Salomon Huerta: The art of controversy


Photo by Pete Escobar/ El Paisano

Watercolor painting of Manny Pacquiao, titled “Manny” by Salomon Huerta.

Alex Rodriguez, Reporter

Artist Salomon Huerta held an exhibit at the Rio Hondo art gallery to help encourage Rio Hondo students in art and painting.

Huerta held a minor exhibit and gave a speech with follow up questions to reach out to small audiences in the Rio Hondo Campus so the students can recognize where Solomon Huerta gets his inspiration from.

Huerta mainly focused his small exhibit of legendary boxers, one for example, Muhammad Ali. Huerta wanted to convey the emotion and how they were painted, which were all close ups of their face.

Huerta grew up with all of the boxers that he painted and water colored; He is not a fighter nor promotes violence, but he loves the art of boxing. “I’m looking for a painting that can attract everyone,” Huerta said. Huerta is very focused on his audiences and wants to gather huge groups.

He is currently working on a collection of gun paintings. Huerta said that everyone has an opinion about guns and whether it’s positive or negative, it attracts a big crowd because it gets political and it comes with a story.

In the gallery, a Rio Hondo staff member asked Huerta if his work was based strictly for the Chicano movement. Huerta said “I like to be labeled as an artist.” Huerta likes to do work that can communicate with everyone and the core of his work will always be political, no matter what. That is the reason why he chose to paint the boxers who are in fact people of color.

Huerta wants to connect the violence of boxing towards the violence to the black male. Huerta said his work is not about being commercial or selling out, it is about having ideas that will attract a bigger audience, with dialogue that reaches out to everyone.

Huerta very much believes his gun series will attract a group of bodies for that purpose. He wants visceral paintings that display inner emotion in the boxers, so they can represent how the black community is affected by society today.