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Artist portrays the world as his coloring book

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Gallupian Chris Acevedo uses his paintings to inspire, motivate others

Born and raised in Gallup, 36-year-old Mexican-American Chris Acevedo’s eyes were opened to the world of art as a little kid who would watch his uncle draw. Fascinated by what his uncle could do with a pencil, Acevedo started drawing simple cartoon characters. He realized he had a passion for art and found himself drawing more and more. Taking that pencil in his hand as his uncle did, Acevedo knew what he wanted to do when he grew up.

“In elementary school, my imagination began to run wild,” he said. “I began to draw doodles. I started to entertain myself. Later on, I saw the value of my drawings when people would come to me and ask me to draw stuff for them.”

Joining the Navy right out of high school, Acevedo said it made him grow up quickly with a whole new outlook on life, attitude, and mentality. But he still had art running through his veins. Stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as an engineer, Acevedo would pass the time drawing and creating tattoos for his fellow Navy friends. At one point he was told by a Naval officer who looked upon his artwork, that he should pursue his unique talent. And that is what Acevedo did.

He left the Navy in 2007, and reached another goal in his life — going to college. With help from the Navy, he attended the Art Institute of Phoenix from which he received his bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design in 2010.

He worked in graphic design for a company in Phoenix and began producing logos, as well. But his art career took another turn as he found himself going back to Gallup to tend to his sick grandfather.

“Taking care of my grandfather, I put my art on the back burner and began driving a truck for a living and would often think about my art,” he said. “I don’t know if it was God telling me to get back into my art, but I injured myself on the job and had to give up trucking. I found myself getting back to what I loved.”

He started doing window art and from that, word of mouth started keeping him busy. He created his own brand and started his own side business specializing in window painting, holiday splashes/themes, promotions, murals and custom canvas paintings.

His latest venture is part of the Gallup Main Street project to spruce up the area. Located in the back-alley way of restaurant Sammy C’s, he painted on four panels on an old building.

Other paintings include a Bob Marley portrait on the business Smokeshop on Historic Route 66.

“Gallup is a big art town and for me to be able to do what I like to do and to be up here [Gallup] with the rest of the greats [artists] it was a great opportunity,” he said.

Acevedo describes his artwork as visual. He also works in oil paints, acrylic, pencils and pens. Since coming back to Gallup, he has been painting professionally for the past five years.

“I can look at something and recreate it and have fun with it. I like doing stuff from the Lowrider Magazine and artists that were in those magazines.”

Acevedo recently painted a 2020 Congrats to a local high school senior on the windows of Jerry’s Restaurant downtown. He said when painting the design on the window, he was proud to be a part of the love.

Acevedo says he creates beauty to encourage and inspire those who have their dreams locked up within.

When asked what advice he could give for fellow upcoming artists or for that matter those chasing their dreams, he simply said, “Do what you love.”

“It’s sad when people trade in their dreams for security, comfort, and satisfaction,” he said. “Why work an 8 to 5 job and you’re not happy. Live your dream and pass that on to your family. Go after it, if drawing, dancing, or singing is your passion — go for it. Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!”

You can view more of Acevedo’s artwork at: FB/Acevedo Artworks.

By Dee Velasco
For the Sun