The proposition was simple and straightforward: We would meet at my place around about 12:30, when the afternoon light was just right. And after a few minutes of catching up, we would sip tequila with beer chasers on my front porch, where I would ask Rogelio Reyes (a.k.a Roger Eyes R.) all about his four-month long endeavor to finish 6 medium-sized portraits of day laborers, live, during the coming art walks in downtown Santa Ana. Yes, simple: while I sit before a T.V. dinner table with my typewriter on it and conduct the interview, he paints a portrait of me with my whole arsenal of media at his fingertips—a face-to-face meeting, as it were, and a brutal peeling/picking of artistic minds.
The way I saw it, there was no real better or more fitting way to accomplish this task of outlining what he plans to do and just how he plans to do it. I had to catch the man in action, as he’ll be seen during the bleak icy first Saturdays of the months to come; see what makes him tick; see his style bleed upon paper, and hopefully by being one of the first to hear him speak about blue collar/hump-busters/hard-working/laborers, I could really get an understanding as to why he chose to paint those who truly make the world go round, for the first time in his artistic career.
He’d seen them all his life; regarded them as something familiar yet too removed from the world that his art tended to gravitate toward, and wanted nothing more than to revolve around: his inner-thoughts, his own world.
But after several brush-ups and lengthy conversations with assorted laborers at his last job, he felt inspired to make them come through in what he calls “Pop Impressionism.” He basically pops all the colors in a painting that you wouldn’t normally pop--as is my understanding. At first I thought he’d coined the style/technique, but he reassured me that wasn’t the case.
And the portraits will be, aside from his Pop Impressionistic approach, straightforward, because he wants to make sure that the message is received by as many of those who see the portraits. And that message is that laborers are everywhere, and you more than likely have several in your very own lineage.
So, as he drew some starter shapes on the 12 x 10 newsprint paper he had up on an easel, using some black Higgin’s ink I had leftover, he went down the list of the types of laborers he’s (so far) considering.
1) Basket weavers of the Juaneño tribe, natives to the southern tip of the coast now known as Orange County: These, he said, will be drawn from old sepia photos he managed to get his hands on, and are to be interpreted by Roger in “oranges and yellows that pop.”
2) A Ranchero: Possibly tilling the soil of his fertile land, or one of a rancher humbly standing in front of Irvine’s meadowy green and grassy hills as they roll seemingly forever behind him, off into the distance. The concept for this portrait is also dependent on what old photo(s) he’s able to scrounge up and that inspire him.
3) A Business Owner: In red. Roger is considering hitting the pavement and searching for a living breathing subject that hits the spot for this one. He feels it just might be the right type of subject to sort of round off the whole collection: One for the little guy.
He tells me he’s not quite sure who or where to start asking. But he’s not worried. Plenty of time, still, he says.
He eyeballs my hair and adds a couple of more ink lines in a downward motion. I type: B. Owner…To Be Determined.
4) Orange pickers: a fairly obvious choice—but equally a must, considering where we are. Possibly a picture of him committing himself to the kind of work that was once rampant around here not too long ago; before the burnout strip malls and the heavy industrial goliaths arrived and shaved them off the map, roots and all.
Also from sepia photos. Roger plans on doing this portrait in blue.
Bold, I told him. He agreed.
5) Shop Owner(s?): Although similar to #3, he’s considering making it a portrait of a man and a woman who run the show of some small shop, along for the drudgery of earning an honest American buck together. Also T.B.D.
6) Female Machinist for Aerospace: This one is a little down the line so there’s not much to go off of yet, he tells me.
This brings us to the first Saturday of May, the 4th, Spring of 2019: Artwalk. By this time Roger plans on having all six portraits finished and displayed at the promenade, by the fountain, in the heart of the Artist’s Village, finished and ready to then be hauled to the Fourth Element Gallery in DTSA, where they will more legitimately displayed as a collection of finished works with all the lights and the little signs beside each painting that give you the titles and a brief description of each one.
