Am I My Body?
I've come to realize this with other facts, realities!
There is more!
Which is why I must alter my consciousness
more and more ...
Which is why I shall, must,
resolve this recent awareness!!!
Ricardo Santana Villañueva Peñalver (1937-1995) (Pen-yaal-vair) is the quintessential outsider artist of his generation. He dedicated his entire life to painting and drawing.
In the 1970s, this creative genius was prolific. He sold his art successfully and commissioned his work. He created posters and street flyers promoting musicians like Miles Davis and Cal Tjader.
He championed social issues and was a friend and ally to George Moscone, Mayor of San Francisco and California State Senator.
Born April 4, 1937 in San Antonio, Texas; Ricardo referred to August 11, 1979 as his 'other birthday'. His life was permanently altered after being shot and robbed while trading gold bullion in San Francisco. He was rendered a paraplegic.
The ensuing years were challenging as he depicted his transition from 'walking to wheels' in hundreds of paintings. He taught himself to paint left handed as he persevered to regain the use of his dominant hand. Ricardo's triumph culminated in 1988
with the unveiling of
Seated Man Dancing,
Lady owl of the night, owl of my night
I love your hoot, were you to bring a
loop, I know I could wheel through,
so that I too
could hoot like you.
Ricardo's Urban Owls
(Viewable in the Gallery)
Ricardo began painting his quirky and colorful owls, with their distinctive and sometimes peculiar characteristics, as essential sources of humor and inspiration in the late 80s and early 90s.
Ricardo was 'an outsider' and these imaginative owls are representative of how he believed the world perceived him and his wheelchair.
Ricardo painted, sketched and drew with color pencils on small pieces of paper, backs of lottery tickets and of envelopes, advertisements and cardboard, whatever was available, to quickly capture the essence of these fabulous
urban owls with feet and wheels.
2019 Affordable Art for the World; Fine Art America - RicardosArt37 Gallery
2018 Woolsey Wildfire – 6 major Peñalver paintings destroyed in fire; Mask, Spring Wizardry, Body of Spheres, Para Tí, Balance and Magnificent Sphere Power
2006-2009 Owls Pals™, ancillary merchandise; including stop motion animation film
2005 Owls Pals™, Benefit Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center of Seattle
2004 Peñ’s Pals Soft Sculpted Owls, Toys for Tots, Bellevue
2003-2004 Peñ’s Pals Soft Sculpted Owls, More than just stuffed toys … They’reArt!
2002 Peñ’s Pals Calendar, California Governor’s Committee for Employment of DisabledPersons
2002 KPIX-TVCBS, San Francisco, Peñ’s Pals Public Service Announcements for the California Governor’s Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons
2001 ABILITY Magazine, Portrait of an Artist
2000 ABILITY Magazine, Thank You to Microsoft
2000 Christopher & Dana Reeve, Personal Communique
2000 Microsoft, Holiday Gift; Seated Man Dancing, Petite Peñalver, Limited Edition Lithograph
2000 Artemis Gallery, Seattle
2000 RicardosArt.com launched
1998 Alexa Bryson Art, LLC, Bellevue; founded to promote and celebrate the life work of Ricardo Peñalver
1995 Ricardo passes
1989 One Man Show - Alexa Bryson Gallery, San Anselmo
1979 Ricardo is robbed, shot and paralyzed. He will live the remainder of his life as a paraplegic
1979-1975 Friend and Liaison of George Moscone , Mayor of SanFrancisco and CA State Senator
1978-1979 Interpreter, San Francisco General Hospital
1976 LULAC Foundation Opening Ceremonies, Poet, Dorinda Morales dedicates La Nina Lina en East LA - Peñalver Power to Ricardo Peñalver
1976 Artist Studio, LULAC Foundation, San Francisco
1974 PeñAlexa Studio, San Francisco, Affordable Art for the World
1974 Miles Davis Poster, Keystone Korner, San Francisco
1974 Captive Arts, Sausalito
1974 Nanny Goat Hill Gallery, San Francisco
1974 KPIX-TV CBS, Solesvida, Marcos Gutierrez, SanFrancisco
1973 Cal Tjader Posters & Handbills, San Francisco
1973 Luis Gasca & Mongo Santamaria Great American Music Hall Poster, San Francisco
1973 Jacaranda Gallery, San Francisco
1973 Captive Arts Gallery, Sausalito
1973 Huracane Productions, San Francisco
1972 Fantasy Records - Maló
1972 KEMO-TV, San Francisco
1972 Garfield Park Music Festival, Poster, Art Show, San Francisco
1972 Orphanage Club, Mural, San Francisco
1971 KRON-TV NBC, San Francisco
1971 The Chicano Moratorium, East LA
1970 Horizon Project, Treatment Director, City of New York, under the direction of Mayor John Lindsay
1969 Discharge and Release from Superior Court of the State of California in and for County of Los Angeles
1961-1965 Vice Chairman Inmate Council, San Quentin Prison
1960-1961 San Quentin, School
1957-1959 Soledad Prison, School; Violation of Section 11500 of the Health and Safety Code; Marijuana
1953 Golden Gloves Welterweight Champion - Texas
RicardosArt37 was created by Alexa Bryson, the lifelong partner and companion, authoritative expert, historian and curator of the art of Ricardo Peñalver (1937-1995), the quintessential 20th Century American Outsider Artist.
