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I met with Javier Carrillo as he was preparing for his first art show at HOLA. He was a talented artist, as one could see from his paintings, but not comfortable in conversation or speaking to groups of people. I had been asked to try and help him get over his shyness so he could talk about his work to visitors at the gallery. We had one hour together. Javier spoke timidly but openly about the people, objects, and experiences that had moved him to paint these canvases. The more he spoke, the more I listened. The more I listened, the more he spoke. When the hour was up, Javier was beginning to use words the way he uses a paintbrush — with precision and with confidence. I asked if we could meet again to practice once more before the opening. This time, I stood at the opposite end of the room so he would have to speak louder. This was difficult for him. But he did it. He spoke about himself and his paintings with a full voice and with the urgency of someone trying to be heard. As I have watched Javier grow over the past few years I have been struck by the way the man and the artist have grown together. The artist paints, the man speaks, and the person he has become strives to reach others through what he sees and feels. Perhaps that is the value that HOLA brings to those who walk through its doors. All I know is that, in this particular case, a shy boy found his voice and his vision — and I, along with many others, am better for it.

By Randy Mell


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