“Artist” may describe Stan State senior Saul Acevedo, whose “Accepting the Avoided” was the featured show among the student art work on display when the Art Space celebrated its one-year anniversary at its 226 N. First Street location.
But while his colored pencil drawings and paintings that made up the show confirmed his intended occupation, he’s much more than a creator of art.
The collection demonstrated his love of nature, his concern about man’s destruction of the planet and his own ironic humor. One image included “operating instructions” a nod to current vernacular, with “Am I supposed to Double Click on This?” as if that might save the trees being destroyed.
Beyond being an artist, Acevedo is a fraternal twin. His brother Paul graduated from the same Stan State Bachelor of Fine Arts program that Saul is about to complete. Paul is now working toward a master’s degree at Louisiana State University. Saul also is a second-language learner, having lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, until he was 10.
Most importantly, he’s a wizened student. Spend even a brief time with the 24-year-old and his journey to what he expects to be his December degree unfolds as a story of perseverance, inquisitiveness, self-discovery and deep thought.
His reading of philosophers and history influences his work. He’s troubled by man’s history, its constant effort to control others, particularly women, and its ravages on nature.
He named his show “Accepting the Avoided” because “it’s accepting color, accepting mistakes, accepting identification. With my work you see forms that have eyes, a nose and ears, but none of them have mouths. They do have hands. They’re called amorphous.
“You start to look at a form and you start to see animals. I call them living forms after humans.
These forms, or animals, are criticizing humanity. In a way they’re making fun of it, but also bringing in the notion of how we’re messed up.”
Art allows for mistakes, which is only one thing Acevedo loves about it. Artistic talent runs in his family. Two aunts were artists and his grandmother drew. His dad is a graphic designer and Saul has paintings and drawings he first did when he was 6 or 7.
“I never knew I actually wanted to do it,” Acevedo said. “I felt like I was good at it.”
He and his twin followed one of his brother’s friends to Stan State after graduating from high school in Palm Springs, but Saul Acevedo had no real direction. Or commitment.
He left Stan State after a semester and went home, where his dad insisted he get a job or attend the local community college.
He opted for the latter, where he met a 50-year-old student who had worked as an architect but returned to school to pursue art, something he really loved.
“He’s been very supportive. He gave me a sketch book to start drawing and we started taking art classes together,” Acevedo said.
Inspired by this role model and his own artistic skill, Acevedo began applying himself in school and returned to Stan State in the spring of 2017.
He struggled at first, but ultimately applied for and was accepted into the BFA program.
It was a lithography course that clarified his artist pursuit.
“It’s a struggle,” Acevedo said. “That’s why other people don’t like it. It takes time and practice. I think that was a life lesson. You have to make mistakes. The first one is not going to work. You have to continue to work and keep moving forward. That’s why I like print making. It made me think and I had to struggle to become better.”
Other students question his wanting to be an artist, mostly because of the financial insecurity, but Acevedo doesn’t care about financial reward.
“This work I’m doing right now is about following your dream.”