Featured Artist of the Month | Feb 2012 | Ernesto de la Loza
Name: Ernesto de la Loza
City of origin: Los Angeles. Born in1949, Boyle Heights.
How did you find yourself in the arts? Rejection. In second grade I drew a scene of a hillside. I did a street that went straight up. The teacher said, “that’s wrong. You were supposed to do a winding road around it.” I was dismayed.
Where do you draw your inspiration? From humanity, nature, and modernity.
Describe yourself in 5 words: Fortunate, energetic, focused, stubborn, and loyal.
What was the most memorable response to your work? I was in four corners of a housing project. There were four different gangs on different sides of the street and these eleven or nine year old kids were alarmed that I was crossing the street. They said, “Ernesto, where are you going?” The other child said, “don’t worry about Ernesto, he is an artist. He can go anywhere.”
When you aren’t creating works of art, what can you be found doing? I am a handball fanatic. I’ve played for 40 years and for U.S. titles. I love the Cinema. I am a cinephile.
Who were some of your mentors? Mario Rueda (a master billboard painter). I sat with him for fifteen years, with a masters’ pallete, studying color and light.
What are you current/future projects? I am currently working to restore my mural, Organic Stimulus. I’m constantly building my body of work-my easel paintings.
Which of your murals is your favorite? Why? Resurrection of the Green Planet, in Boyle Heights. It’s the most popular because it’s an environmental piece. It’s a cultural icon. It has given me world-wide visibility.
What themes/messages do you convey through your work? It depends on the location, the relevance of the demographic, and/or the contemporary issues of the day. I think I do a lot of world conflicts, where major events channel my energy. Like 9/11, 2012, the mural moratorium. A lot of my work is based upon youth and gang violence. I try to deter gang violence. I try to humanize the community because there is so much false information. Its been carried out for centuries. It’s making a race of people feel inferior, when people don’t even think these people are human. I like to talk about major issues, like genocide, to try to ease the mind and spread hope. I consider this peoples art. One of the greatest tools to give a voice to the people is through Muralism and public art since the fifteenth century to modern times,.
Who is your favorite muralist of all time? David Alfaro Siqueiros. He is the most prolific, radical and experimental. I went to a school in San Miguel de Allende where there is a Siqueiros mural on the ceiling. And L.A.’s America Tropical has influenced my murals creations. He is an inspiration. I try to carry his message of change. Were in a different era now. I don’t believe in violence. I don’t believe in war. We need radical change and that would be radical change, if we didn’t have violence and war