IVAN LOPEZ BIOGRAPHY
My family immigrated to the United States from Colombia when I was three years old. One of my first encounters with art, at the age of six, when one evening when my mother drew a portrait of my sister and I in our sketchbooks.
Growing up, my parents were self-employed, undocumented immigrants applying for political asylum in the United States.Growing up I always looked for the opportunity to learn art anywhere I could find it for free. Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco, California was the first place I was exposed to dance and photography to silk-screening and paper-mache.
In middle school I joined the school band and learned to play the trumpet. In high school I reconnected with my first photography teacher, who helped me join an after school art program called SFMOMA Teen Visionaries. I was a part of the Southern Exposure Youth Advisory Board. In my senior year of high school I began painting to create a portfolio to apply for Art School. I was accepted into Pratt Institute, where I majored in industrial design.
In my final year at Pratt Institute I took a trip to Colombia, where I discovered an artist named Azul in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the outskirts of Medellin. Azul was passionate about painting and ultimate frisbee. Twice a week he would invite the neighborhood kids to play ultimate frisbee. After playing the children would hang out and Azul would teach them how to paint T-shirts.
In 2008 after graduating from Pratt I was struck with the grim reality of student debt at a time when the economy was failing. The opportunities for work felt slim, and I decided to open up Artillery Apparel Gallery in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. Artillery A.G. was created as a platform for Bay Area artists and designers to showcase their work in a curated venue. Our goal has always been to bring locally made goods and art at an affordable price.
Today Artillery is still going strong, featuring over 65 local artists and designers. Going into our fifth year, I have been able to continue my craft of both running business doing my passion, painting.ned undefinedundefined