Evangelina Portillo

 
 
 

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Evangelina Portillo

Evangelina Portillo

South San Francisco, CA

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I was born and raised in South San Francisco, California. After studying commercial art at the College of San Mateo, I worked as a graphic artist for 18 years, enjoying darkroom and prepress work. Afterward, I became a business owner, partnering with my sister Maria, a beautiful, inspiring person, to run our family’s business ⎯ Alfredo’s Market. Growing up in a family of 10, I had an interest in art from a very young age. My father always told me I had a gift, a “Don”, and supported me. On the other hand, my very traditional mother thought I was wasting my time. Once I sold my first painting, her attitude changed.
My inspiration comes from the pride I feel toward my parents and family, and my heritage: music, traditions, celebrations, food. Cooking traditional foods alongside my mother has become a distinct part of my life that allows me to explore the flavors of my heritage at many levels.
I find myself telling stories with my paintings: stories about the past, a loved one, based on a song or a single taste, festivities and colors. My art tends to focus on Mexican culture and its history and traditions, mostly utilizing very festive colors. I find myself drawn to the Day of the Dead and its beautiful multitude of celebratory styles. I have come to realize that it is not a celebration of death, but a true celebration of life, and that color is a reflection of life.