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"My cultural heritage is filled with color and passion. It is in my veins and my heart. And so, like many other artists, I am compelled to creatively express: |
What I feel,
What I see, and
what I wish I could see."
| Biography . . .
Xavier Raul (Big X) Montes was born and raised in Santa Paula, California. He attended McKevett Elementary School and Barbara Webster Elementary School, Isbel Middle School and Santa Paula Union High School, all in Santa Paula. After two years at Moorpark College, Xavier transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he received his BA in studio art, as well as a teaching credential. In the two decades since that time, his profession and vocation as an artist has manifested in several overlapping areas: namely as a practicing visual artist (acrylics), as an educator which includes community activism, and as a musician (folk harp, guitar, and vocals).
Xavier, known affectionately by his nickname, Big X, for both his size and talents, is an artist and muralist with works throughout Ventura County including Santa Paula. During the late 1990s, he and area youth created a colorful mural lauding education at Chino's Market on 12th Street in Santa Paula. Xavier has a deep interest and commitment to youth and the benefits they can derive through art and musical expression.
A chicano artist, Xavier has exhibited throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for years and has also been invited to exhibit his art in the areas of San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles. During the years of 1984-87, Xavier received an artist-in-residence grant from the California Arts Council in Sacramento. Xavier has traveled throughout Mexico and Cuba, and most recently traveled cross-country to New York City by train. He says he needs to see and feel much of what he paints. In 1998 Xavier received the First Place Judges Award in the 61st Santa Paula Art and Photography Exhibition (300 entrees) for "Going Home", a portrait of a contemporary Mexican revolutionary. In 1999, Xavier was honored by El Concilio del Condado de Ventura when they bestowed upon him the Cultural Arts Latino Leadership Award. In 2003, Xavier became a member of ARTINO Arts Group of Los Angeles. Members of the ARTINO work in a variety of mediums including Acrylic on Canvas, Oil on Canvas, Acrylic on Tortillas, Wood and Bronze Sculpture, Pastels, and other mixed media. Our styles vary from traditional to contemporary, with an emphasis on our Latino cultural roots.
Xavier's community projects include:
Presently, Xavier lives and paints in his 10'x15' studio apartment. He works part time for Blanchard Library (Santa Paula's local library), teaches at Renaissance High School (special art projects), and performs musically to make ends meet.
"I didn't think it would be this tough! But rather than spend the rest of my years worrying about how I'm going to pay for my worldly possessions (which we can't take with us anyway). I'm going to worry about my music, color, composition, about how I'm going to say (or sing) what needs to be said."
De Colores Art Show . . .
One of Xavier's major accomplishments was to establish the De Colores Art Show which first opened in 1994. Every year since that time Xavier has collected and presented contemporary art that addresses Latino experience, culture and history. The De Colores Art Show has become one of Santa Paula's most popular art and cultural events. An important inspiration for the De Colores art show was the work of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, leaders in the farm worker civil rights movement. Xavier seeks to honor their commitment to human dignity, thus through the De Colores show, aims to recognize and celebrate this truth.
Xavier's intention, with the De Colores Art Show, is to bring together the community with professional and young aspiring artists to celebrate diversity as well as the life of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
The purpose of the show is to showcase and promote (though not limited to) Latino art by providing an opportunity for the community to attend a cultural event focusing on the Latino experience. The show also seeks to generate community involvement, motivate young aspiring artists, and provide a unique showing that usually occurs in larger cities.
The theme of the show "De Colores" was chosen for its meaning: Diversity, the idea that it takes people of all shapes, sizes and "colores" to make the world the dynamic force that it is.
Harvey De Leon
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