Sep 17, 2019
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Unconventional art in unconventional places

Aurora Armijo, a 2004 graduate of Fresno State, uses inspiration from her mother to expresses history in a unique form.
Bryan Cole / The Collegian

Cribs, drawers, discarded playing cards, painted rats and recycled objects are just a few things Fresno State alumna Aurora Armijo, 27, features in her new art show “Lock It,” displayed in downtown Fresno at Café Corazón.

The show is centered on locks, the idea of people having the power to create their own worlds with the ability to lock certain things in and certain things out.

The art centerpiece was created on a headboard of an old baby crib that belonged to the grandmother of her friend Kim.

“I wanted to use the history of [Kim’s] family because I feel part of her family,” said Armijo. “They’ve been so loving and caring to me and I brought that in with my own family, which is kind of about the lock, the photograph and the text itself.”

“I think it’s more different than anything I’ve seen, on the count that everything used is recycled,” aid Jim Hayes, who attended Armijo’s art shows. “It’s on old calendars and baby boards. It brings value to the old saying one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Armijo said she doesn’t necessarily think of the objects she uses as recycled, but as things that have a history.

Armijo obtained her bachelor’s degree in art at Fresno State in 2004.

Since then, Armijo has displayed her art collection in unusual places such as Trends, a tattoo parlor and oxygen bar, Howie and Sons Pizza in Visalia and currently at Café Corazón.

“There is a bit of a following in the ArtHop community,” said Leo Rios, owner of Café Corazón.

Café Corazón is one of the ArtHop stops in Fresno.

Armijo’s inspiration for this art show came in January of 2007 when her mother Alice passed away in a car accident.

“I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a tribute show, but her passing away is definately a catalyst for me wanting to go full board in producing a cohesive idea and getting things done that needed to come out.”

Armijo explained how some of her pieces indirectly included “little ideas” of her mother.

“I’ve always had rats and mice in my paintings. That goes back to my mom too; this was far before she passed away. When I was younger she would always call me mouse. It was because I would kind of hide and keep to myself,” Armijo said.

Stephanie Ryan, Armijo’s former art teacher at Fresno State also inspired Armijo in creating her art style.

“There was one assignment where I drew a portrait of a woman and I just did it in charcoal, it was super simple. She [Ryan] blew my mind by saying one little thing, she looked at it and she said, ‘That’s too perfect, why don’t you think about smearing some gesso (board chalk) on it.’

“[Ryan] saying that made me think about the idea that mistakes can be embraced and mistakes shouldn’t necessarily be erased,” Armijo said. “They’re a pathway to something else.”

Armijo, who started out as a mass communication and journalism major with an emphasis in broadcast, changed her major to art in the middle of her sophomore year.

“I took one art class and I realized that was where I needed to be. It was what I really cared about,” Armijo said. “It wasn’t unnatural for me to be a broadcast major, but art was just really where my heart was.”

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