Adam Hernandez’s art will take you to another place. A land where surreal creatures meet heroic figures cast in vibrant hues. You’ll find yourself immersed in this world, which is Hernandez’s very intention. Since moving to Columbus nine years ago from the Bronx, Hernandez has expanded and refined the realm his art encompasses in the city he finds both calm and gracious.
On their way to school each day, two sisters passed salon Azul Violeta in their hometown of Michoacán, Mexico. The constant presence of the storefront inspired them to one day operate their own beauty shop. Years later and thousands of miles away, the sisters opened a salon in Whitehall, Ohio. They named it Azul Violeta Salon, commemorating their hometown’s business. When the sister’s decided to sell the shop to care for an ailing loved one, the salon became Cristal Galloso’s. The acquisition fulfilled yet another aspiration for the 24-year-old Galloso, who dreamt of one day running her own business.
Nic Flores is from Olton, Texas – a small town between Lubbock and Amarillo in the state’s panhandle. As he explains it, this is the “Texas” part of Texas, an agri-business community where white farmers employ a predominantly Mexican and migrant workforce. Education brought Flores eastward, when he was accepted to DePauw University, a liberal arts college in Greencastle, Indiana. The Midwestern context awakened Flores’s consciousness, raising specific questions of self-identification and societal perceptions of “whiteness” as practice and privilege.
The study of movement brought Marya Barrios to Columbus and the practice of movement (for the moment) keeps her here. Her father moved from Venezuela to New York in 1993 and then from New York to Ohio to pursue his Master’s in technology and dance through the Ohio State Dance Department. Barrios joined her father shortly after his move to Columbus. At the age of 15, she left behind a Venezuela already exhibiting early symptoms of political and social unrest.
Amarelis Martinez was born during one of the most devastating storms in recent memory. The category 5 tempest, Hurricane Hugo, robbed Puerto Rico of electrical power. Martinez’s mother gave birth in a lightless and waterless hospital room with nineteen other women while the hurricane raged on outside. Her birth, Martinez suggests, set the tone for the rest of her life. She can go without much and still make it – head first.
A broom in constant motion and the consummate jingling of store bells accompanied Martin Noriega. He was busy sweeping the floor at Estetica Ivette Salon when we first arrived at his North Side business. Ivette is his mother, the salon Noriega’s gift to her. Once finished at the salon, Noriega dashed next door to answer phone calls and stock the shelves of his newest endeavor – a small Mexican styled grocery store. During our visit, he continued darting between the brick and mortar realities of Noriega’s decade long dream to one day own a business.
As an energetic kid with a penchant for science and math, Nathali Bertran dreamt of building a spaceship and visiting the moon. Her current job isn’t lightyears away from this either. She now builds more terrestrial machines as a design engineer for Honda R&D Americas in Raymond, Ohio. In addition to engineering cars, Bertran is also part of a team working to streamline and simplify the process of applying for DACA (that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status that allows recipients to attend public universities and garner U.S. work authorization.
The term “power-couple” is often used to refer to two individuals – dating or married – who are independently successful. At times, this phrase seems somewhat trite – terming “power” as economic success. Yet, in many ways, I am tempted to use this label for Maylin Sambois-Sanchez and Javier Sanchez. These two look to strengthen the Columbus community through their focus on youth programming. The vision they each have for improving children’s lives coupled with their support for one other lends a special kind of power to their endeavors.
Seven large canvas frames lean against a corner of Natalia Sanchez’s new studio space. She spent most of this Friday building, breaking down, and then rebuilding these wooden rectangles. This CCAD graduate appears the perfect combination of exhausted and exhilarated. The canvases are slated to feature a series of paintings inspired by chakras – or psychic energy centers.