Bridging Homeboy Industries: Fabian Debora, Alex Kizu, and Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez
A group exhibition of three dynamic artists who share roots in Homeboy Industries
LOS ANGELES, CA - October, 2012 – The Ben Maltz Gallery continues to present new work by artists in the SoCal region with the three-person exhibition Bridging Homeboy Industries: Fabian Debora, Alex Kizu, and Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez on view January 2 – March 23, 2013. Guest Curator: Annie Buckley (MFA 2003). Reception: Saturday, January 26, 4pm-6pm.
Bridging Homeboy Industries features the work of Fabian Debora, Alex Kizu, and Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, three working artists who share roots in the East L.A. neighborhood of Boyle Heights, a close-knit community beset by poverty and violence. Though their paths and practices are unique, each has benefited from the services of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention program in the nation. Founded as a jobs program by Father Gregory Boyle in 1992, Homeboy Industries continues to thrive as a network of successful businesses supported and run by former gang members. Two decades on, Debora, Kizu, and Muñoz Hernandez all count Father Boyle—or G, as he is fondly referred to by many—as a mentor, supporter, and friend. He is the person who saw in them the artists they would become and who fostered a sense of hope and possibility for them during times when these were scarce. This encouragement, combined with their own relentless passion for art, fed their development as artists.
“During what G [Father Greg Boyle] calls the ‘decade of death’, I got into a lot of trouble, but Father Greg, no matter what I did, was always encouraging me to do my art. … I felt hopeless, but G would hire us to do murals and artwork, and now I realize that those acts of faith helped me to overcome many of the obstacles that I faced as a youth.” —Alex Kizu
Fabian Debora, who is now a staff-member at Homeboy Industries, makes compellingly honest paintings influenced by Chicano and contemporary representational art. Alex Kizu's color-infused canvases feature variations on the highly complex and ornate graffiti lettering he learned as a boy from local street artists and knowledge gained as a recent graduate of the Art Department of California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez's bronze sculptures and spray paint and marker paintings fuse graffiti with diagrammatic architectural drawings and grow out of an 18-year apprenticeship with the sculptor Robert Graham and a background in street art. This exhibition includes several works by each artist and a new, large-scale collaborative mural.
This exhibition is organized by the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design with Guest Curator Annie Buckley. Buckley (Otis MFA ’03) is an interdisciplinary artist, author, art critic, and Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at California State University, San Bernardino. She thanks OTIS Ben Maltz Gallery, Homeboy Industries, and Alice Buckley for their support in the presentation of this exhibition.
Public Reception: Saturday, January 26, 2013, 4pm-6pm, Free with live music by Incendio