Thursday, February 16, 2012

Inspirational and Iconic Latinos -Antonio Pelayo


When I decided to write my blog, I wanted to reach an audience of people who could relate to and appreciate my writing. I have written stories of unsolved mysteries that have touched me. I have poured out poetry from deep chasms of my heart for all to see. Lastly, I have even had the opportunity to complete my first novel.

However, one thing I had always wanted to do, yet had not done- was interview people who inspire me. These are people who make a difference in the world one action at a time. Whether they are artists painting a picture and inspiring many, actors who influence many by the roles they play so passionately, or just an average man who rose up out of dark confines of prison life and dedicated his life to encourage the youth of today to make better choices….all of them are making a difference in their own way.

Today’s blog will be the first of a three part series of “Inspirational and Iconic Latinos” making a difference by helping or inspiring many through their actions. My first story will be about the award winning and multi-talented artist by the name of Antonio Pelayo.


Antonio Pelayo is an award winning artist whose new exhibit, “Mi Familia & Other Pencil on Paper” will be showcased at The LAUNCH Gallery in Los Angeles from February 25, through March 17, 2012.

Pelayo has been the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors such as:

“Best of Show, Ontario Museum-2007”

“1st Place, Lowrider Arte Magazine-2008”

“Best in Graphite Award, CCAA Museum-2009”

“Juror Award, Creative Art Center- 2010”

“People’s Choice Award, 3rd Ward Open Call NY 2011.”

"1st Place, VAG Association, Encino-2011"

And "1st Place, Burbank Art Association-2010" among many others.


Antonio was born in Glendale, California in 1973. The first nine years of his life were spent here in the U.S. until his family chose to move back to his father’s small village located in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Suddenly Antonio found himself in strange surroundings and around people literally living in a different element that seemed to be from another time.

Although his time there wasn’t always tranquil or enjoyable to him as a young boy, he found solace when he discovered his true passion, art. He admits that he always enjoyed drawing, and recalls that he started at the age of two. However, it wasn’t until he was about 13 yrs old when he “consciously drew to escape negative situations” that he had been experiencing.


When I asked him what it was about the sketching on paper that attracted him, he described to me:

“It was the ‘looking’ and ‘staring’ at a blank paper. Then visualizing images and then seeing the images come to life. That is what I thought was amazing, especially with one tool ‘the pencil’. ”

Antonio constantly struggled, feeling the pressure of ridicule from his peers and family who “persecuted” him for his feelings. He soon found himself using his art as a means of escape into a world where he could retaliate the only way he knew how, with the pencil.

Despite his religious beliefs about neutrality to war, he found himself sketching war scenes over and over. In retrospect, he knows that it wasn’t a literal war he was visualizing. In reality it was the “paper war” he describes, that allowed him to regain the control he felt he lost, due to the pain and negativity he was constantly subjected to.


When asked who among the various artists he has been inspired by, which of them was the most influential and most inspirational he adds:

“I would say Frida Kahlo. Her life of suffering and being able to project that suffering on a canvas is one of the most amazing things to me. She did not paint for money or fame. She painted to express herself. Also, she was a leader and innovator, with out having any fear. That to me is a great inspiration."

When asked, “What influenced you in your artistic career so far?”

He responded, “Seeing the rise of artists that I personally know, like Retna and my son Isaac.”

It is obvious after speaking to him and learning about his life, that this man is not an artist for fame or fortune but one motivated by love. His passion, influences and inspirations come from his emotions, be it good experiences or negative. He has used his God given gift of art to tap into his subconscious mind open the floodgates of creativity that had been waiting to flow since his childhood.


Antonio’s style is one that is certainly unique and absolutely amazing, to say the least. When I first saw his artwork I was in absolute awe of his raw, unadulterated talent. He is in a league all on its own, and I do not feel I am 'jumping the gun' by saying that this man will be remembered for a very long time. Just as the very artists who inspired him such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo and H.R. Giger, I am most certain that Antonio Pelayo will also make his name known throughout the world with his magnificent talents.

His artistic style is one so versatile, going from brilliant sketches of pencil on paper to colorful and touching pieces of Cultural Art. Antonio’s craft is so perfect that it seems that there isn’t any form of art he cannot do without nailing flawlessly. His seemingly effortless strokes of pencil onto the page, transports the viewer into his world where anything that can be thought up, can be created.

Through his beautiful talent, he inspires a new generation of young minds to appreciate art in a new and exciting way. For this I say, "Thank you Antonio."

Please check out his website:

If you are in the Los Angeles area, from February 25- March 17, 2012 please stop by and check out his exhibit at The LAUNCH Gallery. I promise you, that you will not be disappointed. In fact, you will be amazed!

“Antonio Pelayo: Mi Familia And Other Pencil Drawings On Paper”

February 25th - March 17th, 2012

5900 Wilshire Blvd., East Annex (Variety Bldg.)
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Opening Reception: Saturday, February 25th, 6 - 10pm

J'aime Rubio (Copyright) 2012