Gaucho Style

A word from the Executive Director
Valentin Flores

My best friend Joseph Manacmul (Operations Director @ Stay) and I were backpacking throughout Europe about a decade ago. It was then that we began dreaming about a creative space where people could come together to have conversations and build strong relationships with one another. 

Today, thanks to the great support of residents in the City of Downey, our reality has far exceeded my dreams. Stay Gallery is not just my story - it is a story of shared experiences amongst families, friends, and newcomers.

This event is special to me for many reasons. It is as if things are slowly coming full circle, not only for the gallery, but for all of those who believed in this idea from the very beginning.

To begin with, it is my first exhibition as a photographer since Stay Gallery opened in October of 2012. The last time I exhibited my work was along side Gabriel Enamorado (Creative Director @ Stay) at the Downey Civic Theatre in 2010. It was after this exhibit, AMBIVALENCE, that we began to formally discuss the creation of an art gallery in Downtown Downey.

It is also the first group exhibition of Stay Gallery’s creative team, Stay Studio. These are the true artists and creatives that have allowed our organization to flourish. Gabriel Enamorado, Ana Godinez, and Matthew ‘Nacho’ Ward, thank you for being who you are. These beautiful paintings in the exhibition were created by our team to accompany my photographs.

It is with great delight to recognize my close friend and mentor Kirk Cartozian along with my fellow countryman Adrian Amosa (co-owners of Gaucho Grill Downey) and thank them for donating all of the delicious food and drinks to allow us to fundraise for our Stay Young 2016. Gaucho Grill Downey will be opening up at the Promenade @ Downey in the Spring of 2016. They are also hiring, check out their site!

The photos in this exhibit represent my love and passion for my native Argentina. I grew up in Mendoza, Argentina until the age of 7, where the Andes are always very present to the west. Thought I consider myself a ‘Downeyite’, my roots and soul still call for the Andes. In the last 10 years, I have returned to my native province many times, which is considered the ‘entrance into the Patagonia’. Gaucho culture is present in every province of this beautiful country. It's not just the pants, old school knives, rugged lifestyle, and awesome campfire stories, it is a pre-disposition to share - to share moments with your family, with your friends, and the friends of your friends. The Gaucho shares everything he has. I am a Gaucho. Your friend is my friend, and if you are my friend, my house is your house, and so on.

We all have a little bit of Gaucho in us.

It is the first law of the land for brothers to be united; to have a true union during all times, for if friends fight amongst each other, outsiders will devour them.
— A Wise Gaucho
Valentin FloresComment