Award winning artist, Antonio Pelayo, is hosting his first solo exhibition, “Mi Familia & Other Pencil on Paper”, from Saturday, February 25, through March 17 at The LAUNCH Gallery in Los Angeles.
For his “Mi Familia” project, Antonio explains: “I used old family photos as the subjects of these drawings. I intentionally left out the backgrounds, concentrating solely on the figures. I did this intentionally because with a background the story would be told. This way, with the subject alone and without a sense of place, the drawings ask “Who am I? Where do I belong?””
That sense of disconnection is a feeling the self-taught artist is all too familiar with. At the age of nine, his family suddenly moved to their rural village in El Palmar, Jalisco, 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.
It was then that Antonio turned to drawings as a way to distract himself from the displacement he was feeling. One of the first art-making memories is of him 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.
Several years later, Antonio moved back to Glendale and once again had to acclimate to the culture of a new world. Suddenly, the old saying “you can never go home again” became very loud and clear as Antonio wasn’t sure where he belonged. “A childhood broken into two countries has been a major subject matter in my art. It’s as though my paintings are still looking for that one home,” states the artist.
To this, Antonio found inspiration in the works of Brooklyn-born Frank Frazetta, Peruvian Boris Vallejo and the Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger. He also sought comfort in the works of Mexican art icons such as Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera, which helped him develop his unique style.
Antonio’s art has been shown in various museums 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.
“Mi Familia & Other Pencil on Paper” will be up for public display at The LAUNCH Gallery from February 25 through March 17.