Artist Spotlight: Hector Silva

Silva, a self-taught Los Angeles artist, draws a sensitive line that connects the sensual and the political in his finely rendered works.

By Christopher Harrity

Hector Silva is a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles who has been producing work for more than 25 years. Born in Ocotlan, Jalisco, in Mexico, he moved to the United States at the age of 17. He began drawing in his late 20s when he discovered his own talent. Today, Hector’s work is collected internationally and has received acclaim in the U.S. and abroad. Living in Los Angeles with its rich Latino/Chicano culture, Hector draws from the Latino tradition. Among his influences are religious iconography, Frida Kahlo, M.C. Escher, Tom of Finland, and Chicano prison art. Hector explores themes of cultural identities, eroticism, and beauty. His mastery of light and shadow on skin is captured on paper with pencil.

Recent group and solo exhibitions include a retrospective at the One Institute/University of Southern California and shows at Highways Performance Space; the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, Calif.; City of Buena Park [Calif.] Council Chamber; the Museum of Mexican American Art in Chicago; the Autry National Center and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Los Angeles; the Museo Hispano de Nevada; the Erotic Heritage Museum in Nevada; DePaul University in Chicago; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently Hector is a resident artist at ChimMaya Gallery in east Los Angeles.

His work is featured in Triumphs of Our Communities: 4 Decades of Mexican American Artand The Cisco Kid: American Hero, Hispanic Roots and on the cover of Good Bandits, Warrior Women and Revolutionaries in Hispanic Culture, published by the Hispanic Research Center at Arizona State University. He has also been featured in the journal Dialogo from the Center for Latino Research at DePaul University and in La Gente de Aztlan newspaper from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2009 Stanford University acquired Hector’s work for its Latin American, Mexican-American, and Iberian collections.

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