Friday, July 7, 2017

Celebrating Community and Dignity in "Scottsdale" Carson - Unveiling of "El Rey Trabajador" and Opening of Artward! Gallery

The opening of our new and beautiful Artward! Gallery in no other place than notorious "Scottsdale" neighborhood of Carson and unveiling of my "El Rey Trabajador" there was nothing short of incredible.

It was not your usual "art crowd". They were neighbors, civic leaders of different communities, gang prevention activists, local government, sherifs, my awesome collaborators and supporters.

In the place as tough with the people as weary, if we had five people show up, we'd say "its worth it." We had more, much more.


Yet what was more important than numbers was the spirit different than anything I ever felt in thousands of openings I've been at or was part of in my long professional life. It was the feeling of ART doing its work.



Incredible Deputy Noya of Carson Sheriff's station, who runs one of the most successful gang prevention program anywhere showed up next morning with his entire staff and told me: "Last night alone I already saw the difference. People behaved and reacted differently than what I would expect in this place and I know this place for 30 years". You can fake many things, but not that. That’s an ultimate test. How many "art critic reviews" does THAT worth? If I had any energy left I'd cried.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"El Rey Trabajador" will be unveiled June 27, 6pm at the new Artward! Gallery in "Scottsdale" Carson

Unveiling of My New Painting 
"El Rey Trabajador" oil 72" x 48"

from "My Neighbor Series"


our newly founded
in the "Scottsdale" neighborhood of Carson, Ca


dedicated to showcasing my 
public art project in the city of Carson 
"Love My Neighbor" 
run by the 501 (c) 3 non-profit 
Artward Initiative

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 
6:00 - 8:30 pm
23400 Avalon Blvd, Carson, Ca 90745
El Rey Trabajador" from "My Neighbor Series" 
oil on canvas, 72" x 48

Art can lift aspirations and give us all an important common ground in today’s divisive times. I believe that as we are continuously exposed to the stream of escalating negative news we need to focus on people in communities that inspire us in positive ways. I take inspiration for this series from my community that overcomes adversity. 


The Study of Cirilo   
sepia on fabriano paper  

Every street and every neighborhood has its own widely loved neighbors. What I want to capture through My Neighbors is the unique, iconic and deeply human qualities that make ordinary people the true bedrock of our communities and who give us something meaningful, true and solid to hold onto in times of trouble, which is especially important in neighborhoods like Scottsdale. At the kind of times that we live in I want ART to help people fill what I call The Dignity Gap.

I was honored to be awarded  Carson Cultural Arts Commission grant for 2016/17 to continue working on "My Neighbor Series" in collaboration with The City of Carson. The additional grant was provided by the Wells Fargo Bank.

I believe that strengthening community bonds by getting to know and love one’s neighbors is an answer to many of the difficult issues facing society today. I hope that My Neighbors will encourage visitors to see their own neighbors from a new perspective and take the message of love for one’s neighbor back to their own streets.

I want to capture people in these painting who you cannot help but love. Through the Love My Neighbor public art project, I want to encourage other people to notice and embrace human beacons in their own neighborhoods. These are the overlooked heroes of our society. 
The focus of my attention this year is the notorious Carson neighborhood called quite ironically "Scottsdale". Following my concept that special neighbors exist in every condition I was fortunate to find a remarkable and inspiring character in Cirilo Campos, a beloved 75 year old gardener who

has been working in "Scottsdale" Carson for 31 years and would not quit, a true local hero and the icon of serving community. 

Cirilo's noble values, the dignity and pride of his hard work stand in stark contrast to a morally bankrupt "greed is good" creed that is shoved at us from every corner and which had ripped the very fabric of our society, bringing us to the edge of loosing the very treasured system that gave us all that we enjoy. It is the inspiration from true people like Cirilo that will help us persevere. I decided to paint an epic life-size painting celebrating human dignity shining bright in the world of adversity. 

I decided to use the very process of art making as a community engagement tool and executed this large canvas entirely on-site in the series of over 40 live sessions each open to the public. To showcase works of My Neighbor Series to the local community and use the Love My Neighbor project as a tool of continuous community building, I established a permanent on-site Artward Gallery.

It was the most remarkable and rewarding project out of everything I have done so far.
 Affecting society where it is needed most is what my father believed ART suppose to do and I learned this belief from him.

Larga vida al rey!