to do, and I just want to do all the drawings,” Oscar said.
Armando Garza, 45, is the founder and executive leader of the United Collectors Expo organization, which promotes local selling and trading of collectible items. The concept of the organization was originally shared with his friend in R&A Antiques and Collectibles. However, they parted ways and the organization ceased.
Though the collaboration ended, Garza could not let go of his ambition to start the organization. With the support of his family, and his wife, MaryLou Garza, he continued the idea with what is now the United Collectors Expo in 2016.
The expo consistently reaches around 500 attendees, and Garza is currently scouting for a bigger venue to host the bi-monthly expo.
A maze of tables were arranged in the Edinburg center, with vendors selling a variety of collectible items, including action figures from movies ranging from Disney’s “Aladdin” to the “Power Rangers.” Among the shelves that were filled with toys and arrays of Lego mini figures, Pop! Comics Vinyl Figures seemed to be the most popular product on display.
Later in the day, a cosplayer contest took place among attendees. They were also welcomed to participate in a lip-sync battle and auction in the afternoon.
Garza said that to him, collecting is more than just figures and toys — it reminds him of his childhood and how far he has come since then.
“When I grew up, my parents were not wealthy, so to play with toys I had to share with friends,” said Garza, who was raised in Pharr. “Collecting brings me back to my childhood. You know, i may be old in age, but this keeps me young at heart.”