When we hear the term “it runs in the family” it is usually connected to some negative behavior trait, a genetic disease or a vice, but in the Pelayo family, the main trait that runs through this family is artistic talent, as is the case of award winning artist Antonio Pelayo and his 18 year old son, Isaac Pelayo.
Antonio’s work has been showcased at some of the most important galleries in Los Angeles as well as various museums and at Al Borde’s Summer Concert at the MOLAA a few weeks ago and has been awarded several prestigious awards such as “People’s Choice Award, 3rd Ward Open Call NY 2011”, “Juror Award, Creative Art Center 2010”, “Best in Graphite Award, CCAA Museum 2009”, “1st Place Award, Lowrider Arte Magazine 2008” and “Best of Show Ontario Museum 2007 amongst other awards and recognitions
Antonio and Isaac had very different upbringings, Antonio turned to art as an escape. At the age of nine, Antonio’s family suddenly moved to their rural village in El Palmar, Jalisco in Mexico. Since Antonio was not fluent in Spanish at that time and the life he once lived was hundreds of miles away, he felt alienated from the city life he was used to living in his Glendale, California home.
Feeling disconnected from his world, Antonio turned to drawings as a way to distract himself from the displacement he was feeling. One of the first art-making memories of him is sneaking into a Catholic church to draw Jesus and various saints on the walls. The young artist would then capture his family, religious symbols and the rural landscapes of Jalisco in sketches as well.
Antonio was never discouraged from his art, but at the same time, he was never encouraged, unlike his son Isaac, who grew up surrounded by art and from a very young age, Isaac began to show hints of his talent.
On September 5th at the Creative Art Center in Burbank, Antonio and Isaac will be sharing the spotlight at their “Like Father, Like Son” exhibition. In anticipation of the exhibition, I had the opportunity to speak to both Antonio and Isaac to discuss their art and their joint exhibition and here is some of what they had to share:
“I will be sharing the second part of the “Mi Familia” series, but for this exhibition the theme concentrates on the separation of family because of immigration and the feelings it evokes like anxiety, or feeling displaced and these are all pieces based on my parents and what they went through.” Stated Antonio.
When asked when he first realized that his son Isaac had the talent to be an artist, Antonio replied: “Isaac has been drawing since he was around 2 years old. I began to take him to art exhibits and he was always motivated it by it and we would come home and he would dive into drawing. When he turned 9 or 10 he got better, and when he was 15, he began drawing in the same style as me and has really taken it to the next level.”
“I remember drawing since I was really young and I have always enjoyed it, but about 3 years ago is when it really hit me about doing something with it and I began to take it more seriously and I wanted to take it to another level.” Said Isaac when I asked him when he became aware of his talent.
“All through elementary and middle school I received awards for fine arts and 1st place ribbons at different exhibitions for kids, but at age 11, I received my first award from an actual gallery, I was awarded first place out of 150 students from all over Riverside County and I sold that piece for $100.” recalled Isaac.
I asked Isaac about the theme he will presenting at the “Like Father Like Son” exhibition and he stated: “I will be presenting a series called ‘Halo’ where each drawing will be a child of different ethnicities, and their skin is the only thing that’s detailed, their clothes are blank and so are the surroundings and they have a faded halo above them. The idea behind the series and the message I am trying to convey is that there are thousands of kids all over the world who are homeless and living in poverty and many people judge them by their appearance and their environment; by leaving the clothes and their surroundings blank, I am trying to convey the message about not judging someone because of how they look because you could be judging an angel.”
For more information about Antonio Pelayo, you can visit his website at www.antoniopelayo.com
The opening reception for the “Like Father Like Son” exhibition will take place Friday September 5th from 7-9 p.m. at the Burbank Creative Art Center at 1100 West Clark Avenue, Burbank, California 91506.