Since the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville on August 12th, 2017 I have noticed a surge in social media with postings of my mural "I LOVE CHARLOTTESVILLE ALOT" located in the Belmont neighborhood.
Maybe I need not be surprised as the question, "Why?"
I believe for many the mural has become an aide in bringing our community together especially in this season of racism and injustice that has come upon Charlottesville. I think it has become a reinforcing message of what people who live here really feel about their city, even after what transpired on that day when the white supremacist rallied for their cause that left three people dead.
I began to explore the use of text as a viable art form in 2010. My career in graphic design has strongly influenced my work as an artist. The creative process of using text and typography as a means to discover and say something new by connecting, extracting and reworking words in letter forms finds me experiencing and living out a new voice, a new language to communicate. I love the idea of illusions, the element of surprise, delight and wonder that it projects. Exploring and capturing this in my art and sharing it with my viewer is very important to me. I create with words and images because they have the ability to communicate to the senses and encourage you to rethink, question, or be persuaded towards a particular point of view. To change one’s mind or reconsider someone’s position or point of view by guiding them to see in words and images what they might otherwise not have seen or considered before is rewarding.
I am increasingly thinking of creative ways to have a constructive and redemptive role through my work, becoming a catalyst for positive change in my community and the world. Ultimately, I want to reach out and invite people to participate in the mystery, the wonder and sense of discovery of using words and images that will compel them towards truth and beauty.
Henri Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic priest who writes about social injustice and community issues says it best for me, “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”
You can find this mural on the side wall of Fitzgerald Tire Company located on Monticello Road in the Belmont neighborhood.
The making of the mural, film by Matt Bernstein
Richard Montoya was born in Racine, Wisconsin and is of Mexican American descent. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design from Parsons School of Design in New York City. His graphic design career extends over 30 years with work ranging from package design to corporate identity. In 2008, he closed his successful design business in Charlottesville and embarked with his wife and 3 children to do 18 months of volunteer work with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). They served in Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Africa, India and Afghanistan. During his time with YWAM, Richard was able to increase awareness of injustice issues through his graphics and filmmaking. He has been using text based imagery to produce visual play on words and their meaning since his return in 2010.
His art and films can be:
FOLLOWED on instagram.com/rchrdmontoya