But the money melon is the actual experience of standing beside Roger Eyes R., seeing him paint, but also, actually having a conversation with the man. If you find yourself walking toward the fountain on the promenade in the coming months, and you happen to spot Roger, wearing his paint-stained white lab coat, looking like a mix between John Lennon (circa ’75) and Roy Orbison in his heyday, you should talk to him. Tell him where you’ve been. Tell him about what in the hell was bothering you all day today, and why it was a mean gorilla’s hair up your ass. Tell him about your walk down Santa Ana’s dark alleys, feeling the bricks with your fingertips, taking a long drag, thinking that things (and truly believing) could really be a whole lot better than now. He will listen. He will paint. For all the right reasons.
Story by Eric Cocoletzi
Photo by Brian Feinzimer
Santa Ana Arts publishes articles reported and written by art journalists, and op-eds written by art institutions and practitioners in the fields we cover: visual and performing arts and design. If you have a submission that promotes your organization’s projects or services, please see the sponsored posts section below.
We welcome well-considered pitches from journalists around the city of Santa Ana for our shorter “daily” pieces (250 to 500 words) and our weekly features (around 800 to 1,000 words). When writing to us, you should note which you’re after.
Generally, we report on visual performing art and design throughout the city. Writers who are the best fit for us have a deep understanding of the complexity of layers that make up Santa Ana's creative culture — including the coverage of issues in our community about the impacts of art in relation to poverty, immigration and affordable housing shortages along with other economic barriers that face our artist community as related to access and the freedom of open cultural expression within the arts — and all the tools needed to overcome these problems (whether effective or not). Our regular freelancers (we’re always looking to expand that roster) are committed to the extensive reporting required to explore these complex issues, and the ways one can successfully translate how the arts can have to real human impacts within community.
Our readers are people working daily to make their city more sustainable and more equitable, with regards to economics and infrastructure. We’re committed to bringing them smart reads about the new ideas and effective people in the arts . We seek to highlight a diverse array of voices and perspectives within the city.
We’re looking for specific story pitches, not topic ideas. You must answer the following in your pitch: Why now? (In other words, what’s the news hook?) Why do Santa Ana Arts readers need to know about this? What’s the problem at the center? How has it been or can it be tackled? (You should have a general idea about possible solutions before pitching. “I want to explore … ” won’t get you an assignment.) How does it translate to a broader urban city context? How has it been covered by other media outlets, local or national? Please include potential sources in your pitch.
We also are willing to review events, conferences, symposia and meetings related to the arts. We know that you certainly might get a lead while networking on a great story as well. Pitch us after you’ve attended and looked into the idea. We also like to learn about local artist through artist Q&As.
Please send article pitches to email@example.com.
Op-eds should be topical and relevant to Santa Ana Art's which has the mission of inspiring positive change in cities through the arts and speak to how the arts can and does effect such change. Articles should express a strong, informed opinion. (If you’re writing about your organization or work that you do, please see sponsored posts below.)
All submissions must be original, and not published elsewhere. Maximum length is 1,200 words. We will not consider articles that have already been published, in any form, in print or online.
We don’t pay for op-eds or guarantee publication in advance of receiving a submission. To submit pieces for consideration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “ Art Op-Ed Submission” in the subject line.
We review all emails with op-ed submissions, but we can’t respond to every one. If you haven’t heard back from us in four weeks, feel free to pitch elsewhere.
Sponsored PostsIf you’re with a for-profit business or nonprofit organization and have a art specific submission that promotes you and the work that you do, you can find rates and details about placing a sponsored post by emailing email@example.com.
The City of Santa Ana invites you to the "unveiling" of their first city-sponsored art panel public art project in the historic downtown at East 3rd and North Bush Streets!
Artists & Artworks Presented:
Art for Change Collaborative – “DTSA”
Brian Peterson – “Bold as a Lion” & “The Elephant in the Room”
Bud Herrera – “One with Nature”
Ed Terrell – “Pure Light”
GENE – “Butterflies”
Kimberly Duran – “Respirar Lucha”
Join Arts & Culture Office Staff and Commissioners for a brief presentation at East 3rd and North Bush Streets @ 5:30 pm. Following, there will be a reception at the 4th Street Market patio to recognize artists, arts organizations, educators, community leaders, and supporters who have collaborated with the City over the years.
