The program offered not just hardcore classes like biology, geometry, and literary analysis, but also right-brain essentials like creative writing and drawing. As the creative writing instructor, I introduced students to haikus and pushed them to use their senses and their Spanglish in their poems and short prose pieces. Paul taught students, many of whom had never taken an art class before, the magic of lines, shading, and sketching. I loved watching students artistically evolve in Paul's classes. Although he was already a renowed artist/muralist at the time, he was simply "Paul" to those of us who knew him in the program, a cool, down-to-earth guy who could put a pencil in the hand of our most troubled youth and help transform them.
Even if you don't know Paul Botello by name, it's highly probable you've seen some of his art, especially if you're an Angeleno. His murals can be found in numerous community places in East Los Angeles. And if you've ridden the Gold Line into or out of East Los, then surely you've seen his fantastic pieces at the Indiana station.
I'm yapping away about Paul, but he's not the only Botello worth mentioning. David Botello, el big brother who is almost 20 years Paul's senior, was one of Paul's primary artistic role models while growing up.
David, a muralist and fine artist, is a founding member of East Los Streetscapers, a public art studio that's been around since the 1970's and that "designs, fabricates, and installs artworks in a wide variety of mediums." http://www.eastlosstreetscapers.com/AboutEls.htm
Here's one of David's Botello's classic East Los murals. This one has a special place in my heart because I grew up seeing it on a the wall of a Sloan's dry cleaner that my family and I passed regularly on our way to school, the market or the bus stop.
Since art is contagious, it's not surprising that David's two sons, Joseph and Benjamin, have also followed in their dad's and uncle's footsteps. Raised in El Sereno, the younger Botello brothers are busy starting their own mural efforts as well. Although highly influenced/inspired by one another, each of the Botellos have developed their own style. If you're in Los Angeles, you can check out this family's continual artistic contributions, as all four will be exhibiting their work at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park. Personally, I'm excited to see what the next generation of Botellos is birthing. Here's the info and hope to see you there!
2G/4B: Two Generations/4 Brothers
November 13 to December 5, 2010
Opening Night Reception:
Saturday, November 13
Avenue 50 Studio, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) non-profit art gallery
131 N. Avenue 50, Highland Park, CA 90042
Hours: Tue.-Thur. 10am-12noon
Sat. & Sun. 10am-4pm
Avenue 50 Studio is supported in part by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the California Community Foundation; the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; NALAC Fund for the Arts, Nescafé Clasico and the Ford Foundation; and in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.