FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In what started out as just a fun way to pass the time -- a local school principal is now gaining popularity for his unique artwork.
Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes have come calling.
"The idea with my artwork is that I really like to promote our culture and our community and put it in a good light," said Dr. Alfredo Ponce.
Ponce attended USC graduate school but felt compelled during UCLA's recent Final Four run to use graphic art to design a set of cards for the Bruins.
He says each image takes about 20 minutes to produce after scanning the internet for just the right picture.
Celebrities and athletes alike have reached out to purchase items and have asked Ponce to make them their own pieces.
"I've had the pleasure of doing work for George Lopez, some folks from the Dodgers, some of the players have utilized my work," he said.
A hot seller on his website is his custom "Loteria" cards that celebrate essential workers, minorities and culture.
The game of Loteria is typically played with a 54-card deck and is a popular pastime played in many Latino homes - commonly referred to as "Mexican Bingo."
"Just recently, I got commissioned by the UCSF medical school to do some artwork for the library," he said. "So it's something I'm currently working on right now."
Many of his pieces featuring essential workers gained popularity during the height of the pandemic and were quickly shared in museums nationwide, and even across the pond in England.
"My artwork has been on the walls of New York, Seattle, several cities in California and London, so my joke is my artwork made it to London before I ever did," he said.
Ponce uses his artwork as a way to help build relationships with his students.
The longtime educator says if he needs to bring a student into his office, he'll start by giving them an image of themself he created as a conversation starter.
"My goal is to make them feel good, to make them feel worthy, to make them feel like they're smart so they can dream to do whatever it is that they want to do when they grow up."
An iPad and some desire are pretty much all Ponce uses to create his art pieces.
He says he'll continue to produce the unique images as long as people seem to like them.
For more on Ponce's artwork, visit his website.
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