According to the City, "Comfort food and desserts will be catered by the eateries at 4th Street Market and entertainment will be provided by talented local artists."
Artsits and supporters are encouraged to attend to mingle & network with creative folks who shape the city's vibrant arts community
The event is FREE and open to the public, but you MUST RSVP
Parking is not included. Please check meters or parking lots for fees and operating hours
It's an exciting night in Downtown Santa Ana for theatre lovers: The Wayward Artist kicks off its inaugural 2018 season tonight with a sold out gala and production of their show, Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz, directed by Craig Tyrl and assistant directed by Sarah Ripper.
Check out the 2018 season of The Wayward Artist's unique productions which vary from marrying Star Wars to Shakespeare in Twelfth Night -- a galactic farce to side journeys into ballet and modern dance with Faith -- a dance concert, and even explorations of religion and tolerance in Terrence McNally's passion play Corpus Christi -- all shows with a unifying theme of 'faith.'
The Wayward Artist is an energetic new voice in the Artists Village, making its home in the CSUF Grand Central Arts Building at 125 N Broadway. Be sure to check out the season and make an evening at the theatre in downtown.
Visit The Wayward Artist this season.
Photo from The Wayward Arist.
Story by Ryan Smolar.
The City of Santa Ana's Arts and Culture Commission in collaboration with the Fine and Performing Arts Division of Santa Ana College is proud to present “Free Grant Writing Workshops for Artists” on Saturday, April 14, 2018 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Santa Ana College.
Join us for a one-day workshop to improve your skills and learn what it takes to write a successful grant proposal from start to finish! You can attend one or both sessions. Workshops are free and open to the public.
Workshops will be presented by Tomas Benitez, Development Director for Plaza de la Raza in Los Angeles.
Who should attend?
• Individual artists
• Arts & Cultural organizations
• Nonprofit and business professionals
• Advancement and development officers
• K-12 Educators
RSVP here by April 13, 2018:
Free to attend one or both sessions:
10:00 am - 12:30 pm: Beginning Grant Writing
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Lunch (provided)
1:30 pm - 4:00 pm: Advanced Grant Writing
Santa Ana College
1530 W. 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706
Building C, Room C-104
Lot # 6 (Enter lot on N. Bristol St, between W. 17th St. & Washington Ave.) Parking Permit $2.00 (Purchase at the yellow vending machine with cash, credit, or debit card.)
Boca de Oro - Free Literature Readings & Workshops
Coinciding with the DTSA 1st Saturday Artwalk, the Boca de Oro Arts & Literature Fest is an enticing mixture of 30+ keynote presentations, literary reading, poetry slams, panel discussions, writing workshops, book signings, and live performances happening across Downtown Santa Ana.
On Saturday March 3rd, Downtown Santa Ana will be transformed into the Literary Capital of Orange County. Over a dozen art galleries, restaurants, historic buildings and secret spaces will double as houses of letters for literary fans to connect with local and regional writers.
12pm - Opening Session
Opening the festival leading a line-up of over 35 events is the Poet Laureate and presenter, Luis J. Rodriguez, an author who has won national recognition as a poet, journalist, fiction writer, children's book writer, and critic.
Location: Orange County Center for Contemporary Art
Curated by: Michelle Duman & Marcus Omari
2pm-4pm - Phase 1
Express Yourself (Youth Workshop)
Express Yourself is a multi-workshop event put on by Triple Threat Mentoring’s STUDIO3. At the event, youth will be provided a platform to explore their individual creativity through a variety of mediums, including sketching, DJ-ing, beatmaking, grafitti art and spoken word. (Note: STARTS AT 3PM)
Location: 4th Street Market
Produced by: Studio 3// Triple Threat with Ben Thomas
Image the Body: A Workshop in Radical Envisioning
Authors Natalie Graham and Cynthia Alessandra Briano will share a workshop in radical envisioning.
Location: Good Beer Co.
Curated by: Natalie Graham and Cynthia Alessandra Briano
Review the works of author Dr. Nogales including her newest release is Latina Power: Using Your 7 Strengths to Say No to Abusive Relationships (a Latina Power Workbook) which provides practical information and resources for women facing domestic violence and was awarded First Place at the 2011 Latino Literacy Now International Book Awards. (Note: This event occurs from 2-5pm.)
