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Urban Landscapes of Jacinto Guevara

“If this all seems mystical, trust me, it is for me too.”

Paintings Courtesy Jacinto Guevara

Text by Johnny Stucco

Jacinto Guevara  Eagle Street LA 1989 Acrylic On Canvas

Eagle Street (near Boyle Heights) LA 1989
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

LA’s Loss is SA’s Gain

Artist, Art Instructor, Musicologist and Musician, Jacinto (rhymes with San Jacinto) Guevara came to Texas in 1992 where he “discovered new vistas of inspiration for [his] urban landscapes and [also] began painting portraits.

It was his architectural paintings that caught our eye. A self-described “architectural hardliner” Jacinto has meticulously replaced details in his home that had been removed in previous “re-muddlings.” He is a finishing carpenter who can accurately date doors, molding and trim. “My house was built around 1890-95 and moved to its present location in 1913. In 1999 I gutted everything post 1900.” The five year waiver between 1895 and 1900 proves that Guevara is flexible, although he is uncompromising in his approach to art.

Jacinto Guevara LA painting

Traction, Third and Hewitt (L.A.) 1990 (First Sale)
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

His attraction to neighborhood houses had already begun in California and indeed, some of his early paintings often confuse Texans who would swear that they have seen his subjects in San Antonio or the Northside of Houston.

“Representational with an Impressionistic Flair”

G>uevara’s first important exhibit and sale was in 1990 at the East Los Streetscapers, at LA’s Palmetto Galley. Of notable interest are his (1987-1990) paintings of the now gone Temple Beaudry neighborhood.

“My artwork is "representational" acrylic/oil painting. I call this body of work Urban Landscapes. My finished pieces are detailed celebrations of architecture, lovingly articulated plants, animals and even passersby. I strive to create a work of heirloom quality that conveys visual poetry. These are created in the most honest tradition known as plein-aire painting. Inspiration is derived from reality and what is seen in a myriad of atmospheric subtlety. One measure of great art is its topicality and connection to actual situations of a particular place and time. These are things not captured when artists copy photographs.”

Jacinto Guevara painting of S Flores street  San Antonio Texas
1526 S. Flores (San Antonio) 1995
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

Jacinto Guevara painting of house on Marshall street  San Antonio Texas
507 Marshall (San Antonio) 1995
A forlorn "squatter's house, shortly before it's demolition
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

Jacinto Guevara painting of maguey
Maguey 2005
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

Falls City TX - Pawelek House.Jacinto Guevara painting of  typical South Texas house
Pawelek House. An impressionistic view of a typical south Texas home that stood in Falls City.
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

San Antonio Texas Big Pig painting
"The Pig" in San Antonio
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

"They Paint Depots, Don't They?"
A preview of the upcoming San Antonio art exhibit

“They don’t stop here.”

His current project is a series of paintings of Texas train depots, choosing them for their character and not for their present condition. His preference is for the unvarnished buildings that have survived their trials without benefit of restoration.

Among the depots he has captured so far, are Lometa, Lytle, Poth, Lodi / Floresville, Waring, Pleasanton, Flatonia, and Giddings.

These train station paintings will be exhibited in a January (2008) show in San Antonio called They Don't Stop Here hosted by Gallery118 Broadway, San Antonio.

Flatonia storm damaged freight depot

Guevara painting the storm-tossed former Flatonia freight depot.
See "They Paint Depots, Don't They?"

San Antonio's Roatzsch-Griesenbeck House painting by Jacinto Guevara
Jacinto Guevara's painting of San Antonio's Roatzsch-Griesenbeck House
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

With his interest in music and art, one might think that he has every excuse to live the late-to-bed, later-to-rise Bohemian lifestyle, but our two interviews with Guevara pierced that thought. He arrives when he says (or before) and leaves late. His recent middle-of-the-night return drive from Giddings left him “sunburned, dehydrated, exhausted and elated” but he managed to meet a reporter from San Antonio on schedule – forty-five miles west of that city the next morning.

Guevara’s fervent approach to art drew the reporter to meet the artist on site (on the reporter’s day off) in Waring, Texas to video-record a three-hour interview.

Jacinto Guevara Waring Texas Depot Sketch
Waring Texas Depot Sketch
Copyright Jacinto Guevara
TE photo, October 2007

Guevara was one of 20 local artists to participate in the "Percent For Art" program for the San Antonio Convention Center Expansion Project in 1999.

In 2005 he exhibited two series of paper figurines called World Conflict Figures and Forgotten Hollywood. These were painted figurines made of paper, glue, and wire.

Some of Guevara’s paintings can be seen at the Lisa Ortiz Contemporary Gallery in Olmos Park, just north of downtown San Antonio and he has at least two paintings at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

You can see more paintings and the “authorized” bio of Jacinto Guevara at his website: www.JacintoGuevara.com

If you feel a connection (artistic or otherwise), you might dare to visit www.EskimoSpitBath.com

Guevara on Art and Architecture

In his own words:

My mother put crayons and paper in my hands within days of my birth. Every year in junior and high school I received a summer scholarships to famous art schools in L.A. but frankly, I was bored by the approach.

"90% of my "art" is the attitude that accepts ideas and pushes me to complete the creation of something that did not exist before. It is the driving force that makes me an artist and not an illustrator."

"To tell the truth, I love architecture so much that when it is in great condition I don't feel a need to paint it. I look for old, rundown, forgotten places and paint everything around it; trash, overgrown plants, telephone poles/wires, and passersby. I equate my artwork with poetry, not commercial illustration. I endeavor to show the beauty in things that most people don't see."

Jacinto Guevara Self Portrait with Accordian

Self Portrait
Copyright Jacinto Guevara

Guevara in words other than his:

With enough enthusiasm to exhaust faint-at-heart onlookers and audiences, Guevara also finds time to fulfill his duties as Director of the Eskimo Spit Bath Orchestra.

An expert in Texas-Mexican music and 1920's pop music, Guevara plays button accordion and is learning banjo (he has an affinity for unloved instruments). At the drop of a hat, Jacinto can give you “Ukulele” Ike’s real name, discuss the differences between oriental string instruments and their similarities with western instruments or tell you when and how the Rhythm Boys took top billing from Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra.

Jacinto Guevara may be living proof that (several, at least) Vaudeville entertainers have been reincarnated and are now living among us.

© John Troesser
April 1, 2008

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