Arturo Romero believes that what you put out into the universe, you get back. It is no surprise then the 33-year-old Sacramento painter is finding success in the local arts scene and in life.
“I do believe in tides,” he says. “You give … and it’s going to come back to you ten-fold.” In the past two years, he has married his wife, Anachristina, had a son, Righteous, and purchased a home. He has also made a name for himself as an artist in Sacramento.
On a warm Sunday afternoon across from Cesar Chavez Park, Romero opens the door to the studio space he shares with a photographer, a band, and a handful of other artists. His space is separated with colorful cardboard spray painted with Superman and Peanuts-looking characters he calls “the humans.”
Romero says he draws a lot from cartoons and comic books he grew up with. A Southern California native with Mexican roots, he says comic books actually helped him learn English.
His primary characters – one-eyed aliens he calls Sumerians and the humans – juxtapose one another. The humans destroy the earth and the Sumerians try to replenish. Several paintings show littered post-apocalyptic settings in neon colors. The ravaged environment is the core of Romero’s message.
When asked about his interest and awareness of environmental issues, his response is simple.
“I mean, I got eyes, don’t I?” He says with a laugh. He adds that people do not necessarily want to hear that they are part of the problem. His aim is not to antagonize. He wants to poke fun at the obvious, he says, and make people think. “I want to send a message, as opposed to just try to sell it,” he says.
Romero says setting up shop in his downtown studio was a catalyst for connecting with more artists and projects. “I really believe in the fact that things happen for a reason.”
He has showed work with the Menagerie. Pop-Up Art Shows series, and was selected for an installation in Fremont Park with Sacramento’s Capitol Art Box Project, and designed a mural for a West Sacramento community garden. Romero is always up for a good collaboration.
“Inspiration is all around. It’s exciting, but at the same time it’s overwhelming.” He says it is hard to turn down projects. He has plans in the works now with local restaurants.“I’m trying to push in any direction, and I know no matter what direction … everything else is going to follow.”
He picks up a penny that is faced heads up in his studio, laughs a little, and says he will have good luck.
Words and photos by Kate Gonzales. Video by Andrew Hooper and Kate Gonzales.