An Expression of Celebration

Mexican Cultural Institute presents Bravo: Tortilla Paintings and Other Artworks of Joe Bravo, 11.18.06

Published on LatinoLA: November 6, 2006

An Expression of Celebration

"Bravo" is an expression of celebration as well as the family name of exhibiting artist Joe Bravo. It's a word of encouragement and approval for something well done, as in a performance. That is what he strives for in his artwork, to do it well for others to appreciate.

The Mexican Cultural Institute is proud to present "Bravo: Tortilla Paintings and Other Artworks of Joe Bravo", an exhibit of artwork by Joe Bravo, his first solo show. Exhibition Dates are November 18, 2006 through January 13, 2007. The Artist Reception Date is November 18, 6 - 9 p.m.

"Bravo" consists of approximately 35 - 40 artworks. 20 are paintings on tortillas, a technique Joe Bravo has refined over the past few years. The remaining include
acrylic on canvas, oil on canvas, gicle?® on paper and gicle?® on canvas.

These bold, bright and colorful works have such titles as Mayan Head God, Dancing With Color and Bailadora. The works ranges in size from 15" x 15" to 48" x 60". Each is professionally framed.

"Bravo" is the final show of the Mexican Cultural Institute?s 2006 season. It follows such successful exhibits as "Conversations North of Mexico: Art by the Mental Menudo Collective," "Abriendo Caminos: Dos Mujeres Mexicanas", and "Cesar E. Chavez: A Reflection ÔÇô Photographs by George Rodriguez."

The show is curated by Adrian de la Pe??a, BFA, CSULB.

Joe Bravo was born in San Jose, California. His father was from the state of Michoacan, Mexico and his mother?s family is from Mexicali, Baja California. Growing up in the border town of Calexico, California, Joe began his art career by making mud figures, drawing, constructing wood swords, slingshots and other projects.

Joe's family moved to Los Angeles County in the early 60's where he attended junior high and high school in Wilmington. He won several art awards in high school including outstanding senior for Banning High School's art department. Bravo attended college at Cal State Northridge where he served as graphic artist for the Chicano newspaper, El Popo. He also studied for one summer in Mexico City at the Taller de Arte Grafica Popular.

Graduating with a bachelor of arts in graphic design, Joe has worked as a graphic artist/Art Director for Lowrider Magazine, Celebrando Magazine and Where Magazine as well as Art Director for American Golf Corporation and several ad agencies. Bravo also painted murals for the Citywide Mural Project and taught community youths principles on mural painting. He received a grant from the California Arts Council while working as one of the original artists for SPARC (Social & Public Arts Resource Center) in Venice, CA.

Says Joe Bravo:

"I paint from the perspective of celebration. I have been given the gift of creating art, and gift-giving is usually associated with festive occasions such as birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. When I?m painting, it feels like I am opening and using gifts from every celebration of my life?and I open them with imagination, creativity and wonderment.

"I paint on tortillas because tortillas represent home, family and my Mexican heritage. I feel it is only appropriate and culturally relevant to combine the food I've always eaten with my art.

"While the art of tortilla-making dates back more than 10,000 years B.C., the art of tortilla-painting dates back a few decades. I am one of a few artists who uses the tortilla as a canvas to create masterful pieces of art. Through my tortilla art creations, I like to depict the Latino experience using recognizable imagery and icons. It is my desire for all people to visually taste the beauty and richness of the Latino culture through my art.

"My art is the sum of my life's experiences, creativity, abilities and skills. My experience has been as a Chicano growing up in California, primarily Los Angeles. Although I paint from this social perspective, I try to paint about universal themes of love, hope, and desire to which all people can relate."

The Mexican Cultural Institute is located in the historical Plaza in Olvera Street. The exhibit is taking place during the high volume holiday season. The broad range of attendees will include Mexican, Mexican-Americans, Latinos, non-Latinos, professionals from downtown offices, families from the greater Los Angeles area, and civic officials, who will enjoy the art, the accompanying events, and the other attractions that the Plaza has to offer.


Tortilla Paintings and Other Artworks of Joe Bravo

Exhibition Dates:
November 18, 2006 - January 13, 2007

Artist Reception Date:
November 18, 6 ?9 p.m.

Mexican Cultural Institute/Biscailuz Gallery
Olvera Street, El Pueblo Historical Monument
125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone (213) 624-3660


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