MOSAIC Students Rock Stella Haus: Extended Dance Re-Mix!

(photo of "Self Image opening, by Troy Wise)

In the current Current issue, online and in print today, my story appears about “Self Image” at Stella Haus, the show by students in the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center's MOSAIC after-school arts program for high schoolers. You can read the shorter version here.

As noted there, I got to go to the closing party for “Self Image,” a group exhibition of portraits (mostly self-portraits, though Michelle Moreno executed two graphite drawings of her mother and grandmother, as well), and talked to the student artists about their work. I left the party uplifted and inspired by their work and what they had to sayâ?? about the program, the process of artmaking, their instructors, their future plans, and each other.

As excited and encouraged as I was by the talent and enthusiasm of these artists, I was also moved by the dedication and commitment shown by the grownups involved with the show. Dayna De Hoyos opened her gallery to their art, and has taken on the smart, talented, and amazingly talkative Trevor Miranda as Stella Haus's gallery intern for upcoming First Thursday and Friday openings!

Kim Bishop, the art and art history teacher at Brackenridge High, also deserves mucho respect from her community and her students for her involvement with MOSAIC and for her teaching; the students were grateful to her, many affectionately name-dropping her as an instructor and as an artist. Kim Bishop makes artmaking, art history, and the local contemporary art scene real and accessible to her student artists, every day.

And Alex Rubio, as many know, in addition to being an amazing painter, has spent years doing community arts organizing and mentoring young artists from San Antoâ?? most famously, perhaps, Vincent Valdez, whose “El Chavez Ravine” show is up at SAMA (see Elaine Wolff's review here), and who gave a brilliant lecture there last week. Alex Rubio (who, by the way, is immortalized several times in Valdez's art) took 30 MOSAIC students to hear Valdez speak, and also to see the show and to meet Valdez. Several of the MOSAIC-istas talked to me about drawing deep inspiration from Valdez as an artist, and from Alex Rubio as an artist, as an instructor, and as a mentor.

Here are the words of Rubio and these students, along with images of them and their work.

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 nin the contemporary art scene` is to attend First Friday events at Blue Starâ?¦now they're actually part of the contemporary art scene, by exhibiting in Dayna De Hoyos' gallery, Stella Haus. â?¦I started `painting` when I was 14, I was part of the mural project at the Mirasol Housing Projectâ?¦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 (tiled mosaic) pieceâ??we did all this at Blue Starâ??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 i`visual art`, it's a part of me now.”

Joshua Alfaro

11th grade, Brackenridge

“I've been doing art since I was ten, 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 and the San Francisco Art Institute.”

Trevor Miranda

12th grade, Brackenridge

“I grew up on the Eastside 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 wanna 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.”

Victoria Bustos

11th grade, Brackenridge

“Movies, books, music all help me make art. I love older vintage stuff, from the 70s and 8-s, like Pink Floyd and the Cranberries. I think I was born in the wrong time! I love thrift stores, too, and I'm interested in fashion design. I'd never done a color portrait of myself. I'm basically a shy person, and doing this self portrait in stronger colors helped me see myself in a new way.”

Richard Casarez

12th grade, Kennedy

“I like a lot of contemporary and Chicano art, especially Alex `Rubio` and Vincent `Valdez`. I'm inspired by music, too a lot of old punk, like Dead Kennedys. My favorite singer is Richie Valens, though, and Queen! Freddie Mercury. I have a tattoo of him. Ten years from now I see myself painting, tattooing, and teaching, probably high school.”

Here, by the way, is Richard's Freddie Mercury tattoo:

along with an eyeball, and SATX's area code.



Myra Quiroz

10th grade, Brackenridge

“That was my first drawing, and I'm happy, but I was nervous. It felt good to see my drawing on the wall, but weird, too. It's my first time! I like art, but also music â?? I like reggaeton a lot, cumbias. I'm from Mexico, but I'm from San Antonio, now.”

Michelle Moreno

Michelle with her color piece.

Michelle with self portrait and portraits of her mother and gandmother.

11th grade, Highlands

“My Mom says I always drew, since I was little. These are portraits of my grandma, my mom, and me. I was gonna do one of my great-grandmother, but I couldn't find a picture. In my family, it's the women who are the strongest. Alex makes me wanna get a scholarship so I can do art in college.”

Lauren Quezada

Lauren with her tile mosaic piece

Lauren with her color pencil piece (taken from the same photograph)

11th grade, Brackenridge

“At first `my family` was surprised `I went into art`, because my sister is an artist, and I thought I had no talentâ?¦.I remember in 2nd grade, we had to draw an Indian, and after I did mine, everyone `said` â??do mine! Do mine!' The other kids' were stick figures, but mine had a body, a costume, braids. I won a nationwide contest in 7th grade, a mestiza lady making maiz in a pueblo-type house. The prize was a trip to Mexico, I got to meet the President at that timeâ?¦I took my grandma, since that's her homeland, she's from Coahuila. My next piece is a portrait of my Dad.”

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 thingsâ??to be an artist or a psychologistâ?¦a lot of teachers say I should go for art therapy. Color pencil was really difficult for me for a while, technically. I wanna try oils. My family's happy, they're like â??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.”

(Note: I don't have any images for Michelle R.: Michelle, if you read this, I'm sorry! Also, please send me upcoming images of your San Juan Square Apartments commission, and of yourself, and I will feature the project in an upcoming post, Reach me at [email protected])


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