September 24, 2004

A Late Start is Never Too Late

By Geneva Gamez

For Derek Avalos, life took a positive toll this year. With no artistic expertise or minimum clue as to how to paint or sculpt, Avalos now finds himself following what seems to be a long hidden passion. A talent still in bloom, Avalos began his artistic career ten months ago when he and his mother deviated from their planned trip to a Target store. As they were about to walk in, Avalos noticed a Michael’s store next to Target and out of curiosity pulled his mother into the store with him. He didn’t know that walking through those doors would change his life forever.

“When I went by the isle where the shelves were filled with paint brushes, paint, and canvases, something came over me,” remembers this fresh new artist, “all the sudden this strong force imposed itself within me, I’d never felt that way about anything in my life.”

With no money at all, and a huge favor to return to his mother, who lent him a few dollars she was able to spare so he could buy key material to experiment painting with, Avalos invested in the least expensive tools to get himself started. It was then, when Avalos realized he had great potential to unwind this hidden artistic side. What seemed to be a crazy idea at first turned out to be a passion that has lead to Avalos’ current career.

Aside from being an artist, Avalos, attends community college and continues to better himself artistically on a daily basis. He enjoys sharing his story with as many people as he can and serves as motivational proof of the great things that come from following an intuitive heart.

In the process of following his intuition, Avalos discovered another hidden talent that’s also artistic: sculpture. He has worked on huge wood carved sculptures, which he hopes will one day be made from bronze and donated to various cities, including the high school he graduated from in 1978. He keeps most of his sculptures in Tijuana, Mexico, where his mother, Elena Avalos, has lent him a space to work out of. One of his pieces, however, resides outside his mother’s home due to its large size. Others have been donated to public organizations. Bank of America’s branch on Third and K, in Chula Vista, is one of the lucky places to display one of Avalos’ sculptures.

“I like to share my story with people, and I also like to share my work. I don’t mind donating my work to organizations as long as people can find a connection with it,” says Avalos of his work.

For Avalos, this has been the greatest change his life has ever encountered. He acknowledges that art may be a talent he’s always had, as he remembers sketching drawings through long days at work; sketches he never knew would be vital to the growth of an artistic future. With this in mind, Avalos is an example that a late start is really never too late.

“Opposite Senses” wood sculpture w/oil paint

To see more of Derek Avalos’ work, accompany him at his next exhibition: D’Art of D’XXI Century, Saturday, 25th at 8 pm at DAVID’S COFFEEHOUSE located at 3766 5th Ave. San Diego, CA 92103 (Hillcrest area).

To contact Geneva Gamez, please e-mail:

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