Monday, May 9, 2011

Cosme Cordova: An Artistic Force in Riverside, Ca.

Cosme Cordova, an accomplished and professional artist in both oil and graphic art, was born in Mexico and brought to the U.S. at a young age by his father. He has lived here in the United States ever since and currently lives in Riverside, Ca. Cordova’s artwork depicts his experience living between two worlds, being a Mexican living in America and juggling both cultures. He attributes his powerful and symbolic images and paintings to his dual cultural heritage and his adopted American lifestyle.

Cordova is the owner of Division 9 gallery in downtown Riverside, which he founded in 2001. He has hosted many diverse exhibitions and events, including the annual Day of the Dead celebration, held in conjunction with Ballet Folklorico de Riverside. His events feature not only art, but cultural celebrations that include the sharing of traditional dances and food. He wanted to create a place and space where local artists can display their artwork for a reasonable price. His dedication to his artwork and gallery and other artists out there really rings true to his outlook on life. He once said, “I not only love making art, but running an art gallery that supports other artists is tremendously gratifying,” (, 2011). Cordova’s dedication to creating more galleries in the region is the belief that there needs to more opportunities for artists to show off their work.

Soon after the opening of Division 9 gallery, in 2002, Cosme co-founded the Downtown Riverside Arts Walk along with Mark Schooley of the Riverside Community Art Association. The event is held on the first Thursday of each month and has gained tremendous popularity and attracts attention from the locals of Riverside, but in the region too. The Arts Walk highlights more than 20 separate galleries, museums and other locations while promoting local artists and attracting visitors to Downtown Riverside. Because of Cordova’s increased concern for providing opportunities for people and artists and his development of partnerships with other arts and community organizations, he has encouraged and promoted community awareness and efficacy among the people of Riverside and the Art community.

Cosme Cordova has had his art work exhibited throughout California in galleries such as the Riverside Community Arts Association, the Dennis Rogue Gallery in Palm Desert, Rockrose in Los Angeles, and Pomona’s Galleria Rustica and Dada. And more amazingly, he has also served as curator for exhibits at the Riverside Art Museum and has had art work continually exhibited at three art venues in the downtown Riverside; Sweeney Art Gallery at UCR, Riverside Metropolitan Museum and his own, Division 9 Gallery.

Among some of Cordova’s work I’ve seen, the one series that interests me the most is his Artsticle Artruck. He exhibited his solo work back in March of this year at Pomona’s Saturday Arts Walk. On display was the Division 9 Gallery Art Truck and the series of paintings called ARTSICLES, which he spent many years planning and creating. Here is a couple of links to video clips of the Artruck and the Artsicles that were on display.

What I liked most about this series was that it took me back to my childhood and it was something that I could relate to. I think it’s something that a lot of people can relate to because at least for me, it lets you be a child again when things were simple; life was simple. The creative talent behind this series is no doubt the product of someone who is tied to their roots, childhood and culture. In this series, Cordova used wood, ball point pen, acrylic paint and monoprints to create his masterpiece Artsicles to show his eclectic styles of art. What I like about this work is the “rasquache” style of art that is illustrated. The Arttruck itself is something that has been used many times before and the fact that Cordova uses it in his art is simply brilliant!

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