Art Against Violence
Exhibit: Jan. 10 – Jan. 30, 2015
Mexican Heritage Center
111 S. Sutter Street, Stockton (Corner of Sutter & Market)
gallery hours Tue-Sat 12-5.
Reception: Jan. 16, 5:30-8 pm
Open to public. Meet the artists. Entertainment and Refreshments.
Art Against Violence is a presentation of Draw It Out -- a collaboration dedicated to using art to explore, celebrate and improve our
community’s culture and future.
Violence is a pervasive and complex problem. Dealing with it is important for everyone, not just police but parents and teachers,
professionals and clerks . . . and artists. Art can make a difference. Art communicates and clarifies. Art exposes pain and offers release and
relief. Art confirms commitment and measures success.
This exhibit showcases area artists’ responses to violence and its impacts on all our lives. The range of this show, from hopeful to painful, is
designed to stimulate thoughtful conversation and positive action.
The Draw It Out project is especially focused on reminding us that the circumstances children grow up under will influence the community
they build as tomorrow’s leaders. Managing those circumstances is our responsibility, today.
Please support Draw It Out’s efforts to give voice to our children’s need. Experience the powerful voices of participating artists who choose
to care. Find your own role in changing our community for the better. Do not miss this important show.
The idea for "Welcomed Graffiti" came to me
in viewing all the negative graffiti throughout
our town and wanting to put a spin on
something more positive. Driving day to day
and reading the various bumper stickers on
cars and looking out for those with an anti-
violence message, I took to collecting those
to add to a collage piece I wanted to use. The
collage pieces came from collecting old
Stockton candidates’ election signs and
cutting and tearing them into different and
The idea for "Catch of the Day" came to me
when I ran across the "Tolerance" bumper
sticker and wanting to highlight that
message. The image of the collage pieces
came from one of my larger collages, I then
turned into a print/collage. The message is
clear that in order to reach a world of non-
violence, Toleration is the key to open
communication and understanding.
Cleveland School Remembers
On January 17, 1989, a shooter came onto
the playground of Cleveland Elementary
School in Stockton. Five children were killed,
and 30 other children and a teacher were
We were teachers at Cleveland School at the
time. Our collage represents the effects of
the shooting that have stayed with us for
over 25 years.
But what began as heartbreak and pain has
evolved into action. We have chosen to work
within our community to share the impact of
violence and to try to change its path.
The world of art has helped define the
direction of that path.
with Jan Coen and Vickie Perron
Draw It Out – wish flags
Behind every wish is a story, and each story matters.
Many wish flags tell us directly how violence is affecting our neighborhoods and the lives of our children.
Others require a deeper look to discover causes, perhaps too disturbing to name.
The Wish Flags are intended to serve as keys, opening up conversations about what is needed to put happier endings on our community’s stories.
Change starts with planting seeds.
The Wish Flags are the seeds.
As Wish Flags events remind us of the many issues and needs in neighborhoods across our community, that will help to focus our city’s anti-blight do-it-yourself
neighborhood improvement activism where it is most needed. In the longer term, participation in Wish Flag events can help to mold our children into agents of
positive change for the future.
El Jerome –
I never try to paint
something that just looks
cool but something that
would much more touch
Major 45. (left)
El Stocktone (right)
The altered book Crimes of Passion
is my response to news reports of
the Rihanna and Chris Brown's abuse
case followed by their reuniting.
This piece explores causes and
effects of violence.
Janene Ford –
Visual arts have always been a part of my life. There are few forms of art I have not explored at one time or another. After the turn of the
century I quite naturally found myself drawn to mixed medium arts. With a studio already loaded with all kinds of art supplies and materials, I dove
into my first altered books, then painting/collages.
Art does not have to be beautiful. You probably knew that, but it took me decades to understand that it can be much more than that. It can
provoke all kinds of responses, from laughter to tears.
I've always been a quiet person who never spoke up unless prodded - but through art I found I have a voice. Hopefully my works may strike
a chord and open dialogues with viewers, and perhaps challenge them.
Art Against Violence is an important exhibit. I'm proud to have my work included.
The Shrines by the Side of the Road piece started life as a poem, then became an altered book and is now in the form of this
painting/collage. It was conceived as a response to the white crosses along the highways, many of whom are for youth who have
died while driving under the influence.
The poem came to me in the middle of a night, after I had driven a country road past the site where a friend died as a result of
driving under the influence. I was shocked at Paul's funeral when his motorcycle buddies were saying that's the way they wanted
to go. With the open road ahead, wind on their faces and a buzz on.
They didn't have a clue how DUIs affect the other victims - the children, the families, the mothers - and the turmoil and tragedy
that is left behind. I dedicate this piece to Paul, Zachary, Jeremy and Michael.
shows a related
work in progress.
Janene Ford –
Leonardo Hernandez – Turn the Negative Into Positive
Mike Hoover –
The Grand Jury --
Artists make things;
they can either make news
Allison Leedy Altar – (assembled by Joy Neas & Allison’s mother)
As a member/artist of the Mexican Heritage Center I have felt the healing that creating an altar can bring.
I never met Allison but was deeply touched by her story. I joined a memorial FB group that shares memories
about her and learned just what an extraordinary person she was and still is in this world. The outpouring of
love from everyone who knew her is amazing!!! This is my tribute to her.
