‘Artivist’ Julio Salgado Turns Negatives into Positives Through Art

Megan De Lara, A&E Editor

Visual artist Julio Salgado brought laughter and knowledge to campus with his lecture, “I’m a Queer Artist of Color and I’m Still Alive.” The event took place at the Campus Inn October 10 as a part of Rio Hondo’s National Coming Out Day event.

Salgado, who is also undocumented, travels to various college campuses to help highlight issues surrounding immigration in addition to the LGBTQ community.

“A lot of academics use my art to talk about immigration, [to] talk about queerness,” Salgado said. “And I’m like, ‘I should also be talking about my art because I created it.’”

Art from beginning to end

Photo by Megan De Lara
Julio Salgado answers questions from students after his lecture, “I’m a Queer Artist of Color and I’m still Alive.”

As a child, Salgado found a voice for himself within the world of drawing. His talent eventually led him to California State University, Long Beach, where he studied journalism and drew political cartoons for the college newspaper. The medium was not only a method of expression for Salgado, but also a form of therapy to battle the hardships that come with being queer and undocumented.

Rather than become victim to negativity, Salgado found a way to conquer adversity and gain strength: through his art. Using his drawings, Salgado is able to communicate freely and addresses crucial issues. For him, this is not only a healing process, but a way to create joy and happiness.

“A lot of times when you’re a person of color, [and] you’re an artist…we have to dig into our pain,” Salgado explained. “Even though I am a victim of the system, right now, I think as artists we need to…be able to explore those issues without necessarily always [having] to be sad about it.”

The self-proclaimed “artivist” now hopes to spark interest and conversation among students. By sharing his journey from journalism student to fearless activist, Salgado proves that hardships do not have to be weaknesses.

“If somebody, if one person at least comes and listens to me speak, you know, if it sparks something, …then I’ve done my job.”

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