Artist Rigoberto A. Gonzalez paints Mexico drug violence baroque-style

El Paso — Dark colors and shadows transform the canvas into excruciatingly vivid scenes – a severed head laying on the ground, soldiers restraining an angry man in front of a crowd – of the bloody drug war raging along the U.S.-Mexico border, illustrating every disturbing emotion on the faces of the subjects while employing the classic beauty of 17th century Baroque-style paintings. Rigoberto A. Gonzalez ( 37, the artist of these deeply disturbing and meticulously painted images, is bringing his exhibition, titled Baroque on the Border/Barocco en la Frontera, to The University of Texas at El Paso at the Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Art of from May 26 to September 24, 2011. He was born in Reynosa, in the border state of Tamaulipas, Mexico and moved with his family to the border city of San Juan, TX when he was 9 years old. As a child, his mother and older brother inspired him to become an artist. This inspiration led him to obtain a bachelor’s degree in art from The University of Texas-Pan American in 1999 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the New York Academy of Art in 2004.

Pat Mora’s love for words spreads a river of literacy

EL PASO, Texas — Award-winning writer Pat Mora is a jack-of-all-trades. She writes poetry, books for adult readers, inspirational books for children and young adults and is a dedicated advocate for reading and literacy. Open any of her works and you are taken on a journey that flows like water, bringing freshness to a reader’s mind. Her works are important to the border community. They paint a picture of the region’s Hispanic culture for those who are not familiar with the border.

Roses and Thorns — Painter Gaspar Enriquez’ Students Are His Inspiration

EL PASO, Texas — Seeing no future in art, legendary El Paso artist Gaspar Enriquez abandoned the idea of pursuing an artistic career during his high school years. Little did he know where the potential of his talent would take him. “I liked art since I was a kid, but knew there was little or no pay in the field,” said Enriquez. Having grown up in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Segundo Barrio, Enriquez found himself growing up at a faster rate than most teenage kids. Moving to East Los Angeles right after graduating from Bowie High School, Enriquez began working as a dishwasher, then at a defense plant lab, and eventually as a machinist as he continued working his way up until he graduated in 1970 from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a degree in Art Education.

Juárez Terror Etched in La Loteria de la Muerte

EL PASO, Texas — Student artist Yvianna Hernandez uses cards from a popular borderland bingo game known as “La Loteria” to depict the tragedy of a drug war that has claimed some 5,000 lives in Ciudad Juárez in the last two-and-a-half years. The popular Mexican game of chance has long been a staple in the border sister cities of El Paso and Juárez. Now Hernandez, a senior drawing major at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is calling attention to the violence by using the traditional folk-art icons as backgrounds for her drawings. “It was actually a silly idea to me that I really didn’t want to do because ‘La Loteria’ has been overdone so many times,” said Hernandez. “You even see loteria art on the walls of Wal-Mart bathrooms, so I really wasn’t too inclined to do it.”

Having started with the idea of “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore of the weeping woman, Hernandez decided to depict a portrait of a woman crying over her dead son, killed in the Juárez bloodshed.