The Art Carrito takes a familiar sight for many Angelenos, a person selling fruit from a cart, but instead of fruit, Palomares distribues paintings. Palomares uses this project to reach members of the community that may hesitate or avoid traditional COVID outreach methods.
This project brings fine art into the community in the form of a street gallery. These paintings are primarily focused on the strength of the community coming together to overcome the pandemic. The cart is decorated in custom papel picado that features masks and phrases like “Usar una mascarilla.” Upon visiting the Carrito, Palomares demonstrates painting some of these household items. The cart is revamped to feature small original paintings of things that bring comfort or safety (with humor): like a bowl of menudo, hand sanitizer, and Vicks. It also includes subtle nods to the loss the community feels by featuring pan de muerto and yellow marigolds as decoration. The original paintings created by the artist will be donated to local public agencies.
Palomares also wrote and illustrated a children’s coloring book featuring one of his familiar characters: Pedro Piñata, a small donkey piñata. Readers can follow the story about how Pedro loses, and then finds his colors, by washing his hands, wearing a mask, and getting vaccinated. The artist distributed masks, prints, and coloring books at populated events in and around El Monte. The Downtown El Monte Business Association (DEMBA) has been a valued supporter of this project, amplifying harm reduction messages through community events, members and in schools.
About the Artist
Francisco Palomares is a native Angeleno and a first generation Mexican-American. From an early age, he had an infatuation with art, especially renaissance art. His goal was to learn the painting secrets of master artists such as Goya, Rembrandt and Velasquez. He began his art career in high school on a scholarship based on technical skill to Ryman Arts, a nonprofit offering college art studio courses to high school students tuition-free. After graduating from Ryman Arts and high school, he continued his studies at California State University, Long Beach. As an undergrad, he was an art exchange student in Guangzhou, China, and Florence, Italy. In 2014 he graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting. He returned to his childhood neighborhood of East L.A. and opened his first art studio called PalomaresBLVD. His goal is to bring the experience of life on the streets of East L.A. to the outside world.
Follow the artist
Explore more projects
Somali Family Service
Displayed at community events, vaccine clinics, and health fairs.
Artfully Wrapped Electric Cars – Various Artists/Lideres Campesinas
Displayed on Lideres Campesinas’ vehicles traveling throughout the Sacramento, CA area.
“COVID-19 Through Our Eyes: Indigenous Perspectives” Art Exhibit –Santiago Savi & Various Artists/Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)
Displayed at MICOP office in Oxnard, CA
“Get Vaccinated” Song – Various Artists/Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
Displayed digitally via PWC social media pages.
“Love in Action” Community Mural – Jennifer Williams – Cordova/All of Us or None
Displayed in Old Town Kern in Bakersfield, CA.
“Happy Day Again” Song & Music Video – Tony Nguyen/California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
Displayed on CHNSC social media pages and website.
Watercolor Paintings – Health Education Council
Displayed at Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento through April 2022.
“Flourishing Out of a Pandemic” Digital Art Piece – Kaylene Moua/Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP)
Displayed digitally via HIP social media pages, website & email, and in regional HIP offices.
Elena Lourenco (Lead Artist), Natalia Mendoza, and Isabel Gonzalez
219 E Fourth St. Santa Ana and various Lending Library locations
A Space Between Us
Various locations and A Space Between Us throughout San Bernardino County
20-mile route through South and East Los Angeles
COMUNIDAD: Juntos Salvamos Vidas
Juntos Salvamos Vidas
Anjelica Muro/Hector Mendoza Anguiano
Various locations throughout Monterey County
San Joaquin Valley Latinx Music and Poetry for Covid-19 Prevention
Juan Felipe Herrera, Leonel Mendoza, and Carmencristina Moreno
Project produced by Alliance for California Traditional Arts
Various locations throughout the Central Valley
El Centro COVID Memorial Mural
Ernesto Yerena Montejano
739 N. Imperial Avenue, El Centro
Safety First & Break Free
Serge Gay Jr.
2390 Market St. San Francisco (intersection of Market and Castro)
Birds on a Wire/Lessons from Nature
Turtle Bay Exploration Park, 844 Sundial Bridge Drive, Redding