Arthop August 7, 2014

Too Much Good Stuff

While I’ve been working on several possible covers for my upcoming short story collection (check them out at the Spiral Legion facebook page), I’ve found it very difficult to build momentum and get into any sort of artistic groove, between picking up more hours at my day job and my long-time coming engagement to my space goddess (but that’s another story, so stay tuned), so I chanced taking the night off to hit my first Fresno Arthop in months.

My first stop in Downtown Fresno was Arte Américas, the largest non-profit Latino cultural center in the San Joaquin Valley, to see artist Jeannette L. Herrera a.k.a. Blue Face Killer’s show Beautiful Dreamer. Working in acrylics, oils and a variety of materials for canvases, and many times creating her own frames, Herrera’s paintings are “glimpses of a dream world populated by fantastical creatures that reflect her Peruvian heritage, personal trauma and street culture. Themes of death, survival, heroism, defiance, love and religion flow through her work…direct, enigmatic, tragic yet humorous.” This exhibition displays paintings that are punny (“[Freddie] Mercury Rising”), inspired by colloquial turns of phrase (“hotter than two
rats fucking in a wool sock”), or literally poured out of her own tortured heart (my personal fave “Battlecry of Kleine Maus”).

Kawasaki Kamikaze by Jeannette L. Herrera

Kawasaki Kamikaze by Jeannette L. Herrera

Beautiful Dreamer will be at Arte Americas through August, so please check it out, and if you’re not local, check out the website at

Next up, I went to Broadway Studios, a must see stop for ArtHop since it has a dozen rooms, closets, nooks and crannies overflowing with art in practically every medium—glass, sculpture, paintings, murals, jewelry, heck, even many of the attendees seemed to be walking pieces of art, though I did my best not to stare. A few of the artists I caught there were Cory Ballis, glass artist; Maries Joseph, acrylic, oil and mixed media, Sia, the puzzlist and Carmen Solis, a young painter out of L.A. who sold me on one of her pieces. “Oh, I’ve got to save for my wedding,” I said, sheepishly. “But she’s a bride!” Carmen replied of the pen and ink and oil pastels portrait. It was actually a steal at the price she quoted, so I paid and ran
out the door with my keepsake for the night.

Dia de los Muertos Novia by Carmen Solis now hangs on the door to my room.

Finally, I went to Studio Itz to catch Patrick Contreras, the Electric Violinist. I wasn’t prepared for the room full of Kurt Watson and Noel Montoya paintings—it was crazy how much they packed that living room with art! Greeted by Kurt himself, I made my way through it and the kitchen, into the backyard, where a small stage had been set up. Patrick and a couple of his friends played a few audience-pleasing songs, jazzy, bluesy latino tunes (I think I got the times wrong, because I think I caught the tail end of their set), followed by The Holy Raleigh, the disturbing answer to acoustic guitar playing, and a surprise performance by I Kill Cameron’s Phoebe Zayas-Defiance on ukulele. The really cool part was that I got to talk with every one of them after their performances. You just can’t do that at a typical rock show.

This was an amazing night and one I won’t soon forget!

I had certain things I wanted to check out this night, but there was soo much good stuff, I can’t wait to go back to these venues and some of the others that are in the same area, like KJewel and Liquid Fetish! The Tower District also has a few galleries and venues that host artists. One of these days, I hope to have my own show, but until then, I’ll keep visiting and supporting and getting inspired.

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