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
Inner Resources (2000)
City Terrace Park
Virgin’s Seed (1991)
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 murals, metal sculpture and concrete relief. Here is what the artist says about his work.
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.
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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.