Latino Life: Livingston artist combines history and art in latest creations

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local artist Joel Aguilar is using his creativity to share multicultural stories. Aguilar shared why his latest pieces are significant.

"His name is Kyutaro Abiko. He is a Japanese American immigrant, " said Aguilar. "He was a businessman. He knew how to run things."

Aguilar's latest sculpture piece also honors his Hispanic heritage and is a likeness of his own mother.

"She's a very strong woman," he said. "She's like Rosie the Riveter. She's my Dolores Huerta. She's my everything. She is an incredible woman. When she is on her break, when she's free, she's still working on something, either praying rosaries at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. on Facebook. She's making mask for sale or for free. She works a full-time job. I feel like as a Hispanic or as the low-income family, especially being from parents that migrated to America for a better life, they are definitely rooting for you to be a doctor, to be something that has a lot of cash. You know, an engineer, and I had to go and tell them I wanted to be an artist.they're like, 'Oh, there goes our retirement.'"

Aguilar made his parents proud when he graduated from CSU Stanislaus and studied in Florence, Italy. His hometown of Livingston has 10 pieces of his work, including colorful electrical boxes.

"I've gotten just a lot of good positive vibes from my community saying they really love this box, I love that box, and it's just amazing," he said. "So the idea is to get three or four more for the Filipino community, the Mennonite community, the Portuguese community, and I want to be a conduit to my communities here, diverse communities, so I am interested to sit down and talk to them and really do research because I want them to be represented well. It's one of the things that I'm focusing a lot now on, my happiness, as an artist. I'm not trying to lose value. I know my work, I know what my time is. And I know that I want to be an artist for my town and I want to be an artist for my local businesses. We don't want our museums to just be like a ghost town. We don't want our history to just pass by. Art and murals is definitely our doors to our history. It opens up a lot of narratives."
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