Dr. Nogales' professional career is anchored by her commitment to combat violence, especially violence against women and children. She uses many avenues of communication including the media and is an award winning author, playwright, songwriter, and currently working on a script for a movie about human trafficking.
Location: Orange County Center of Contemporary Art
Curated by: Dr. Ana Nogales
La Vida Tiene Valores
In 2009, Councilman Juan Villegas published La Vida Tiene Valores /Life Has Values, which won first place at the International Latino Book Awards Literacy Now for Best Parenting/Family Book in 2014. From that came a prestigious recognition for Juan, as he was recognized as the Award Winning Author of 2014. (Note: STARTS AT 3PM)
Location: Orange County Center for Contemporary Art
Curated by: Councilman Juan Villegas
AvantGarden will host two Award-winning, best-selling children's authors A.J. Cosmo, Andrea Ruygt, Meadow Griffith along with Romina Ramirez and returning children's author Mitch Robinson.
Curated by: Laura Robinson
In “Convince me! An interactive discussion and workshop on writing (creatively) to persuade,” K-B and Sara, authors and founders of Writers Resist, an online literary journal, will engage the participants in a discussion, prompts, and writing scenarios.
Location: Alta Baja Market
Curated by: KB Gressitt & Sara Marchant
Breath of Fire Audition for Musical Theater
Auditioning individuals explore scene structure, action, events, voice, and dialogue. We will actively discuss work. This class’s emphasis is on process, risk-taking, and finding one’s own voice and vision.
Location: Grand Central Arts Building
Curated by: Diana Burbano & Sara Guerrero
The Art of Persuasion - SAUSD Public Speaking Performances
Students from the Santa Ana Unified School District’s (SAUSD) national award-winning Speech and Debate team will showcase their skills.
Location: Frida Cinema
Curated by: Councilman Sal Tinajero, Santa Ana Unified School District
La Gloria de Nuestro Pueblo/ The Glory of our Towns
Coming from all over Orange County. Octogenarians come together to discuss the history of the barrios in “The Glory of Our Towns” where they will revisit the places they grew up and call home. On Saturday, current and former residents of one of Santa Ana's oldest Latino barrios gathered for a reunion in a neighborhood where, for many, life began.
Location: Santora Arts Building, Room 205
Curated by: Dylan Almendral with Paul Guzman & Sam Roman
Community Expression Through Art, Literature and Education
During the 2-4 and 4 -6 blocks a series of performances and panels will take place, linking the way that the arts serve to aesthetically express community talent, as well as share concerns, and efforts all with the ultimate aim of engaging and educating our communities. In the first session, one panel will follow poetry, narratives and art to engage the participants and audience. In the second session, community artists will perform, and then debrief their stance in how their art is an expression and affirmation of culture, politics and solidarity.
Location: Chapman’s Centro Comunitario de Educación
Curated by: Anaida Colon-Muniz
4pm-6pm - Phase 2
Breaking Tables: Arts & Literary Experience
Breaking Tables is a literary arts event whose title represents dismantling tables of privilege and power and reconstructing tables of inclusion, innovation, and equality, in our personal lives, communities, and society at large. We have an amazing lineup of readers and artists who, through their own interpretation, will breathe life into the theme and make it their own.
Location: Chapter One - Red Room
Curated by: Darlene Kriesal
Santa Ana Forgiveness Project
The Santa Ana Forgiveness Project seeks to illuminate the healing power of art through the use of collage and storytelling. Participants represent a small cross section of Santa Ana’s population, including students from middle schools and high schools within Santa Unified School District, social workers, interns, community intervention workers, probation officers, local nonprofit staff and leaders, teachers and administrators, and residents of Santa Ana. The project seeks to heal a community one individual at a time … together … not in isolation. Forgiveness on an individual level with a ripple effect throughout the community.
