J. L. Covarrubias is well known and
respected in the Scottsdale art scene and Phoenix's downtown SoHo
district. He has his artistic roots planted firmly in the Chicano
community and is a driving force in the Chicano art scene. In 1978 he
helped to found the Movimiento Artistico del Rio Salado (MARS) art group
and ARIZTLAN, a statewide organization of Hispanic artists and writers.
Many of his murals decorate walls and buildings throughout the Valley.
The Hispanic artist is also a world
traveler, studying in Paris and other European cities, as well as
traveling regularly to international art shows in the U.S.
The Kingman native has learned the value
of using art shows, as well as computer and medial technology, to
communicate his ideas and to market his art. He presents diverse artists
and art concepts via his cable television series, "Valley Arts." He also
writes articles about art for the Indian Country Today weekly newspaper,
which is circulated nationally.
Covarrubias' performances are a
culmination of years of painting, studying art, and developing audience
experience. This is only the manifestation of his maturation as an
"There is a fluidity to my paintings that
comes with my maturing process. With maturity comes a certain freedom,"
"The mature artists paint for
themselves. They don't think about selling the work or who the work is
for. They just let the expression come through. That's honest art.
That's where my art is right now."
With maturity also comes an ease of
technique, a natural grace of brush strokes that honors the Japanese
spirit of simplicity, in which a bird is represented with one short line,
or in which two longer lines depict a mountain. At the same time,
Covarrubias' use of color is influenced by the richness of heritage that
is the soul of Latin American and Native American art.
"Before, I had to worry about the
technique. Now I just totally freefall," he explains.
Above all, story-telling is what a J. L.
Covarrubias art piece is about.
"I like to tell stories. The story sense
of my paintings have come full circle," he says. "I incorporate a sense
of allegory into everything I do. My work is a series of vignettes. For
instance, my painting of Frida Kahlo incorporates birds to represent the
complete fantastic freedom of her imagination. And mine. I put in
whatever I want, making the separate stories into one larger story like
each chapter adds to the unity of a novel."
He adds: "That's why my paintings are
large, much as the Southwest landscape seems to have no limits. They are
like murals in that sense. When you buy and mount one of my paintings in
your home. I want that painting to confront whoever enters the room."