Edgar Palomino is on a mission to beautify Lovington, one wall at a time.
At 33, Palomino has been passionate about art for most of his life. His first inspiration came from cartoons and animations, but he soon turned to the work of Mexican muralists the likes of Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros and others, whose work helped establish the muralist movement of public art, starting in the 1920s in Mexico and around the world.
“I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember,” Palomino said. “I was obsessed with painting and painting and painting. It’s just a love for art and painting.”
His latest piece, “Ascension — From Darkness to Light,” can be found on the exterior wall of an otherwise non-descript building at 305 W. Avenue D in Lovington. The piece depicts the circle of life, from humankind’s journey out of darkness and death to redemption.
“It’s pointing to some kind of hope for something better,” Palomino said. “We’re trying to inspire people in that sense, especially in these times of the world going crazy.
“I see more about hope; I see men always wrestling, trying to accomplish or do something in their lives,” he said. “That’s humanity, always struggling, like in the Bible telling you there’s a way. There’s hope.”
The owner of the building, Palomino’s neighbor turned assistant Ron Humphrey, first commissioned Palomino to paint a mural wrap on a recently purchased camper, Humphrey said.
“When we met Edgar … we wanted a mural on our camper and I helped him paint it,” Humphrey said. “Then he told me, ‘I want to paint a building.’ I said, ‘I’ve got a building. We can paint it.”
Palomino studied art in Chihuahua, Mexico, where he first became interested in larger pieces working as a street and graffiti artist, using spray paint, he said. He was commissioned through a state-sponsored program to get young artists out in the community, making art.
There’s a definite delineation between what’s traditionally thought of as graffiti and the public art Palomino makes, the former having a definite negative connotation. It’s sometimes difficult getting through to people about that difference, he said. But that’s part of his mission in creating public art.
“I saw kids doing the graffiti on the walls and I got interested in what they were doing,” Palomino said. “I do like painting on canvas, but I prefer having my art on walls so people can see it.
“It would be sad to paint and nobody see it,” he said. “The more people we have to see it the better. That way, it can inspire.”
Humphrey put it succinctly, gesturing to “Ascension” on the wall behind him: “Who would see this as negative?”
While he took his early inspiration from the famous muralists in his native Mexico and elsewhere, Palomino now is working to further develop his own voice and vision.
“Now, I’m trying to look for my own identity as an artist,” he said. “This is just like a beginning, the way I was inspired.
“Right now, I think I’m inspired by many things,” Palomino said. “This is what I love to do. Whenever I’m doing this, I’m just completely enjoying myself.”
And he wants to share that enjoyment of art — particularly public art — with the next and future generations.
“It will be cool to have more people interested in these things. I think it’s worth it,” Palomino said. “I think it’s good to inspire young people to do good things, to grow up thinking they can do great things, rather than just do nothing.”