|Luna at 2 Tracks Studio. Photo by Y. De Leon|
Outside, passersby walk hurriedly against the fading light of day. Teen boys posturing macho bullshit about girls they hope to conquer. Old men lusting after a cold can of beer. Mothers eager to get home. Inside Heriberto Luna paces on edge wondering what I'm about to ask him. He takes me into the Avenue 50 Studio in the next room over. Frank Romero's pastel giclees hang in silence. Familiar cars and streets with city lights and a comforting aesthetic. In between, an examination of what appears to be a rainbow of rust on canvas by Isabel Martinez. Where to begin.
|Luna at work. Photo by Abel Gutierrez|
|H. Luna, Universal Game, 2008 |
48x60 oil on canvas
In college, Luna studied art, science, and biology. "I just wanted to learn things," said Luna. "A pre-Columbian class taught by an Aztec dancer from Arizona was the best experience of my life." I being to see the common thread of Mayan and Aztec cultures found in his work today. "My family wasn't supportive. Art to them wasn't a choice. They didn't think I would make it so I became a car salesman in Cerritos." Because Luna was shy, the salesman job helped him come out of his shell. There he learned from the top salesman on how to manipulate people into buying a car. "Don Luis . . . that guy was intense." Now you can find Luna in front of teenagers at Juvenile Hall teaching a mural class with not a hint of shyness to be found.
|H. Luna, The Queen, 2009|
36x72 oil on canvas
Behind the serene imagery on his canvases, there's an insatiable quest for knowledge. Luna, like many more people today, feel that there are truths and information about the world that are hidden from us by governments, secret societies, those in power, the 1%. "Even in movies such as The Avengers, if you are a superhero, you are not the one in control. They talk to the elite group. Who are those people?" After about an hour of conspiracy theories, I ask "So, what do you do with the knowledge that things are being kept from us?" Without hesitation, Luna responds, "You talk about it. We have to be conscious about who controls society, the world. There is power in knowledge, in pushing the issue. The Mayans controlled their civilization. Where did they go? That's the million dollar question."
|H. Luna, The Stars and The Moon, 2006|
36x36 oil on canvas