Location: AvantGarden Gallery
Curated by: Teri Arana
Location: La Rinconada
Curated by: Michelle Duman
PILLOW TALK: Works from Female & Queer Voices
Alternative art & performance comes into focus with PILLOW TALK, celebrating female, queer and POC voices in art, food and culture. Let performances by Aman K Batra (Huffington Post, Bustle), Portia Bartley (All Def Poetry), Linda Ravenswood (Melrose Poetry Bureau) and Lauren White soothe your soul!
Location: The Good Beer Company
Curated by: Sarah Armstrong
El Otro Lado de Pared/The Other Side of the Wall
Presentación de lectura de poesía contemporánea en español. Lectura de poemas de mis libros, El Otro Lado De La Pared y Arboles De Vida.Temas relacionados con experiencias personales de la vida, Historias cortas con moral profunda y la belleza d la creación.
Spanish Poetry reading performance. Reading poems from my books, The Other Side Of The Wall and Trees Of Life,Topic related with personal life experiences, short stories and the beauty of creation
Location: Alta Baja Market
Curated by: Jose Lozano
6pm-8pm - Phase 3
Tongue and Groove
Tongue and Groove is a monthly literary variety show, produced and hosted by Conrad Romo. It has featured nearly 400 writers over the past 10 years and has been praised by Sunset Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Poets & Writers as well as Ploughshares and Time Out as one of L.A.’s Best Reading Series. In this Second Annual Boca de Oro: Art and Lit Fringe Festival Conrad Romo will be hosting Daniel McGinn, Debra Diaz, Sheila J. Sadr, Cynthia Romanowski and Steve Ramirez at Chapter One's Red Room in Downtown Santa Ana. Don't Miss it!
Location: Chapter One - Red Room
Curated by: Conrad Romo
The Prose Poem As Poetic Revolt: Generative Workshop and Discussion
From its rebellious roots to now, the prose poem has been loved by writers such as Walt Whitman, Naomi Shihab Nye, Charles Simic, and Anne Carson; and it is constantly re-imagining itself. Russell Edson said, “A good prose poem is a statement that seeks sanity whilst its author teeters on the edge of the abyss.” Participants in this generative workshop should arrive willing to seek new and gorgeous paths to bringing their unruly craft into light.
After reading and discussing samples of prose poems, participants in this generative workshop will attempt to write their own non-lineated verses. All will be encouraged to write poems that are unpredictable and gorgeous, pieces that are not obliged to obey traditional poetic structures, but instead stage their revolts with brave delight.
Location: Chapter One - Red Room
Curated by: Danielle Mitchel
Black Out Poetry (Workshop)
Black Out Poems: Want to learn something new? Take one our creative workshops taught by SAUSD Librarian Tami Davis. 1. Take any print resource: newspaper, book, magazine, etc. Use original or make a copy. 2. Choose the words that will make up your poem; circle them or put a box around them. 3. Black out, color in, draw, or paint over everything except your selected words.
Location: M. Lovewell
Curated by: Tami Davis
Women’s Voices: Celebrating Women Authors in Literature. 2018 is the year of women, join us as we celebrate women’s voices from various literary genres in a two-hour segment of readings from authors Diana Giovinazzo Tierney, Jennifer Laam, Holly Kammier, Heather Reinhardt, J.J. Gesher (Joyce Gittlin and Janet B. Fattal), Christina Cigala, Rolonda Watts and Christina Julian.
Location: Alta Baja Market
Curated by: Diana Tierney
Sister Spit was a lesbian-feminist spoken-word and performance art collective based out of San Francisco, signed to Mr. Lady Records. They formed in 1994 and disbanded in 2006. Founding members included Michelle Tea and Sini Anderson, Other members included Jane LeCroy and poet Eileen Myles. The group were noted for their Ramblin' Roadshow, performing at feminist events such as the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. The Boston Phoenix described it as "the coolest (and cutest) line-up of talented, tattooed, pierced, and purple-pigtailed performance artists the Bay Area has to offer". (STARTS AT 7PM, THIS SHOW HAS A COST FOR ENTRY).
Location: Makara Center for the Arts
Curated by: Marytza Rubio
Creating with Text and Music
Join in for a unique discussion and workshop as three composers share thoughts and insights from their own practices on creating with text and music. This interactive event will also include live, in-the-moment composing of vocal music, as the composers set crowd-sourced poetry from the audience to music (and possible surprise guest vocalists in a unique pop-up performance).
