About Artist/Designer: Anthony “AO” Oropeza
Good Art – Good Design
AO loves good art and good design – in everything. Like sports, AO has learned that good art & design take time, thought, practice, research, desire and a no-quit attitude – something not explained to him about art in his youth. But he’s figured out, if you want good design or if you want to be something – an artist, athlete, doctor, etc. – go do it – give it a shot – even if others tell you – “you can’t” or that “you aren’t good enough”.
Factory Life Not The Way
Growing up in a blue collar neighborhood, AO attended a high school outside of his neighborhood where attending college was automatic. Although his high school counselor thought a good vo-tech school might be best for him, he thought otherwise. He believed a college education was a better way. He remembers the words of his mom while he was working a summer job in the same factory she was employed, “You don’t want be be stuck working in one of these “@#&%&!” factories all your life…”. And she was right.
His mother, a single mom of four, worked on the factory floor for over 25 years. AO attempted to work nights at the factory and attend community college in the AM. It was no working so he had to make a decision. So AO quit the factory job and pursued school. He soon earned two associate degrees from Kansas City Community College, attended Art school, left art school, returned home to earned his Bachelors in Communication from Rockhurst College.
Rejected by Art School
Yes, AO was rejected at his college art portfolio review his sophomore year in college. It was a bit of a gut-check. But determined to earn a 4-year degree, (he had earned 2 Associate Degrees by then) he had to rethink the plan. So after leaving art school, he focused on a different subject and pursued and earned a Communication Degree at Rockhurst College in KCMO. After Rockhurst, he then studied graphic design and web design at home and took classes at a local junior college.
While attending school and working, AO still continued his pencil sketching, drawing, writing, and painting throughout the years. His hope was that one day one of the disciplines would eventually surface and stand out.
The Work Shows Promise
In 2013 AO made a decision. Based on a couple personal factors, he decided to give his sports painting another shot. His body of work says it all.
AO brings an energy, love of sports. love of design and the many athletic influences design to his canvas. His pursuit of top notched quality, design, color contrast, creativity and balance, like an athlete, is one of his top priorities.
Visually seeing one of AO’s sports portraits, the viewer experiences the painter’s passion for his subject, and his ability to show depth, rawness and color contrast. AO wants the athlete to “jump off” the canvas. His “coming at cha'” poses and graphic design-like compositions have an uncanny sense of poster-ready quality.
There seems to be a discipline and determination, fight and finish, abstract and order, in every one of AO’s paintings.
AO’s gritty, blue collar background and upbringing are reflected in is his unrestricted but controlled painting techniques. AO uses bold lines, an abstract mix of colors, aggressive, contrasting colors and various shapes and forms to enhance the complimentary background space.
His media include acrylic paint, oil paint, latex paint, stencils, spray paint, canvas, wood and masonite. AO often confesses – “In art, if the piece needs it – I’ll use it.”
He hopes one day to be mentioned in the same breathe as some of the greats like Holland and Neiman – but knows there is still much work to be done and so much more to learn. Until then, he will grind away on project after project, at the drawing table, lap top and at the canvas to make his next great piece better then the one before – just a like any athlete at work – focus, technique, repetition and gritty determination.
Success, Not Fame
From art of Kareem Abdul Jabbar to DiMaggio, Chipper Jones, Jeter to Cain, Eric Hosmer, Perez and so on, AO is well on his way to claim a space as a great Kansas City sports artist. AO knows it will not be easy but like many an artists and athletes alike, he is up for the challenge and ready to put to work the talent and knowledge he has worked on all his life, and to prove to those who said he didn’t have the talent – that he belongs “on the field”. As he (AO) always says, “I have made a ton of mistakes in my life – and now, as an artist/designer and a dad, my goal is to be successful, NOT famous. Fame doesn’t pay the bills.”