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Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
TAOB: Tell us about yourself: where you are from and what your profession is.
Jose Martinez: My name is Jose H. Martinez and I have lived in Brownsville most of my life. I have been involved in education since I finished college in 1984. I received a music degree from the University of Corpus Christi and worked as a band director at St. Joseph Academy for five years. I have also been a classroom teacher at St. Mary's School, Burns Elementary and The Teen Learning Community. I have been an assistant principal for the last five years, four of those years at R.L. Martin Elementary and for the last year I have been an assistant principal at Gladys Porter High School.
TAOB: How long have you been painting, do you have any formal training or are you mostly self taught?
Jose Martinez: I have been interested in art all of my life but have never received any formal training. Everything that I do, whether in woodwork or painting mediums, is self taught. Whenever we travel, I always make it a point to visit any art galleries we can find. I particularly enjoy visiting contemporary art exhibits.
TAOB: You are a great supporter of the arts and are in attendance at almost every local art exhibition. How do you feel about the Brownsville art scene?
Jose Martinez: During the last few years, I see more and more art activities being scheduled in Brownsville and I think that it is very exciting. I think that we have so much talent here locally and am happy to see that more venues are being provided for local artists to exhibit their work. I am particularly very happy with the new location of the Museum of Fine Arts on 6th Street.
TAOB: Where have you exhibited your artwork and how often do you get to exhibit?
Jose Martinez: I have exhibited some of my paintings at the International Art Show at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts, at the Amigos Artistas art exhibit and at the shows hosted by local artist Toni Hudson at Imagenes Art Studio. My main reason for not exhibiting more often is my lack of time. I am usually very busy with work at school and with my involvement at St. Mary's Church. I am also a licensed massage therapist in the state of Texas and that also keeps me very busy.
TAOB: Where do you paint and how do you go about executing a painting?
Jose Martinez: I am always working on a painting or two but it usually takes me from several weeks to several months to finish. I only work on them when I have a bit of extra time and that doesn't happen very often. I do most of my work during Christmas break, spring break or during the summer months.
I don't have any particular place where I work at home. Sometimes I set up in the dining room, or in the family room depending on the size of canvas I am using. I don't think that I have developed any particular style but lately, I have been experimenting with abstract painting. Faces and bodies have always come easy for me to paint and draw and it is very difficult for me to place paint on a canvas without trying to make it look like something or someone.
TAOB: Do you have a favorite artist, local or historical, that you identify yourself or your artwork with? And if so, why?
Jose Martinez: I don't have any particular favorite artist. I enjoy looking at the work of many different artists but, like I said before, lately I really enjoy looking at the work by any of the modern artists.
TAOB: Are you currently working or making arrangements to participate in any art exhibitions in the near future?
Jose Martinez: I don't have any plans on exhibiting in the near future but, hopefully, with the work of organizations such as Amigos Artistas and The Art of Brownsville and with the opening of more venues, it will become easier for local artists to exhibit.
TAOB: Please elaborate more on the painting in the photo that is posted above.
Jose Martinez: The painting in the photo is entitled "Skin" and it's a 50"X 60" oil on canvas. What I mean to say through the painting is that we pay so much attention to what we see on the outside of a person, but that beauty is only skin deep. Ultimately, what matters is what is in the inside and the spiritual side of who we are.
The painting in the photo with me standing in front of it holding a candle is a 40"X 60' oil painting entitled "Beginnings". The painting is now owned by Stefan Schmidt in Bavaria, Germany. The candle I am holding is the paschal candle for our church. Every year I make and decorate the candle that will be used at the church during our Easter celebration. It is also a candle that is used during funerals and baptisms at the church.
TAOB: Mr. Martinez, thank you for your interview and for your support of the Brownsville art scene. We wish you much success on your artistic journey and are happy to provide insight about you as an individual and as an artist to our blog readers. Many thanks once again!
Readers, Brownsville artist Jose Martinez can be contacted via email at Eljoeconsafos@aol.com.
