Making Connections with Art

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The Denver Art Museum hosted a free Art and Family Day on October 17 as part of the three-day Americas Latino Eco Festival, “Climate of Hope,” which encourages Latinos’ connections with nature to promote environmental awareness and inspire conservation.

As part of the festivities, three Latino artists showed their work. Artemio Rodriguez, a prominent contemporary Mexican printmaker whose work is featured in many U.S. museums, conducted an on-site printmaking workshop. “I think it’s important to draw,” he said. “It’s a beautiful capacity that we have as humans. It doesn’t matter whether you want to be an artist or not.”

Rodriguez also displayed his Graficomóvil — an old delivery truck he transformed into a mural, gallery and printmaking studio on wheels (see photo). He believes people in this computer age don’t appreciate handmade art as much. “I think books are beautiful. It’s very difficult or almost impossible for a computer to generate what we do by hand.”

Artist David Ocelotl Garcia was painting a mural throughout the day. Originally from Denver, he focuses on public art like murals and sculpture. He calls his technique Abstract Imaginism, which he explained like this: “As I study the material, I get images in my mind. And it kind of plays out like a movie. And then I start trying to make stills of the movie. And that allows me to create composition. Once I have that, I start thinking about color. So it’s all in steps.”

He added, “But you can only plan a painting to a certain degree. Once you start painting, everything changes. So there’s a certain amount of planning, but at some point you just leave it up to your creativity.”

Finally, Arturo Garcia showcased his modern, brightly colored oil paintings in an exhibit called “Great Migrations,” which features “animals that migrate long distances in search of safety, a better way of life or the preservation of their species. So I start with animals from Africa, then go on to animals from the Americas and finish up with man.”

Garcia used to paint regular landscapes with standard colors until he faced death three years ago with pancreatic cancer. “I made a promise to myself in the hospital that if I made it out, I was going to devote all my time to painting,” he said, adding, “I wanted to bring a different element to my art to transmit the happiness and the joy that I felt about being alive.”