Daniel Velazques

Daniel Velazques



Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on August 2007


Tell us about yourself.
I’m a first-generation Mexican-American “Chicano” born in East Los Angeles. My parents are from a small farming town in Chihuahua, Mexico. As a child, I spent a lot of time in the back of the classroom drawing, and was also a victim of the newly implemented ESL program at school. My dad is a carpenter, and that inspired me to study architecture and be creative. I have always loved nature and design—and I feel that my artwork today is an extension of that. My work calls out for environmental awareness and is part of my anti-war movement.

What has influenced you the most in doing what you do?
My biggest influence was in 1994, when I dropped out of college and became a US Peace Corps volunteer, where for the first time, I got to see the world from a different perspective, working in environmental development and disaster relief.

What brought you to Japan?
In 2001 I moved back to Belize to work on natural history films and paint. Living in this small town, I saw the need for an artist space gallery. With the help of some artists and art lovers, I opened The Arthub artist space gallery, a place for art and culture. That’s were I met Peggy Gardner, who lives here in Japan, who invited me to come visit and work on a series of projects. Peggy is also an artist who did an exhibit at the Arthub.

Where do you plan to go next?
After Japan I plan on going to Los Angeles to do some post-production for these projects I have done. They will be compiled into a documentary—a film about this global village and collaboration, and some of the artists will come to Belize and do exhibitions there as well. I’ll be back home in Belize in September. I really miss my home in the jungle; I live in this very inspiring eco-lodge (www.metbelize.com), where we take people to tour the jungle on horses and do conservation work.

What is the message you would like to give to the people of the world?
My message to the world is: we all have a choice—how we live, what we buy. Mother Earth is in bad health. What are we going to leave the children, our future? My paintings are ads that say “fragile like Mother Earth.”