Teenage riot

Stella Haus, a small Blue Star Complex gallery run by painter Dayna De Hoyos and devoted to emerging artists, took a leap of faith this March. Casa De Hoyos mounted an exhibition of (mostly self-) portraiture by some exceptional San Anto high schoolers enrolled in Blue Star’s MOSAIC (Mosaics of Student Artists in Community), a free afterschool arts-training program that combines traditional tile-mosaic technique with painting, drawing, and practical artworld know-how. I went to the closing party, saw the terrific, thought-provoking show curated by Alex Rubio, and spoke to the students. Check CurBlog for more images and reflections from these hugely promising and talented young artmakers.

Alex Rubio

“`These students` have all been part of my class since last September. They go to class every day, Monday through Saturday, so they’re very disciplined. We always talk about careers in art, creative jobs, and continuing their education. They’re reaching out to the community through their art as well. The first step `for the students to participate in the contemporary art scene` is to attend First Friday events at Blue Star … now they’re actually part of the contemporary art scene, by exhibiting in Dayna De Hoyos’s gallery, Stella Haus. … I started `painting` when I was 14. I was part of the mural project at the Mirasol Housing Project … that started my career off. And Vincent Valdez started out as a teenager, doing murals, too. So I tell my students, you’re part of a city with a great tradition. I’ve been amazed by the level of talent and creativity in these students, and when you combine that with a high degree of discipline and dedication, you have an incredible art worker, in a city that fosters these young workers. I’m excited to see their futures.”

Robert Velasco

10th grade, Brackenridge

“At first I wasn’t interested in art. But after making this piece — we did all this at Blue Star — I’m thinking of pursuing art after graduation, of majoring in criminal justice and art. I’m influenced by the old artists, such as Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh. But art just came out of nowhere for me, and seeing my work on a gallery wall, I felt really proud of myself for doing something I didn’t think I could do.”

Brandy Jimenez

A John F. Kennedy graduate, now a student at SAC

“I was a fan of Alex Rubio and of Vincent Valdez as well, before I studied with them. I’m a fan of Roberta Buckles at SAC, too. I’m a classically trained clarinetist, and with sheet music, I play what’s in front of me. With art, you’re free to do whatever you want. I’m a music major, but I can’t imagine my life without `visual art`. It’s a part of me now.”

Joshua Alfaro

11th grade, Brackenridge

“I’ve been doing art since I was 10, just drawing, doodling. I’m taking Art History with (Kim) Bishop, so I like Early Renaissance artists, like Donatello and Verocchio. Alex is really helpful. He’s amazing. Like Trevor, I’m interested to do graffiti and body art, though I’m still learning. I’m interested in studying at either the Rhode Island School of Design or the San Francisco Art Institute.”

Trevor Miranda

12th grade, Brackenridge

“I grew up on the East Side of San Antonio, there was no art around there when I was coming up. I’m always glad to tell that, because coming to Brack really switched my life around. I got into sports, and when I graduate, I want to become an artist in any form. Any opportunity I come across, I try to take it. What can I do to help my community, and at the same time, do what I know how to do? I’m trying to be a voice for graffiti artists, and mix fine art with graffiti art.”

Michelle Rangel

11th grade, Brackenridge

(Lead Artist of upcoming First MOSAIC commissioned mosaic tile mural at San Juan Square Apartments on South Zarzamora St.)

“I want either of two things — to be an artist or a psychologist … a lot of teachers say I should go for art therapy. Color pencil was really difficult for me for a while, technically. I want to try oils. My family’s happy, they’re like ‘It’s good you get paid for doing something you wanna do.’ Before `the MOSAIC program` I didn’t know much about contemporary art, I just knew I loved to draw.” •

For more information on the MOSAIC and other Blue Star art programs, visit bluestarart.org

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