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The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

Representation Through the Valley Colors

Photo by: Matthew Echavez
Mendez’s 2021 oil-painted canvas titled “Affirmation” is one of the largest pieces in the Valley Colors exhibit. Photo taken on March 7, 2024.

The Valley Colors exhibit opened on Thursday, March 7 at Fresno City College. It will stay open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until March 15 in the Art/Home Economics Building, AH-101.

The exhibit contains paintings that professor Vincent Mendez has produced as an artist over his 40-year career. The organizers dedicated this space to his work.

“My work is no longer mine. It really belongs to the people,” Mendez said, to whom the organizers at the Art Space Gallery dedicated the exhibit.

The pieces range from oil to acrylic mediums and have an intended theme of relating to the Central Valley. 

He continues to produce paintings involving fieldworkers, a job he had done before and felt driven by this personal relatability to continue with these subjects.

Despite the technological advances in farmwork, people are still working in the fields and Mendez said he felt compelled to share their story. 

“I paint what is true to me in every conceivable way,” Mendez said.

One of the highlighted pieces at the gallery is an indigenous woman with her arms out towards the farm fields and the colorful sky as a group of people stands behind her in solidarity. This piece is briefly titled “Affirmation.”

Mendez said his style of art varies with some paintings containing texture and other pieces drawn with gesture, a quick and abstract approach.

He describes his work as being based on representative art and neo-expressionist styles.

Jose Garduno, an electrical systems technology major, first heard about the exhibit through his Chicano-Latino Studies professor. He felt it was beneficial to have insight into Chicano culture through the lens of another individual.

“A lot of times it’s these magnificent landscapes full of life and some had this sort of radiating energy,” Garduno said, who pointed out to the “Affirmation” piece in reference.

He found the experience to be calming due to the natural and personal depictions Mendez provided.

Mendez encouraged students and their families to come to the exhibit.

“I’m up in age now, but I’m not gonna stop,” Mendez said.

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Matthew	Echavez
Matthew Echavez, Reporter
Matthew Echavez is a 19-year-old student majoring in the field of journalism. He has lived in Fresno all his life but has visited numerous countries like Japan and Russia. Journalism was not always his first career choice. For the longest time, Matthew juggled with various interests and beliefs. His lack of direction led nowhere concerning a solid idea of what he wanted to do as a career. From history to video games and sports, he developed all sorts of fads and enjoyments, but not truly anything he could see himself make a career in. It would slowly begin to change when he started involving himself in amateur writing. Matthew’s interest in expressing himself better and talking about topics that came to mind allowed him to realize his enjoyment of writing. He took an interest in researching and attempting to convey stories. Though relatively short, this stint nurtured a small audience that encouraged him to continue forward with his self-expression. Further interest in writing would mature with Matthew’s interests in hard conversations, politics, and social commentary. He wanted to be the one to ask questions and do something meaningful to him. Despite some initial reservations about journalism due to its implausibility as a career, he took the chance after some encouragement. In his spare time, Matthew loves to play games with friends. He also likes to listen to all types of music, especially from abroad and plays guitar. He hopes to experience journalism at The Rampage and learn more about the profession while growing as an individual.

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