Art show to complement April 11 Downey Symphony concert

"Fight Like a Girl," an artwork by Karen Yee, will be one of several pieces displayed at an art exhibit before the April 11 Downey Symphony concert at the Downey Theatre.

"Fight Like a Girl," an artwork by Karen Yee, will be one of several pieces displayed at an art exhibit before the April 11 Downey Symphony concert at the Downey Theatre.

DOWNEY – As the Downey Symphony Orchestra concludes its 57th season of fine music with a concert entitled “Romantic Gems” in the Downey Theatre at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, once again, in collaboration with the Downey Arts Coalition, there will also be an art exhibition entitled “Rebirth – Life, Death and Transformation” in the lobby and gallery before, during, and after the concert. The theatre lobby will open at 6:30 p.m. “This is our largest exhibit we have ever had! It includes 33 artists with over 50 items on display. It will be very different this time; there are a lot of different interpretations of the theme,” said EJ Ball and Pat Gil, both members of the Downey Symphonic Society Board of Directors as well as members of Downey Arts Coalition and curators of the exhibit.

Combining an art exhibit with the Downey Symphony Orchestra concerts has proven to be successful in boosting attendance to the concerts as well as increasing artist exposure to the Downey community. Art works are available for purchase and many artists have sold their works to enthusiastic audience members.

Many returning artists find a challenge to create something new when the theme and parameters of the exibit are set and made known several weeks in advance. This time the call went out to artists for all media and mixed media of all sizes with the subject matter keeping to the theme of “Rebirth – Life, Death and Transformation” also the title of the exhibit.

Pat Gil was excited to inform us “…returning on April 11 are artists Jorge Del Toro who is doing a new sculpture for this show, Carolina Del Toro, Polaris Castillo, Roy A. Shabla, Rocio Carroll, Isabel Acosta, Irina Krakov, Terry Walker, and Esmeralda Villalobos.”

EJ Ball was also delighted to add “I’m really looking forward to many of the pieces that will be on display. Artist Karen Yee can be described in one word, “Warrior.” She is not only a warrior fighting an unfortunate illness, but she is an incredible artist. The rich colors, the complexity of her subjects and the attention to the smallest detail in her artwork simply leaves me breathless.”

Karen will be exhibiting “Fight Like A Girl” and, using her own words, said “It is a very personal painting to me. It is, of course, a self-portrait, but it is also one of a series of portraits reflecting my relationship with living with cancer. In 2003 I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. I underwent chemotherapy, surgery, more chemotherapy and radiation. I went into remission for a few years, but in 2009 it returned to my bones. In 2011 the cancer spread to my liver and lungs as well; I had to undergo chemotherapy again. I was determined to kick the cancer to the curb. I wanted to express this emotion and show that I was ready to do battle in a self-portrait. I portrayed myself in armor after having lost my hair due to the chemo. I think a lot of people think the wings reflect an angel and maybe assume I am honoring a person that has passed on due to their fight with cancer.

“What I am hoping to reflect is that I was fighting the good fight and may be on the side of the angels. Others have responded to the image positively, telling me it has inspired them in their fight too.”

EJ also went on to talk about Jessie Castillo.

“He is an inspiring young artist who chooses to vent his frustrations of life through art. He has grown in so many different levels through his art and sculptures which are simply amazing. We are proud to have Jessie participate in our exhibits and he will continue to be a familiar face in the future.”

Jessie will be displaying a piece entitled “Keep It Moving” and his painting represents his progression as an artist. He comes from being a kid roaming the streets at night with markers and spray paint cans to now having the honor of painting murals in different cities and displaying his art in different venues.”

Jessie himself says that he is a 26-year-old abstract artist who began painting on canvas in 2007 using spray paints and experimenting with acrylics and a paint brush.

“Now I work in many mediums including watercolors and also metal sculpting. I was placed in the foster care system three different times in my life and moved around to different areas of Los Angeles County. Graffiti art gave me an identity and a way to express myself. It was an outlet and a way for me to release all the anger and frustration I had growing up in a dysfunctional situation. I consider myself an abstract artist and believe a true artist paints from their heart, soul, and mind. I have the liberty to create my own visions having no rules and complete freedom to make something unique with my own style. As an adult I don’t want to be just a graffiti artist, I want to continually grow and be an artist with no boundaries.”

EJ is also excited by artist Julie Weaverling and her art work being displayed entitled “Soul Finding.”

“I have never heard of the Joomchi process and it is quite fascinating.” Julie created a very beautiful piece in memory of her father. She lost him to cancer and wanted to create something to honor him.

Joomchi, in Korean, means ‘journey” and seemed to be the perfect vehicle as it requires a meditative and time consuming process. To Julie, her work represents her father finding his way home. Dulce Zelaya is another amazing young artist and Downey resident that EJ is happy will be participating in this exhibit.

“Dulce currently attends Cerritos College and hopes to transfer to either USC or UCLA. She has the honor of having one of her art pieces, entitled “Unknown, displayed in Washington, D. C. in the Capitol building. Her inspiration for this particular work was the future, and, although we would have been delighted to display this piece, it is unavailable at this time.”

Instead Dulce will be displaying “Last Theatre,” a piece that she says is about a girl who lost control and gave up on her thoughts and lives by reaction. She has made nothing but a fake, empty escape. Will she keep living like this and fade away or will she turn around and believe in herself? Her heart is crying out and she chooses to believe in herself. The work shows the girl’s face breaking away and being reborn to a new person. It would be the last fake persona she would be performing as she takes the next stage to her new life.”

This new art exhibit, “Rebirth – Life, Death, and Transformation” will open at 6:30 p.m. April 11, in the lobby of the Downey Theatre in conjunction with the Downey Symphony Orchestra concert in the same location that begins at 8 p.m.

Please do come and join us. For one ticket price you can enjoy the art exhibit and the Symphony Orchestra concert. We’ll be glad to see you and you’ll be glad you went!