“I paint, draw, spray paint, and [do] anything that involves creating with my hands,” said Manuel Espinoza (also known as Manyolf), artist and student at Rio Hondo College. “Growing up I always dreamed of doing something different, and I knew that I wanted to become an artist the moment I knew I could draw.”
When Manuel was in kindergarten at Miramonte Elementary School, a teacher recognized his artistic ability by observing how he cut paper. The teacher told his mother of his talent, and since then Manuel has not stopped drawing. He said that three teachers at the school were influential in motivating him to progress as an artist. Manuel participated in art related activities at Miramonte, and a mural he painted is still up at the school.
Manuel holds a copy of River’s Voice while pausing for a photo.
On May 18, 2015, Manuel’s painting Muralist was featured at Rio Hondo College’s Post Modern Barbeque: Student Art Show (see photos). The work stemmed from a class assignment to paint a Cubist still life. “I decided to throw in my own twist to it to make it more interesting. It is a combination of an early 20th-century art style with graffiti art. The piece simply represents an art movement of late, where artists are placing their work on buildings [and] giving cities life with their creativity.” The painting was also featured as the River’s Voice, Rio Hondo College’s art and literature journal cover for its sixteenth volume. Manuel also had another painting titled Lost in the journal.
“Creating art gives me a sense of purpose,” stated Manuel. He added, “I know God gave me this talent to put it to use; I want to create artwork that inspires faith and brings people in touch with their spiritual being.” Before he was Christian, Manuel made darker art. “When I was in the world, my artwork was inspired by darkness, and my work reflects that. I went from drawing skulls and provocative women, to making art with a message of hope, truth, and purpose.” He described God as his primary source of inspiration.
Manuel cited Greg “Crayola” Simkins, Bezt and Sainer (Etam Cru), Caravaggio, Bernini, and Cezanne as artists he looks up to. “These artists have revolutionized art by bringing something new and innovative, changing the way we look at art.” He said the artists mentioned above had a profound influence on his style, which Manuel described as a blend of theirs.
“Learning more about art history allows me to understand that art is a portrayal of the current lifestyle that we live in,” he said. Realism and Surrealism are two of his favorite movements/styles. Manuel reviews various techniques to integrate into his skills, and he sketches often to maintain his ability. Normally, Manuel receives inspiration to make a piece, develops a message, creates a concept by sketching, and finally transfers his idea to a canvas to paint. He hopes to receive a M.A. in Fine Arts one day.
Manuel wanted to close with this:
“Dreams are very important because they allow passion, drive, and perseverance to rise up in order to accomplish bigger things. It doesn’t matter what your dream is. God wants us to have big dreams because with Him we can do what for us may seem impossible.”