Heart.Head.Hands- Inspirational Artist Series: 2

Welcome! This is the second rendition of the Heart.Head.Hands series. This month features the many artists (known and unknown) who created; the murals and graffiti art of East L.A. While this is only a fraction of the fabulous works found in the community I have chosen the ones that I was first exposed to and liked. Please feel free to make any comments on the artwork or about how you feel this thread is progressing. Everything is appreciated. Enjoy!

PAUL BOTELLO– was born and raised in East Los Angeles. He earned a BA and an MFA from Cal State University, Los Angeles. Paul has executed 22 murals in the last 15 years. He teaches art in the LAUSD school system and at the Claremont Colleges. I had the privilege of taking a class with him my freshman year of college that discussed art made by and from the perspective of Mexican and Chicano muralists and artists. I found the class fascinating and to this day hold it as one of the engaging courses I’ve ever taken. Here’s his perspective on his work:

“I have lived in East Los Angeles for all my life, my elementary. I am a third generation Mexican American, eight child of nine who lives amongst neighbors whose kids are first generation and because of this I feel my heritage around me like a blanket giving me a sense of comfort and sense of community. Living in the Twenty-first century I am very aware of the multi-cultural world that I am a part of, and so from this context I feel my art should reflect this diversity yet come from my unique perspective and schema. That is why my work is universal as well as personal and cultural.” Paul Botello at Latino Art Comunity.org

La Pared Que Habla, Canta y Grita (The Wall That Speaks, Sings, and Shouts) (2001)
Paul Botello
Assisted by Adalberto Ortiz, Gerardo Herrera, and Gustavo Sanchez

The image is of groups of marching men, women, and children who will not be detained by the police.This mural pays homage to Ruben Salazar who was a Los Angeles Times Mexican-American journalist who was killed by a police officer during The National Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam War on August 29, 1970 in East Los Angeles. What is striking about this image is how of the symbolic images meld into one another. 



Inner Resources (2000)
Paul Botello
City Terrace Park

 The image references Latin American culture and history through a variety of complex symbols and diverse themes. The central figure is a deity who spreads life. I am really in love with the use of color in this piece and all the action. He really creates a narrative in his work by manipulating the line of sight.
Paul Botello discussing his mural. 
A close up image I took to show how intricately detailed this piece is done. Everything starts at the center of the deity’s praying hands and then is spread out through a large portion of the mural in seperate lines. Wow. Go Paul!

Virgin’s Seed (1991)
Paul Botello
Hazard Ave. at Hammel St. (one block north of Brooklyn Ave.)

The image represents is a tribute to the Virgin of Guadalupe from a contemporary perspective. It consists of two giants on either side of her which represent his concern for the environmnt and education.  Unfortunately, I only have a close up shot but a quick google search can give you a better range. Like this, much of his work seems to channel his older brother, David Botello, who introduced mural painting to him at an early age.


David Botello–  co-founded GOEZ Art Studios & Gallery with the brothers Joe and John Gonzalez. The first such Chicano group of this kind in Los Angeles. Then in 1975, Wayne Alaniz Healy and Botello founded East Los Streetscapers, a public art group that has produced many artworks in different medias; such as acrylic and ceramic muralsmetal sculpture and concrete relief. Here is what the artist says about his work.

google search image

My personal art work I do is people. I love people and I do a lot of faces. I work well using photographs. I duplicate photographs likenesses very well. But culturally, I was inspired by pre-Columbian art. I like to bring some images of pre-Columbian sculpture into my art. Into the murals. I was also inspired by the impressionists, the French impressionists. The application of paint, the colors, I like classical European work. I try to bring all of that to my work.”–David Botello from Latinopia.com

What personally I love about his work is that it was created within the brink of the civil rights movement and a lot of that influence can be felt in it. Its all about heritage and empowerment; strength and education.  His work is not generic in anyway. He placed his own spin onto his figures bringing a life of their own that will live on to be and inspiration to their viewers.

Dreams of Flight (1973-78)
David Botello
Estrada Courts




His first solo mural, this image is of his some of his childhood fantasies. A boy swinging from a tire surrounded by his day dreams. 

Read between the Lines (1975)
David Botello
Here you see a young man turning away from what his family is doing (watching American TV) and is being inspired by an ancient pre-columbian deity Quetzalcoatl, as he reads a book on Mexico. It’s sad that such work gets destroyed when others decide to tag over.  There is such a strong message about control and education that its spoiled by selfish acts.





~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* GRAFFITI ARTIST~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Now I added this section to show the evolution of painting. Many people want to dismiss this type of art because they have stigmatized the graffiti style as being gang-related or the products of delinquent behavior. Generally, it has an over all negative connotation. However, no matter the ties, the reality is that these pieces also reflect the community and how its mixture of both new and old influences. The subject matter in these later ones is a bit more abstract, in my opinion, than some of the older murals and a lot of the symbolism and ownership is unknown to the untrained eye. Often the symbol or imagery will be the taggers calling card. Also due to the city of Los Angeles anti graffiti policy and other taggers many of these master pieces have short life spans. Still, they are remarkable. Have a look for yourself, you’ll see.
Untitled- 2008


Untitled Mural/ East LA | Vyal, Retna, Werc & Kofie–
House paint & Spray Paint on plaster and metal
2008
East Los Angeles, off of Whittier Blvd.



Untitled-2008



Untitled- 2008


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