Joy Neas –
I have been around abuse all my life, mostly verbal, from my family, my friends and acquaintances. This abuse has
left lasting scars. It is the reason I have difficulty with basic life skills and gave my daughter up for open adoption
not wanting to pass my pain onto her. I often have considered suicide, not that I ever would, just wanting the hurt
Creating art, promoting art and surrounding myself with art is my way of silencing the ugliness present in my life
and the world. Without art life would be unbearable. It gives beauty and peace to our hearts.
Wish Flag String – I wanted to make a string of wish flags for this exhibit because I have been volunteering with the Draw It Out wish flag project since it
began last March. The wish flag project is a beautiful way to give the people of Stockton a voice for change in our city. I have been privileged to meet and
work with the wonderful women of the Draw It Out group, born from the Cleveland School tragedy. From time to time I feel the pain that still lingers
within them and to that I say, whenever ugliness overtakes you look around and
Let Life’s Beauty Give You Wings To Soar!
Weep For The Children is a poem I wrote after seeing a father’s
anger towards his children and their reactions. Seeing the
trauma reminded me of my childhood and all that has happened
since. I usually write poetry when something bothers me so
much that I need to speak. Poetry gives my thoughts a voice. It
challenges and uplifts.
I decided to pair my poem with photos of murals I have seen by
the downtown Transit Center requesting peace and to Silence
The Violence. Capturing photos and sharing what I see is one of
the ways I most enjoy communicating. How many of us truly
notice all the beauty that exists in our own backyard and the
Joy Neas –
Joy Neas –
Turn Your Words Around is an interactive
collage that challenges people to turn
negative words into positive ones,
thinking before they speak. People often
say cruel things that have lasting effects.
One of my college professors used to
stop his lectures and say to the class,
“Say It Better” and then he would take a
moment to restate what he had been
trying to say. We could all benefit from
Brenae Perez – Animal Abuse –
I entered the contest because I wanted to show people how animal abuse is become a violent way to animals.
“Crying Out Loud” represents . . . frustration -- and maybe, just possibly, hope – about the violence that seems to be overtaking civil societies
This project allowed me to bring together many of my own life experiences and influences:
The experience of living within an atmosphere saturated with spiritual peace as I hiked in Nepal, where Buddhist prayer flags flew, and prayer
wheels turned, and our steps carried prayers out to the universe as we walked around prayers carved into the rocks that lined the center of
every path wide enough to hold them.
Years of playing with, and communicating through, images created with rubber stamps.
Years of working to bring peace to our community through mediation – listening.
And a lifetime of learning and teaching through and about drawing: a powerful language we all have access to, a language so powerful that I
believe it is critical for everyone to learn to understand and use it.
I love printing processes, because each print is an opportunity to improve. Lots of rejects from this project. The block itself was revised twice. So
many experiments with fabric and ink . . . All no problem as most materials are from GoodWill.
The wishes on these flags are carefully chosen to express a range of responses to violence, and a range of voices. I’m hopeful that most of these
individuals will be familiar, and that this artwork can serve as an introduction of others who may be less widely known.
Daisy Rodriquez – Don’t Abuse Your Pet Someone Out Here Is Willing to Care for It
Francis Scott – Programs to Help Keep Violence Away
John Thomason – Tears & Loss of Self Control
Born and raised in Stockton, John Thomason has spent a number of years getting back into drawing and painting art after previous starts and stops since
childhood. His pieces for this exhibition show examples of the possible instant circumstances of violence effecting one's state of being and the aftermath.
The primary focus of these works is children, with the premise being that a society that values and nurtures
children is a society that values and nurtures itself. Children are the present, as well as the future.
"Are You Mexican, Or Are You A White Boy?"
Acrylic, collage on canvas
This piece addresses racism from my personal experiences. The title of the
painting is a question that I have often been asked throughout my life
time. Sometimes it is just an honest question, but many times it takes on
an negative attitude as if to say if I am a "white boy" (which, by the way, is
a racist term) then something is wrong with me. But if I am Mexican, then I
need to act more like it (whatever that means!)
In the context of the exhibition, I think racism is a source of violence in not
just our community, but our country, and world. I think we need to
acknowledge that our society has this problem and not beat around the
bush or mince words about it. We need to solve the problem by deciding
to live peacefully with one another, and by learning to appreciate our
wonderful and diverse differences.
Acrylic, collage on canvas
This piece is about the words that we say and that these words have real
meaning. I don't know why, but for some reason our present American
culture tends to ignore the meaning of words in the English language.
Words in other languages seem to carry much more weight in their
meaning than American English. Using the term "wife beaters" is a horrible
term. It's violent and should not be casually used (or worn.) We certainly
don't need to subject our community's children to a lackadaisical attitude
towards domestic violence. We should also bring them up with the idea
that words have substantial meaning and that we should always think
before speaking - not an easy thing!
"Fruit of the Spirit"
Acrylic, collage on canvas
This work is based on the idea that if we pursue what is right,
then that pursuit can only bear good things. It is based on a
Biblical passage, the letter to the Galatians, where the apostle
Paul essentially tells the early Christian church "love your
neighbor as yourself" and to pursue righteousness. If we make
that our objective, then "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, ... self control" and the like
will be the fruit we bear as a community.