Interview by Gabriel Treviño.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
"It doesn’t feel like Brownsville", is the comment I received from various people at The Art of Brownsville Mixer at Gallery 409 this past Saturday. The atmosphere that evening was elating as folks enjoyed the eclectic sights and sounds. For one thing, Gallery 409 is an impressive space with its historical and architectural presence. The view of the downtown Brownsville skyline from the 2nd floor is also probably one of the best views in Brownsville. There was also a show by Chicano artist Paul Valadez on the 1st floor and a photography exhibition by Robin Dru Germany and Karen Sanders on the 2nd floor. Guests also got to enjoy conjunto music by accordionist and artist Cande Aguilar and punk and rock music by local bands The Winos and ANYthing Goes.
Perhaps we may have channeled the hip and trendy Manhattan atmosphere or the underground and bohemian culture of the Austin art scene, or perhaps we may have channeled what we have always been, Brownsville! It may not feel like Brownsville, but pinch yourself again, because I assure you it is!
Gone are the days of moping that Brownsville doesn’t have this or doesn’t have that, yes, yes…if you work and/or live in Brownsville, then at some point (and probably various times) you have found yourself in frustration over limited resources. I am not saying that we already have everything we need, because we don’t...but what I am saying is that we should stop moping or pointing fingers, put our egos aside, and get things moving and wisely use the resources we already have to create more opportunities and bring more into and out of our community! (Phew! Did you get all that?).
I may sound like a broken record, but I truly and passionately believe that Brownsville’s strongest resources are its arts, culture and people. And yet, we don’t maximize on them! We have a rich history, and yet we have a neglected downtown with so many buildings (too many abandoned and left to decay) craving for renovation and the vigor of their former lives. We have so many talented people, yet few venues for them to exhibit their talents. We live in a multi-cultural and international area of constant cultural exchange and commerce and yet, we have low retention and academic performance rates in our schools and one of the lowest per capita income rates in the nation. Sometimes I fear, that what we deem as weaknesses should be viewed as strengths or opportunities.
The days of moping are over, because we are obviously a different Brownsville from the Brownsville of 10 years ago and even the Brownsville of 5 years ago. The Arts and Culture scene has grown tremendously. We now have the new and beautiful Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, the Children’s Museum of Brownsville, the Costumes of America Museum, the Historic Brownsville Museum, the Brownsville Heritage Complex, four Art Galleries (Richardson, Breeden, Imagenes and Gallery 409) the Camille Playhouse Theatre, great Fine Arts and Entertainment programs at UTB/TSC and BISD, the Latin Jazz and Cine Sol Festivals, more entertainment venues in town, and just so much more….
Our options and opportunities have increased and with the Cultural Mitte District initiative coming into fruition, I am eager to see more eyes turn back to our roots, to Downtown Brownsville! To see the El Jardin Hotel and the Capital Theatre alive and thriving once more! To see parking garages erected to help ease the parking situation. To see families at Washington Park and the upcoming Linear Park, walking, having picnics, to see children playing. To see more buildings renovated and turned into businesses, into offices, into homes, into hip apartments or lofts, into schools, into more galleries and museums…into whatever great potential downtown Brownsville has…and trust me, it has a lot! If you don’t believe me, just refer to the response by the Art of Brownsville mixer guests, “It doesn’t feel like Brownsville”.
Whatever it felt like, it felt good. And trust me, that feeling was Brownsville. Let’s make Brownsville shine, its beautiful art and culture and its people!
Above Art: "Browntown", 2006, Oil on Canvas by Cande Aguilar. View Cande's artwork on display at Tre Fratelli Italian Restaurant for the month of December. 3001 Pablo Kisel Blvd, Brownsville, TX 78526, (956) 574-9888
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
TAOB wishes to extend our sincerest gratitude to all those who contributed to and attended our Third Anniversary Mixer at Gallery 409 last night. This event was TAOB's first official event coordinated as a group and we are very happy with its success!
Special Thanks go to:
Mark Clark and Gallery 409
Our musical acts:
(watch Cande perform at The Valley Choice Awards this Wed., Dec 6th at The Dodge Arena)
(visit band member Arnie G's website by clicking here)
(watch and cheer on ANYthing Goes at the S.P.I. Christmas Rockfest Battle of the Bands)
The Brownsville Herald
And to all of our food and wine donors!
Pictures will be posted soon! Meanwhile, please check out an article about The Art of Brownsville by Brownsville Herald Life and Arts editor and writer Mike Moody. (also check out Mike’s blog Gold Teeth.)
Click here to read The Herald’s TAOB article: Bloggers Support Local Art Scene
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