We had the good fortune of connecting with Joseph & Chela Banuelos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joseph & Chela, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Before coming together, we were both in creative careers. I worked at a high-end Art Gallery and Joseph was a Creative Director at an ad agency. We married in 2002 and made a vow to live a creative life. For us that meant reaffirming that commitment through a daily spiritual practice. Putting our intention into practice led us to experiencing local art events and openings. There we met other artists who inspired us to explore our own creativity. As a result of those experiences, we opened Amorviejo Art Gallery in 2006, located in the Arts District in Downtown Santa Ana. After a year, we discovered that selling art was keeping us from making art, so we turned our attention back to the creative process and closed the gallery. Since then, we’ve been entering art shows, creating art events, and pursuing our individual artistic passions.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Our artistic journey, as Amorviejo, includes a passion for Mexican Folk Art. I started making devotional shrines, altars and assemblages out of mosaic and found objects, Joseph was busy creating ExVoto paintings based on true stories. This love for all things Mexican, inspired us to create a line of Day of the Dead and Sacred Hearts home decor items. For us, keeping our creativity in motion is everything. Our art has continued to evolve and we are finding great joy in where that is taking us.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For us, a day trip to Olvera Street in downtown LA is a must. You will experience a wide variety of gift shops, restaurants and cultural events. In and around our own local digs, Benchmarkoc is a fabulous outdoor restaurant featuring great cocktails and savory signature dishes. For dinner by the sea, we take our guests to the Beachcomber, at Crystal Cove where we can eat, drink and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The person who inspired us the most with her passion and prolific creative depth was Janice Lowry, Santa Ana Assemblage Artist. The book that started me (Chela) on the creative path was an instructional book by Julia Cameron, “The Artist Way”. Other artists who influenced us were Bradford J Salamon and Laura Siqueiros.
Facebook: Amorviejo Art
Joseph and Chela Banuelos