gmhTODAY 25 gmhTODAY April May 2019 - Page 107

H aving an offsite, dedicated workspace is some- thing most artists desire, but can ill afford. It’s not uncommon to visit artists in kitchens, spare bed- rooms, garages and even backyards. Furthermore, if artists want to make a sale, they next need to find a place to show their art. Gilroy artist Ignacio (Nacho) Moya does it all from his own Moya Art Studio and Gallery in downtown Gilroy. Moya explains that it didn’t start out that way. He talks of the art ambitions that followed him from his childhood in Santa Catarina, a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico, where he recalls doodling in class and drawing pictures to “impress girls in the classroom.” The youngest of eight children, Moya moved to Gilroy in 2000 and began working in construction and maintenance jobs. Not losing sight of his dream of being a full-time artist, three years later he began taking art classes at Gavilan College in his spare time. He recalls selling his art on a street corner next to a strawberry vendor. “I’d sell a painting and run home to announce that things were looking up,” he recalls with a smile. When his wife Alma gave birth to his son Steven in 2009, he began working at Gilroy’s Premium Outlets. Focusing on putting money aside for the future, he still made time for drawing and painting, at times in the middle of the night. That’s how it was until 2017, when he took a chance on an available retail space at his current location. “I found an owner who believed in my dream,” he says of his landlord, Gary Walton, a local developer and current GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN president of the Gilroy Downtown Business Association. Entering Moya’s gallery on 7516 Eigleberry Street you are treated to colorful paintings that dazzle the eye. Working primarily in acrylics, his varying subjects include portraitures of celebrities and sports icons, redux versions of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s distinguishing self- portraits, and even familiar poses of Marilyn Monroe. On easels are large recently commissioned works­—one of a classic peace symbol and another of a splattered, weathered -looking British flag, emblematic of the storied history of the Crown. He sometimes applies his paint in measured treatments, while other times with thick applications freely strewn across the canvas. Many of his originals are available in reproductive prints and on merchandise, such as cups and t-shirts. Moya says he hosts public and private paint parties and community events when not creating new art. He stresses the importance of staying active in the community and maintaining relationship­s—a key element of his business philosophy. Last year, the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (PJIFF) commissioned a painting from Moya that is now the art featured in its 2019 event poster. “We had such a great experience working with Nacho that we want to do it again this year with another artist,” PJIFF director Mattie Scariot said. Nacho Moya says he is thankful for what he has been fortunate to accomplish in this “land of opportunity,” and that he is “living the American dream.” He has a lot to look forward to, and so do we. april/may 2019 107