About Artist/Designer: Anthony “AO” Oropeza
“AO”, a nick-name given to him by friends while playing baseball at Emerson park with guys from the other side of his Kansas City, Kansas – Argentine neighborhood, a nick-name he never thought would stick. Just like the thought of the love of a game would never spill into the love of creating art – sports art. The thing is – they both stuck. AO, among his various creations, he creates sports art.
Like sports, AO has figured out that art & design take time, practice, study desire and a no-quit attitude – something not explained to him in his youth. But he figured out, if you want to be something – artist, athlete, doctor, etc. – go do it – even if they tell you – “you can’t” or that “you aren’t goo enough”.
Even though we was declined and was not allowed to pass his college art portfolio review, and not allowed to advance to his junior year art courses, he kept chipping away throughout the years. Coming to the conclusion that he was not a great illustrator, he eventually took up graphic design and later web design, while still pencil sketching and painting throughout the years. His hope, that one day one of the disciplines would eventually surface and stand out.
Even though he was not allowed to advance in art school, AO believed education was a was the way to a better way of life, remembering the words of his mom – “you don’t want be be stuck working in one of these “@#&%&!” factories all your life.” His mother, a single mom of four, worked on the factory floor for over 20 years. So AO pursued school. He soon received two associate degrees from Kansas City Community College and then achieved his Bachelors in Communication from Rockhurst College. – while working a full-time job and chipping away at various art projects.
Determined to find a niche, dealing with life and its ups and downs, art was always a constant. Art, while it can be frustrating at time, can satisfy the soul, like sports. And now in his late 40’s, he is more determined to put out good work, help other artists and teach little artists in various cartoon and comic book work shops – working through life’s complications.
“With art, design, kids, business, work, baby-mommas, relationships, family- life – it’s like a boxer taking jabs and combinations in a ring, but on a daily basis. You duck, slip, roll with ’em and hope your previous experience (training) keeps you from getting knocked-out”, says, AO.
And AO says, ” and if you do get dropped…., get back up.”
Pursuit of Good Design on Screen, Paper or Canvas
AO brings an energy and love of many of those athletic influences to the 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 is reflected in is his unrestricted but controlled painting techniques: he uses bold lines, an abstract mix of colors, aggressive and 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 Kareem Abdul Jabbar to DiMaggio, Nolan Ryan to Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter to Lorenzo 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 athlete, 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.”
About The Nick-Name “AO”
You would think it would be a no-brainer for Anthony Oropeza to have a nick-name of “AO”, but “AO” was not his first nick-name. The nick-name “AO” given to him around the age of 10 or so, while playing baseball at Emerson park with guys from the other side of his Argentine neighborhood. They had seen the huge initials shown on the KC Royals Crown display at Royals stadium in the late-70’s for famed Royal center fielder, Amos Otis. Anthony had no idea why they started the nick-name or why they chanted it like that at him while they played. But from that moment, the Royals, and that neighborhood game, the nick-name “AO” stuck.
Eventually, AO and his family were able to afford a few tickets and were fortunate to eventually see a Royals game live and see those large letters on the screen. Knowing the chant by the Royals faithful was not for him and that those letters on that score board would never be for him, “…it was still kinda cool to see and hear that chant live at the stadium at that age”, says AO, “…that was the only good reason to be high up in those nose bleed seats.”
Anthony, “AO”, was never a center fielder himself (he was a catcher and then third baseman), the nick-name stuck. And even though his favorite player was not the original “AO” (it was Brett), Amos Otis was a close second.
AOART5 is AO’s LLC – For more about the location and hours, etc., check out the AOART About page