Artist Spotlights: Torero and Holt

Discover the creative minds behind the artwork featured across our Unjournal!

Our most recent works are vibrant with the creations of talented artists, one of local San Diegan acclaim and one from across the country:  Mario Torero and Kim Holt.

Volume 1, Issue 1 (February 2014)

Mario Torero

Mario Acevedo Torero is a Chicano/Peruvian ‘artivist’ (artist/activist) from the San Diego/Tijuana area. As an active muralist, painter and teacher in the community, he works with and inspires members of the Chicano/a community through a number of programs. He is co-founder of the Centro Cultural de la Raza and Chicano Park, as well as the Mundo Gallery & Healing Center. He is currently active in ‘Street Art’ – creating public murals locally and abroad – and continues to create and exhibit paintings and sculptures. Two of his featured works of art are deeply rooted in San Diego. The first is “Muerte & Rebirth” (1980-2001), a mural that was on display at San Diego State University’s Aztec Center before remodeling. Torero describes its history:

I was a student at SDSU in 1970-71 and taught a class there in 1980 on Chicano Art. In that year, in collaboration with my class students from the SDSU Chicano Studies/Mecha program and the community of the Centro Cultural de la Raza, we painted a mural at the base of the Aztec Center’s plaza. We called it “Vida Y Muerte En Aztlan” (“Life, Death & Rebirth in Our World”). It celebrated the great Mexican artist Posada. The historical mural was enjoyed by thousands until remodeling of the new Aztec Center.

The second, an acrylic painting titled “We Love Barrio Logan” (2012), is a portrait of two of his students from the School of Art de Barrio Logan. The expression and message of the piece represents the growing challenge to the gentrification of the Chicano Park Community.

Vida Y Muerte , by M. ToreroWe Love Barrio Logan, by M. Torero Birth of Quetzalcoatl, by M. Torero

Kim Holt

Kim Holt is a freelance illustrator based in Maryland.  She has a BBA in Marketing and a BFA in Animation. From childhood she has been interested in art, and knew at an early age that she would create for a living. She and her mother started a collectible figurine company in the 1990’s which lasted a couple of years – a fun and creative time of her life molding with clay – and became her entry into doing serious art for a living. Years later, her husband encouraged her to get a degree in fine arts, majoring in animation, her real childhood dream. That experience enabled her to take her work to the next level, and opened the doorway to becoming an illustrator.

By day Kim works as a user experience professional and by night she works on freelance and personal illustration projects. The approach she takes with her work is to make it r”elatable and whimsical.” Her work has been described as energetic, expressive, dynamic and full of personality. Typically incorporating a vibrant and fresh color palette, she creates art using watercolor, gouache, acrylic and digital media. For Kim, design or illustration is successful when it makes people think or talk. Thus, she wants her pieces to resonate with people deeply, and ultimately she plays with memory and nostalgia to lead viewers to remember a situation from their own lives or think of someone they know.  So many experiences are timeless, and those small expressions on a character’s face or a particular gesture should inevitably bring back memories, regardless of the setting.

Hotwheels, by K. Holt Swing, by K. Holt Class Picture, by K. Holt Morning Cartoons, by K. Holt 
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