HillcrestBlog by "San Diego News Service" (619) 757-4909

"San Diego News Service" covers hard news, features and reviews for local and national print media, and maintains, "HillcrestBlog." Address: 3907 Georgia St., #15, San Diego 92103-3548. Our editor is Leo E. Laurence, J.D., Copy Ed.: Martin Brickson. Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California. Call news tips to (619) 757-4909 (days), Nights: (619) 220-8686 (fax also). leopowerhere@msn.com Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Sunday, September 28, 2008


North Park -- In New York City's Greenwich Village, some of the most fantastic art works are found in small galleries hidden on narrow side streets.
In North Park, a similar example is the Ricardo Vela Fine Art & Photography Gallery hidden in a residential neighborhood at 2923 Upas Street (619) 546-9135).
Vela is a short, intense U.S.-born Mexican who also serves as the regular News Anchor/Producer for KBNT-TV channel 17 in San Diego. Additionally, he write a weekly column for the el Latino newspaper. In 2001 he was named one of the 100 Most-Influential hispanic journalists in the country.
In 1983, by earning second-place in the National Art Contest, he was allowed to exhibit in the world famous Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
In 1992, Vela received an Emmy for a TV story about a Latino family coping with the last days of AIDS and how they prepared their children for the loss.
In 2006, he received two Emmy nominations; one for outstanding achievement on health/science coverage and another for an-camera talent.
In 2004, Vela started a morning radio show, Voces de San Diego, that was recognized for excellence by the San Diego Press Club.
The San Diego City Council proclaimed February 6, 2006 as Ricardo Vela Day in recognition of his contributions to the Latino community.
In 2004, Vela was named one of the ten most-inflouential Latinos in San Diego by the Frontera newspaper.
In 2006, he received a blue-ribbon award at the North Park Art Fair.
He has studied business administration at the Instituto Technologico de Cuidad Juarez in Mexico, and studied masscommunications at the University of Texas at El Paso. His post-graduate studies include Columbia College and the Art Institute in Chicago.
"Normally, I do abstracts. My photography is very different," Vela said candidly.
His oils use strong, bold strokes of very bright blues, yellows, reds and everything in between. There's nothing subtle about Vela's canvases.
His photographs are both artistic close-ups of flowers - in which he sees metaphorical stories - to photo-journalism that tell dramatic stories from the barrio.
Prices range from $80 for a 16" x 20" B/W photo printed on metalic paper, to $3,200 for Windows, a 36" x 48" oil.
The current exhibition runs through Oct. 31st, when it will be replaced by a show by three other artists and is to be called el Dia de Muerte (the Day of the Dead, marking the religous observance of halloween in Mexico).
Vela's oils, prints and photographic works now on display in his North Park gallery will be moved to the artist's gallery in Palm Desert for the duration of the Day-of-the-Dead exhibit.
Vela's gallery is open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 - 7 pm, and on Saturday and Sundays from 4 - 8 pm; and weekdays by appointment.

Vela is really into multi-media, and in 2007 published a book on his photo-journalism called Saliendo de las Sombras (Out of the Shadows).
"In 2006 San Diego, like the rest of the country, saw the full force of the Latino Community in the awakening of the movement to criminalize undocumented immigrants, separate families and create an economic crisis. Those who until then had been hidden in the shadows came out and their voices rumbled all the way to Capitol Hill," Vela writes in his book's introduction.
Some might say he's a better photo-journalist than painter, but it's obvious in his gallery that he is a master of both!
Vela can be reached at (619) 757-6516 and his website is at http://www.ricardovelaphotography.com/ .
Copyright, 2008 by Journalist Leo E. Laurence, leopowerhere@msn.com (619) 757-4909


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