Long Beach muralist’s work is ‘representative of historical, environmental and community narratives’

<strong>“Extended Magazine,” acrylic on polytab on wood</strong>

“Extended Magazine,” acrylic on polytab on wood

Cory Bilicko
Culture Writer

Jose Loza is an artist of few words. Perhaps he relates to the theory that less is more. Or maybe he believes in the adage of “Show, don’t tell.” There’s also the possibility that he’s rather shy in discussing his art. No matter the reason, his responses for this artist profile were decidedly brief– more so than any others who have agreed to be featured in these pages.
But, then, perhaps I’m overthinking it, and Loza just wants his art to speak for itself. His creations will have that opportunity Saturday, March 2 when his new exhibit Obverse Topographies opens at The Bungalow Building, 727 Pine Ave., from 6pm to 10pm.
Although he was born in Cuernavaca, the capital city of Morelos, Mexico, Loza was raised in Long Beach since he was 2 months old. He said his interest in art began when he was 5, but he began producing art 15 years ago, when he was 15.
As a teen, he continued to pursue his interest by participating in the Long Beach Summer Youth Employment Training Program. After the program, he was an apprentice to several renowned muralists working in Long Beach. He began his formal art education at Art Center in Pasadena, and he is currently continuing his education at Long Beach City College. He has also taught numerous art and mural workshops that involve the community and specific workshops with at-risk youth.
He is currently a board member of the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach (CALB). He was invited to become a member after his completion of the Beach High School mural sponsored by Long Beach GRIP (Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention), the Long Beach Unified School District and CALB.
In addition to participating in several public art projects throughout Long Beach, Loza has shown paintings as far as Australia and Mexico. He describes his murals as “representative of historical, environmental, and community narratives” and says his personal work is “representational of the human figure and oftentimes wild life in a contemporary context.”
He does consider himself a full-time artist, though he is employed part-time at the City of Long Beach Mural Conservancy Program as a lead conservator.

<strong>“Juan,” acrylic on polytab on wood</strong>

“Juan,” acrylic on polytab on wood

How do you feel when people ask you to explain the meaning of your art?
I feel it helps me clarify the meaning in my work.

What does “Obverse Topographies” mean?
“Obverse Topographies” means the study of facial features and personal identity.

How prevalently does your cultural background play into your art?
My culture is an important part of who I am, and it plays a part in every piece I produce.

Do you ever get “artist’s block?” If so, how do you combat it?
Yes, I combat it by listening to music, speaking to other artists, and by discussing my work with my wife.

Do you listen to music or engage in any other activity (watching TV, listening to radio, eating, talking, etc.) while you work?
As I work, I like to listen to a variety of music.

Do you enjoy having company while you work, or do you prefer to be alone?
Usually it depends on how I feel that day; at times I prefer to be alone or have company.

From where do you typically draw inspiration?
I typically draw inspiration from the people in my life, the community, the environment and the city.

Who are your favorite artists, or what is your favorite type of art?
I do not have a favorite artist, but I appreciate representational figurative works of art.

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve done?
Usually my favorite piece tends to be the one I am working on at that time.

Do you ever use any unconventional materials or methods in your work?
I do not think any materials or methods tend to be unconventional when it comes to art.

What do you think your life would be like if, for some reason, you couldn’t make art?
It would be dull.

To view more of Loza’s work,
visit lpmurals.com .

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