Location: AvantGarden Gallery
Curated by: Steve Homestead
OC RYSE will share performance poetry featuring teams of students from OSCA. The goal of OC RYSE is to increase the exposure of poetry to a general public audience by featuring the engaging, dynamic performances of talented local young poets.
In this performance, students will choose a classic poem to dramatically recite. Second, students craft and perform an original response poem that echoes elements of the classic choice. This synthesis of academics and artistry promises audiences a stimulating exploration of poetry’s broad power.
Location: Frida Cinema
Moderated by: Josh Wood
Boca de Oro: Master Class
At Boca de Oro in a team of graduating performances throughout the day this MFA Master Class with Alina Nguyen and Victoria McCoy share their skills as touring performers of the poetic arts to provide both artistic stimulation for performing students as well as visitors excited by the literary arts who are aspiring to have a career in the field. Masterclasses are understood as one of the most effective means of artistic development, along with competitions, examinations, and practice.
Location: Frida Cinema
Curated by: Marcus Omari
8pm-10pm - Phase 4
Poetic Reform Party
Poetic Reform Party believes in the indispensable value of the poetic arts in the NEW American culture. The organizations mission is to promote the emergence of fresh poetic voices engaged in literary arts, to encourage the professional development of artists through community based initiatives and to cultivate an environment in which poetic artistry is appreciated and accessible to the widest possible public.
Boca de Oro: Art & Literature Fringe Festival was formed through a joint partnership between many people: Santa Ana Business Council and Downtown Inc.; Santa Ana Unified School District and SanArts; Conrad Romo, producer of Lit Fest Los Angeles and Melrose Bellows; Author and Art Commissioner and Makara Center for the Arts founder Marytza Rubio; and Orange Coast Magazine book journalist Cynthia Romanowski.
The historic Knights of Pythias Building on 5th & Broadway is home to the California Center for Digital Arts.
It may be tucked away upstairs, but this studio, school and gallery occupies the entire second floor with an entrance between La Rinconada Restaurant and Ninjas with Appetite on 5th Street.
Make your way to the Center this Artwalk and check out four awesome photographers showing their work. In addition, Monica Royal will host a talk on "Motivation and Inspiration" at 5:30pm.
Monica Royal is considered to be one of the most innovative macro artists today. Her signature droplet artwork has become a source of inspiration for countless other artists who study under her. Monica works closely with Tamron USA, Savage Universal and Millers Professional Imaging to produce the highest quality fine art photography. She is a published author on macro photography and has permanent fine art installations in Canada, the U.S. and Guam.
Photography is my passion. I love creating original pieces unique to my vision by manipulating my images digitally and by utilizing alternative processing techniques.
David Moyle is a local photographer whose artistic work has been displayed at several galleries. His photography was selected as a finalist for the Kinsey Institute annual art competition. He was also honored with an award from B&W Magazine and in the B&W Spider Awards in the Fine Art category. David was selected as one of the 20 “Creatives” to display work at OC Weekly’s 2015 “Artopia” and his work was displayed at Musee du Louvre in Paris as part of the see me Exposure Awards. He was an international Color Awards Nominee and a Spider Fellow Nominee in 2013.
Dan Holmes travels the world exploring, discovering, and telling stories with light. Known for his emotional and evocative imagery, he takes great pleasure in teaching about photographing in the natural world. He specializes in Fine Art Nature, Events, Commercial, and Workshops. Dan’s awards include PPC Nature, Landscape, & Photojournalist Photographer of the Year; Kodak Gallery Award; Black and White Spider International, Creative Asia and others. He is represented by Getty Images, and Premier Artists Collection. This is a free event.
About the California Center for Digital Arts
310 W. 5th St. | North Broadway
The California Center for Digital Arts is more than a collection of useful equipment, studios, classrooms, and top-flight teachers. It is a student resource for beginners and a source of inspiration for advanced image/video creators developing new, or expanding, visual voices. The California Center for Digital Arts is a community of artists with expert instructors and hands on learning.
