Meet the Artist: Jesús Mata

By Wendy Fregozo

A few months ago I began a new project and opened up my own art workshop in the Old Port. Calle Zaragoza ends up to be the perfect place. Whenever moving takes place, there are doubts and fears. However, from the beginning Jesús welcomed me with special details; one day he entered to visit me with a very special candle holder, a gift to adorn  with my candles.

“My complete name is Jesús Guadalupe Mata Bustamante, I was born on December 12th, if you can imagine. My parents are very religious,” he explains. (On December 12th traditional celebrations are held across Mexico for the Virgen de Guadalupe, Mexico’s patrón saint).

He chose to name his gallery Port O’ Call, inspired by a place from his memories, from a spot in San Pedro, US where he had worked when he began and which bore the same name – translated into Spanish it would be something like “the Port calls you.”

Upon entering his space, you are received with an area full of color and perfection, and what stands out the most are the decorative crosses.

“I love making crosses for collectors,” he gushes, “I collect and recycle what I find and then put together a piece of art.”

Each cross is unique, yet color is predominant on all of them, along with the meticulous details from his work. He tells me he has clients that have come from the U.S. solely to buy crosses to add to their collections.

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Yet, that is not the only thing we encounter in this artistic corner. Frames with Mata’s paintings fill the space. He is not afraid to experiment with any color. His work demonstrates his obsession with symmetry and perfection, that combined with his love of color.   What can be said about his paintings? We can observe small works measuring just 4×8 inches, up to a door-sized painting. His work reflects how colorful how country is.

“I love the large pieces, they are easier and more fun for me,” Mata details, “My art is so simple, and yet I believe it is elegant at the sae time. What I really love doing are landscapes, sunsets.”

“There is tremendous diversity in my paintings. I love my work, creating; having clients find something different. That is what I love to offer.”

“I do most of what is here, they are my creations, I love to recycle,” Mata reflects.

Indeed! I was going to get rid of a weathered trunk, which made it into Mata’s hands and within less than a week it had been transformed and totally restored. He made into a burnt red trunk, with antique iron attached to it. I couldn’t recognize it.

It’s definitely taking a stroll through the Old Port, while remembering the Port is calling us. Be sure to stop by the marvelous studio of Jesus Matá along Ave. Zaragoza and Calle 16 de Septiembre No. 32, in the Port.

Jesus Mata Exhibition Dec. 2nd  8 p.m. at the Galeria de Arte Municipal (GAM) next to Plaza Colosio in the Old Port.

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