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Art association celebrates diversity of art

The Irving Art Association hosted a reception at the Jaycee Park Center for Sharon Serrago, Ruben Contreras, and J. Quentin Ochs II, three artists who are currently showcasing their artwork in the galleries on Sunday, Jan. 21.

“The art featured in the gallery is an exhibition of our members,” John Lee Hunter, gallery director of the Irving Art Association, said. “We change out the exhibits every two weeks.

“The Irving Art Association is about serving its members, and its members serving each other. We plan out our schedule a year in advance. The members send in a request for a show, and then we allocate gallery space, and time, and give them the show. Every member of our organization can have the benefit of having a solo show.

“The great artists we have here represents diversity of art,” Hunter said. “That is always a wonderful thing to come and experience.”

Serrago is a local artist who teaches watercolor and acrylic classes at her studio.

“I have an urge to be creative, and when something speaks to me, I put it on paper,” Serrago said. “When it’s abstract, I paint until it makes my heart sink. If it’s a landscape, I try to paint something that is a rendition of the thing I saw, and I try to get the same feeling I felt when I was there.

“My mother was an artist,” Serrago said. “I started very young painting by her side. I love painting everything. I get a lot of joy out of the abstract arts. Whenever I do still art, I always want to try and make something that’s beautiful. It has to be meaningful and touch people when they look at it, and sometimes that’s really hard.

“I believe art is a pathway to your soul,” Serrago said. “My art is a way that God speaks through me. For someone who’s new to art, they can go to an art exhibit and find out what touches them. A lot of times people will get into art and find out they want to paint, and it’s because they have something inside they want to express.

“Everything I learn, I want to give back, and that’s why I teach,” Serrago said. “I just love being able to share what I have to everyone who wants to learn.”

While ‘Sharon Serrago: Italy and Beyond’ was displayed in the large gallery, and Ruben Contreras’ member exhibit was displayed in the small gallery.

“I try to make someone feel happy when they look at my art,” Contreras said. “The thing that drives me the most to paint is animals, portraits, and landscapes. I don’t like to paint inanimate things. Still life is one of my least favorite things to do. There is still a place to do that, but to transform and make something look 3D is my favorite thing to do. There’s no life to inanimate art, and it’s harder to express. I love portraying life.

“The art has to be simple and clear,” Contreras said.  “There can be no confusion, and it has to be to the point. That’s exactly what I want to project in my work, that’s why I like to paint realistically.

“Art is a form of communication and a communion with God,” he said. “The inspiration and talent emanates from Him.

“I also teach art privately. I found that it’s one of my greatest pleasures to do that because I love seeing kid’s faces when they say ‘I didn’t know I could do that.’ It’s not about the money, it’s about sharing what God gave me,” he said.