Sergio Robleto is a painter and illustrator born and raised in Downey. He started painting and exploring his creativity since he was a child. Robleto shared with me that he always loved the arts and creativity. Robleto pursued his love of art in 2001 when he began his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Idaho. Robleto now continues to paint and illustrate controversial pieces that truly speak and resonate with the audience.
Robleto's exhibit FOR THE PEOPLE was on display at Stay Gallery from March 20 to April 11. I was able to talk with Robleto and ask him a few questions where he shared his inspirations and background.
Being born and raised in Downey how has that influenced your art?
As a child there weren't many opportunities to experience art growing up. For the most part when I consider those things that I paid attention to artistically it was the sculptural elements used to create playgrounds like the jungle gyms, the rocket at Rio San Gabriel, or that odd orange abstract structure they have there. Other things were the stained glass and sculpture in front of the First Baptist Church of Downey. It was at home really that I was able to see art that influenced me like Norman Rockwell, or biblical narrative paintings like Rembrandt's depiction of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. Then what really affirmed my conviction and love for the arts was when I took drawing class with Mr. Whitney at Downey high. It was there that I was taught essential fundamentals that began my journey into creating my own original works.
What is the message you want people to see from your art?
It is not so much the message as it is the purpose of my work that I set my mind on. Messages and meaning can vary from person to person. Essentially I create works of art with the intention to exist as an item in someone’s life or many people’s lives that positively encourage or help shape their thoughts or lifestyles even when I’m not around. Really in the end I want people to have good company.
What do you mean by "For the people"?
I think the previous question answers most of that somewhat. But specifically, I have always been frustrated with the esoteric and ambiguous nature of most contemporary art and its inability to connect with all walks of life. All too often people are left confused and lacking appreciation for what people create. Someone like me who is deeply involved in the art world can appreciate most of it but this show was created to communicate directly with the viewer in a more straightforward manner. I wanted the realm of commercial like communication through design to meet with the sophistication of fine arts.
How do you feel about your art being exhibited at a gallery in the city you were born and raised in?
It gives a distinct sense of pride and belonging. Any solo show for that matter would make any artist feel appreciated but for the community you grew up in to embrace you feels more like leaving a bit of a legacy to some extent for other locals to look up to. It’s just like family. If one member of a community succeeds the others following feel like the opportunity can be just as real for them.
Who is a major influence in your life for your art?
The more I reflect upon that answer the more I realize I owe my entire life and experiences to influencing my art. You can’t leave anything out, the good, the bad, family, friends, music, art, religion, books, etc. They are ingredients that make up what I do. If I were specific the list would be too long.
Sabrina Picou is a Junior at Downey High School. She is currently a writer for the school's newspaper, The Downey Legend and for Stay Gallery's Journal.
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