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Bodies and souls

Anthony Vasquez, painter and muralist

RINCON-NOV-headshot-VasquezBackground: I was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I have been married for eight wonderful years to a very supportive woman with whom I am raising two inspiring children. Currently, I live and work in Scottsdale, and teach art at the Scottsdale Christian Academy.

Training/influences: Growing up, I drew quite a lot but did not have much of an art background; my grandmother loves to show me old drawings she saved that I used to do while I sat next to her during church services. I studied art with an emphasis in studio painting under Eugene Schilling at Adams State University in southern Colorado. While there, I was encouraged to work diligently and pursue my own artistic style. Interestingly, during those early years as an undergraduate, I became somewhat homesick, not necessarily just for family, but more for the heritage of my family, for my culture, my roots. I found myself fascinated by the vibrant Mexican muralist movement and I quickly developed an interest in an expressionist style of painting and figurative narrative. I really loved the visual passion that came through in each new image I saw of Siqueiros’ and Orozco’s murals.

Artistic intentions: My approach as an artist has always been to convey a strong sense of emotion and truthfulness, in such a way that each person would understand my work through their own life and discover their own reflection in them. As for myself, I want to portray a sacred reality, hold on to it, and give it permanency. The reality that lies deep within my soul is something that cries out for redemption and restoration of an alliance between Creator and creation. 

Recent projects: This past summer, I was given the opportunity to partner up with local artists, Bishop Ortega and Larry Valencia, to create a mural on the east side wall of Roosevelt Community Church in downtown Phoenix. Despite the challenges of painting during the hottest stretch in the summer, it was such a privilege to contribute to the flourishing mural scene established on Roosevelt Row. It was also really inspiring to visually communicate with the community on such a large scale, just as the muralists of old had done. The fact that murals can be subjective and mean different things to different people is unavoidable and good. At the same time, my hope with this mural was to portray a redemptive truth that I hold. 

Future plans: I am currently debating which type of continuing education I would like to pursue. From a technical standpoint, I most want to strengthen my understanding of painting and drawing the human figure. This past summer I had a great opportunity to meet with artist Bruce Herman. After viewing my work, he challenged me to focus on learning how to treat the figure more intellectually in order to round out my abilities and communicate to my audience better. I have enjoyed the challenge because it has forced me to get out of my comfort zone and stretch myself as an artist.

Website: My work can be seen at anthonyvasquez.com 

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This Article appears on the November 2013 issue of LPM under Rincón del Arte

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