About First Saturday DTSA Artwalk
Downtown Santa Ana Artists Village, East End, West End, Main St. and North Broadway
DTSA Artwalk is like a free carnival happening across downtown Santa Ana. There are two main outdoor festival areas with vendors, pop-up artists and performances, over 20 art galleries and studios with rotating art shows and performances and live music.
What is the impact of radically celebrating those living in the margins our our city?
What if we could see the gold hidden beneath their life or hardship and pain?
What if you could use art to help them see who they really are?
Brian Peterson, Founder of Faces of Santa Ana, and Damin Lujan, Santa Ana street artist, took on the opportunity to dignify and celebrate those living in the margins of Santa Ana’s downtown community. Formerly known as the Guest Inn and Suites, the hotel has been transformed into the The Orchard, a large 70 room permanent housing community for the homeless in Santa Ana. As construction nears a completion, Community Development Partners reached out to the local artist’s to brighten up the 3000 square ft wall in the rear of the building.
Before paint touched the wall, the artists first met and interviewed the new residents of The Orchard. They realized the importance of connecting with the resident’s hearts before creating the art for the wall. This was in fact the start of the mural. Their stories and hearts became the inspiration for the large wall comprised of twelve portraits and many symbols derived from their interviews. Unlike most murals in large cities, The Orchard project is a mural specifically for the residents. It positioned in the rear courtyard of their community, surrounded by future fruit and vegetable gardens and a learning center. It is a piece of art the 70 residents can be proud of. It is something they can call their own.
The full project took about 6 days to complete. Along the way, Brian and Damin had the opportunity to spend time with Daniel, a 14 year old resident of The Orchard. Daniel stood in amazement, watching his face and his beloved puppy being painted 18 feet in height. After an extended moment of silence and reflection, Daniel uttered, “I feel so special!”. Brian and Damin began to realize the power and impact the mural was creating. They asked Daniel, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how special do you feel?” Daniel responded, “Definitely a 10! It’s always been on my bucket list to be painted.”
The artist’s spent the six days laughing, joking, loving, and learning from The Orchard’s residents. Big John, the third portrait on the wall, spent all six days outside with Brian and Damin extending the tough love and endless jokes he's known for within The Orchard’s walls. He was their daily dose of joy and encouragement during the long hours of painting. Many other residents brought the artists food, snacks, and even a hand written thank you card. In the end, the mural has revealed its purpose to all involved. More than bringing color and life to a space, its true intention was to build relationships. Art has a supernatural way to pull down walls and connect us. Damin and Brian feel that the bigger the wall, the larger the opportunity to love, learn, and grow. Together, they dream of more walls like this in cities around the world. They are committed to dignifying and celebrating those who know what its like to feel invisible. Their journey of art and love is just beginning.
Story and Photos by Brian Peterson. Faces of Santa Ana.
The Bill Medley Auditorium hallway gets a fresh coat of paint
Through the Emmy award winning artist, Dionisio Ceballos, SAHS is embracing high art to exhibit in the foyer of the well-trafficked Bill Medley Auditorium, connecting to the artist village of Downtown as a destination for arts and culture in Santa Ana. The artist, who goes by Dio, plans to capture the pre-hispanic iconography of our local culture as shown in the attached, and will infuse the spirit, energy and imagery of the students, staff, parents and community who cross the threshold into this historic and distinctive school through a planned, yet intuitive organic process to really connect with the meaning of the oldest school in Santa Ana. As the principal, Jeff Bishop says, “As Santa Ana High School goes, so goes the city.”
Dio is well known for his work on the film "Frida"
Of his many credits, Dio worked on the film “Frida” which received 6 Academy-award nominations, including best art direction. Dio studied the techniques of Frida and painted all the Frida work represented in the movie. He exhibits some of his work at the esteemed San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is a multidisciplinary artist known for his murals, and is also a screenwriter and animated film artist. He works in the U.S. and Mexico and brings some of the unique color palette, imagery, and tradition so much a part of Mexican art and infuses it with his study of light and atmosphere to make his pieces current, relevant and timeless.
