The Cruz brothers create art at Lincoln Heights.
Walking in the early golden afternoon sun on Ave 26 last Saturday, I remember passing by an apartment complex and seeing a small group of people gathering about in front.
Upon entering the premise I noticed two young boys, with their backs facing the group of people and me, as one of them on a ladder painted away while the other stand below keeps a watchful eye over him and their supplies.
I asked a person from the crowd about the portrait that’s being painted and he tells me it’s a mural dedicated to the early birthday celebration of the Virgin of
Guedelupa Guadalupe, which is December 12th.
In between the painting sessions the boys tells me their names are Alfred and Jose Cruz and that they’re natives from El Sereno about a ten to fifteen minutes drive away from Lincoln Heights.
The Cruz brothers heard about this art opportunity from their father who is a mechanic contractor, and were pleased to hear that the apartment owner Paul agreed to pay them $400 in total to complete the project.
I asked Alfred and Jose if they have done something like this before. The two smiled and said “No, it’s our first time doing something like this big.”
When I asked Alfred about the challenges he faces in this particular project, he gladly articulates the experience saying the texture wall have plenty of holes and blind spots which requires him to make sure the colors penetrates through and stay on the wall. When the painting’s part complete, Alfred says he plans to put a varnish over it, a finishing gloss that will preserve the colors and the portrait all together.
As I walked out the premise, I couldn’t help but look back briefly on the brothers’ effort on a project together where Alfred continues to concentrate on the finer details of the wall while Jose watches over him and perhaps thinking about following in his older brother’s foot steps.
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