Teacher/Instructor; Visual Artist: Graphic Designer; Visual Artist: Illustrator
Gilbert Vasquez is an accomplished artist of over 50 years in a wide variety of media that include: drawing, painting, illustration, murals, technical illustration, graphic design, web design, multimedia, animation, and woodcarving. He has also earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton.
Gilbert, best known as Gil and the youngest of 10 children, was born in Santa Ana, California. His family was immersed in a rich environment filled with artistic and musical talents, and strong religious beliefs. One of his earliest memories is the pride he felt for his father’s expertise and skillset in the building trades, as well as for his mother’s pursuit in domestic crafts such as knitting, crocheting, and cooking.
Eager to explore all that was around him, Gilbert’s first introduction to the fine arts came before he was old enough to attend school. Looking through an encyclopedia set he found a black and white reproduction of Vincent Van Gough’s “Starry Night,” and never forgot the impact that the image had upon him. He remembers hoping, as he carefully studied the picture that someone would take him outdoors on the night that sky occurred, so he could see it with his own eyes.
From the ages of 6 to 12, Gilbert went to Catholic School, as it was his mother’s desire that he become a priest. But Gilbert realized at a young age that he had quite a different calling. When he was 14, his parents took him to Mexico City where he saw the murals of David Siqueiros, Diego Rivera and the murals of Juan O’Gorman at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
His interest in the art form continued through college where he was nominated by art historian Dr. Shifra Goldman to join a special mural workshop being organized in the studio of the master muralist, David Alfaro Siqueiros, in Veracruz, Mexico. Unfortunately, SiqueirosÕuntimely death ended this project to train a new generation of muralists.
Around this time, he had also been introduced to the Director of the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City and they had discussed the possibly of Gil studying at San Carlos, but unfortunately other factors in his life didn’t allow him to pursue this opportunity. However, throughout Gilbert’s many projects, his strong desire and ability to create continue to surface.
His best-known works is the mural he painted titled: “Our 21st Century” in the Chicano Research Department in the library at the California State University, Fullerton. Also, he painted two murals, which he dedicated to the Latino Community of Santa Ana and Orange County. One mural was titled: “Our Image” (an homage to Siqueiros) and the second mural was titled “Receiving Corn” (an homage to Jorge Gonzalez Camarena) These works were at one time on the old Southern California Gas Company building on Sycamore and Second Street in downtown Santa Ana.
He also painted a mural at California State University, Fullerton in the Chicano Research Department in the library titled: “Our 21st Century.” In 1977 Gil painted a mural for the City of Westminster titled: “The Assumption of the Virgin Mary.” This work was inspired by a mural in the Pinacoteca of San Diego, Mexico City, which was painted by Alonzo Lopez De Herrera during the 17th Century .