Carlos Callejo

In the 60s I got caught up in the energies of the streets and it seems that I have never been able to leave them. During these times I found myself thinking a lot like other minority artist of the times. Thinking that for the most part our traditional art funding sources and our academic art institutions were not supportive and had little relevancy towards culturally or community related art projects. As such we became dependent on our own resources, ourselves and our own communities. These resources became and still are my main inspiration for the subject matter in my art, which speaks about history and culture, traditions and celebrations, community needs and struggles, and people’s dignity and aspirations. My art projects a vision of a future free from injustice and exploitation.

I have produced art using a variety of art media but for the most part my recognition has been through my mural paintings. I have selected this medium for a variety of reasons: Murals tend to involve the community in the process; murals can reach many, since they are in public places accessible to everyone. They are a wonderful form to educate and inspire; murals fill a need for honest communication between all people on a non-verbal level a muralist can communicate ideas which often get neglected by our traditional education system, politicians, TV, or newspaper--ideas that need to be explored in the public’s eye.

I see murals as much more than decorations. While murals do add color and liveliness to a neighborhood, this is not my main objective. In my view, those muralists who are most effective use color and form not as end products, but as tools for conveying specific subject matter. Further, this subject matter is expressed by means of public symbolism easily understood by a general audience, rather than in private or personal symbols, to be interpreted by only a few. Murals that truly speak for a community and its social concerns are a real inspiration, both as a model for the artist and as a monument to the struggles and aspirations of the community.