Dio's work holds deep meaning
Dio represents the meta-disciplines and entrepreneurial skill-sets required by artists today. His story is of a path that meanders from intent and, yet, magically and perfectly builds a unique skill set that allows one to meet the immediate and rapidly evolving demands of industry when they appear. He demonstrates the risk-taking required of creatives today and a willingness to say “yes” in the moment, equipped with the resources and grit to figure it out and not only succeed, but thrive. He is open and vulnerable, sharing his thoughts and process so that others can learn from his work and find their own voice within their own process. Through his work, he demonstrates the joy that art brings to visually stimulate thought and energy, stir emotion and conversation, and activate community. It’s another way of capturing the adage of, “If these walls could talk.” As the mural unfolds and takes on a life of its own, there will be much talking about this visual and literal transformation of Santa Ana High School to an arts-focused, arts-centered school in the process of developing an arts school within the bigger context of the school while ensconcing all students in an arts-rich visual environment, because the arts literally do touch all aspects of our lives, directly and indirectly.
Read more in the OC Register: "How Frida Kahlo and Jack Daniels led to a giant mural at Santa Ana High"
About SanArts at Santa Ana High School
Santa Ana High School (SAHS) is undergoing a transformation to celebrate the history and culture that reigns the halls of this iconic school while capturing the school’s rich heritage through visual culture. It’s a metaphorical representation of the work going on around SanArts, the next generation arts conservatory at Santa Ana High School.
Story by Robyn MacNair
Dia de los Muertos is one of the most popular events celebrated across the city of Santa Ana. From Downtown to MainPlace Mall, the Bowers Museum to Fairhaven Cemetary and even Valley High School, the celebration of life and death resonates with residents and visitors each year.
Viva La Vida - October 21
Viva la Vida is the first shot-across-the-bow signaling the arrival of Dia de los Muertos season in Santa Ana. Founded by Calacas Cafe owner Rudy Cordova, Viva la Vida's modern take on the holiday included a Lucha Libre theme and a new location in the heart of DTSA. Visit their Facebook page to see pictures of the event which was nicely paired with the annual DTSA 5k Run.
Dia de los Muertos at MainPlace Mall - October 28
MainPlace Mall hosts a popular Dia de los Muertos celebration each year that keeps getting better and better. Don't miss the main stage at Macy's Court with live performances of indigenous Mexican music by Martin Espino, Folklorico dance by Ballet Folklorico Raices, Santa Ana High School's award-winning Mariachi Band, and music and dance by OCCTAC.
The celebration continues with kid's coloring activities, face painting, cookie decorating (while supplies last), an art show featuring work by Santa Ana High School Unified School District students, and a photo booth! Visit their Facebook Event Page and invite your friends.
Valley de los Muertos - November 1
The talented students and teachers at Valley High School are collaborating once again for an awesome free community event that features art, food, dance, banda, altars and mariachi. Show the Falcons some love and stop by for a great time 5-9pm. More information on Facebook.
Dia de los Muertos at Fairhaven Cemetery - November 1
Join Fairhaven Cemetery as they celebrate and remember those we have lost. Their service held at Waverley Chapel includes live music, dance performances and traditional refreshments. More info on Facebook.
15th Annual Noche de Altares: “Quinceañera” - Nov. 4
Noche de Altares is consistently ranked Santa Ana's favorite event drawing nearly 40,000 visitors to downtown to see over 100 altars lining Calle Cuatro (4th Street). According to the organizers, "For one night, families, students, community organizations, activists, artists, and businesses are invited to build an altar in memory of a deceased loved one or to bring awareness to a social issue. By making altars, participants are inviting fellow community members into their own life and passions for a loved one. Over the years we have seen altars bring strangers together through mutual compassion, understanding and dialogue. Families reunite to remember and honor their loved ones." Learn more on Facebook.
Day of the Dead Festival at Bowers Museum - Nov. 5
Close out the season with the annual Day of the Dead event at the Bowers Museum during their monthly installment of Sunday free family festivals. The Bowers puts on a show-stopper to honor our departed ones with music, dance and art. Sponsored by The Nicholas Endowment. Share the event on Facebook.
Story by Ryan Smolar
Santa Ana Arts News
News, opportunities and updates for the creative community.