Sunday, September 23, 2018

Latino Arts Festival 2018

The setup and my vendor badge for the event.
This past weekend marked my first time participating in the Latino Arts Festival in Kansas City, Kansas. Like any new show show, I figure out what sort of setup I will need for the show space I will be in. The festival provided tents for the artists and vendors that were in attendance for the show which was a huge bonus. For those of you who've not done outdoor art shows, in most all instances, you have to provide your own tent, along with all the rest of your setup.
Amazing Low Rider themed on the Return to Oz.
Outdoor art shows are always a bit of a gamble for me in that my setup was mainly designed for inside shows, mainly comic and anime shows. Thankfully, the weather was really nice, with just a gentle breeze on occasion that didn't knock any of my display over.

The best thing about shows I do, is the people I get to meet, from fellow working artists to young aspiring artists.
The Festival also had great food vendors, a stage with musical performers, and a rather sizeable custom car show overflowing with Low Rider automobiles and bikes.
Absolutely stunning.
I'll admit, I'm always a bit worried when attending a show for the first time, how my artwork will go over. I think that's an honest bit of worry that anyone who does shows feels, no matter how long one has been doing it.
Last editions of many of my works found new homes that weekend.
I think for me, it comes down to wanting to find a validity in what I create. There's always been discussions on what art can mean to people, and why creatives make what they make. As a visual artist, I just hope that when I illustrate something, that others are able to find something in it that strikes a cord, and makes them want to take it home and show it off to others.
I do like all eras of Low Rider cars, but the ones that are pre 1960s are the ones I really admire when done so well.
So a bit of history with the Latino Arts Festival. This show is the product of years of determination, love, care, and a want to showcase and support the Latin communities of the greater Kansas City area, and found it's genesis in the heart and mind of my friend Deanna Munoz.

I had been introduced to her by a mutual friend a few years ago, and we found we had a lot of common ground in our belief that art could be a unifying aspect that would bring people together. Deanna is someone that I look up to and admire for her incredible strength of character, friendship, and tenacity in the face of what at times were insurmountable obstacles, to outright indifference, all while she was trying to bring attention to the art world of the Latin community.
Getting a chance to talk to people about the journeys and hopes of the kids that want to become artists someday, is at once both wonderful and inspirational. I thank all of you that talked to me, for sharing your stories and reaching out to me after the show.
To see how far Deanna has come, to see the fruits of her labor begin to ripen and provide new and expanding seeds for even bigger and better things has brought much joy to my heart. I cannot wait to see what this will grow to over the next few years. To anyone that came out to the show, if you have a chance to talk to Deanna Munoz, take a moment to introduce yourself to a lady that is really making a difference in this town, for young and old artists, for the community, and for the better things in life.
Lowrider bikes are just amazing works of art.
If you want to know more, please check out the festival's website here:

Now, on a personal level, I'm going to get real on you all here. It made my heart happy to see people of ALL colors at this show. In a day and age where a lot of negative things can transpire, where sensationalism is what sells, and ribald and offensive rhetoric can inflame hatred among people, this show proved to be the salve needed. For many people yes, but also for myself.

There are days when it's hard to get up. When it's difficult to want to face the uncertainties in the world because you don't know if there's any good left in this world worth fighting for. I'm here to tell you that there is. I see it in the eyes of artists that create. I hear it in the stories of parents proud of artist offspring. I enjoy it everytime I see people laugh, sing, and congregate together.

One of my favorite sayings that today should find new fire in each of us was written by John Dickinson in July 1768 in song. "Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!" This was written before the American Revolution had begun, and still rings true today.

Until next time, support your local artists and businesses. Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

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