Ms. Bryson is the eternal soulmate of Ricardo Santana Villanueva Peñalver. Having met this brilliant artist as an 18 year old ingenue in April 1974, she faithfully dedicated herself to his creative genius throughout his lifetime and for 24 years since Peñalver’s passing in 1995.
Alexa began her relationship with Ricardo in May 1974. On many occasions she modeled for his paintings. She fell in love with Ricardo and with his work. Alexa has always been driven and she soon began working as Ricardo’s Agent. In 1975 she secured the commission to produce a custom painting for a major telecommunications company entitled Communication Plant (1975). The two of them continued to move his art forward at every opportunity. In 1976 they opened his art studio in the LULUAC Building on Folsom Street in San Francisco. It was there that Alexa and Ricardo establish PeñAlexa Studio and the dream of affordable art for the world. Their dream relied on Peñalver 's ability to create a prodigious volume of art and they both worked at their dream diligently.
However, their relationship was altered forever when tragedy befell Ricardo in the summer of 1979. While trading gold bullion in San Francisco on August 11, with the sole purpose of using the money to allow him to ‘sit and paint’, the strong physically active spirit who loved to paint and dance was shot, robbed and rendered a paraplegic. He was wheelchair bound for the last 16 years of his life. Paralyzed from the waist down and losing the use of his right hand and training himself to paint left handed, in his prime at age 42, was a devastating catastrophe. It took several years of arduously painful and difficult rehabilitation before Ricardo could regain the artistic mastery he had honed since childhood. Alexa was there for all of those challenges encouraging and caring for her cherished companion buoying his confidence and strengthening his resolve.
In 1984, Ms. Bryson attended CCAC’s Gallery Management Program. Alexa received accolades for her design and her curating talents. She would begin working at several of the finest art galleries and auction houses in San Francisco mastering her skills in design and the selling of art. She continually presented Peñalver’s artwork for sale. During those first 10 years of Ricardo’s paralysis his art was not accepted. Being in a wheelchair was an ‘unpleasant experience’ for many in the 80s, a time before the disabled community had been respectfully integrated into our society. The art world was not ready for the brilliance of his art and his documented transition from walking to wheels. Alexa continually supported her dearest companion encouraging him when he was discouraged, reminding him that he had dedicated himself to art and he needed to continue to paint like many of the masters before him; e.g. Vincent Van Gogh. It has always been her mission to present his brilliant art to the world. “One day the art world will recognize your art.” Determined to showcase Ricardo, she established Alexa Bryson Art Gallery in 1989, and celebrated his art with a one man show; 10 Years Later.
Since his passing, Ms. Bryson has continued to champion Ricardo’s Art and has established meaningful relationships with her community, charitable organizations, corporations, governmental agencies and private collectors.
In 2000, she formed Alexa Bryson Art, LLC, and the first web site for Peñalver was launched. That same year Seated Man Dancing (1988) one of Ricardo’s most admired and famous works, was licensed by Microsoft’s Accessible Technology Group and designated as its’ Holiday Gift. The Petite Peñalver Limited Edition Lithograph was circulated worldwide generating global enthusiasm for Peñalver.
Ms. Bryson was contacted by Christopher and Dana Reeve who had received one of the Holiday Gifts sent to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. They expressed an affinity for Peñalver’s art how it touched and moved them on a visceral level. Christopher and Dana’s contact was exciting for sure. In 1995, just months before Ricardo passed away, when Christopher was injured becoming a quadriplegic; Ricardo wanted to reach out right away and call. Unfortunately Ricardo passed away before any contact was made with Christopher and Dana. Ricardo’s spirit has always been strong and delightfully 5 years after his death, his ART the most important message he could possible convey to Christopher and Dana reached them. This gift was powerful and truly better than a phone call from an unknown paraplegic. That was a truly amazing moment! Ricardo delivered his message to Christopher, through ART, even after death!
Momentum for Ricardo’s Art continued to expand with the release of the California Governor’s Committee Peñ’s Pals 2002 Promotional Calendar featuring Ricardo's owls. The calendar was promoted on CBS-KPIX-TV with Public Service Announcements His unique and unusual owls, became the inspiration for Peñ’s Pals Soft Sculpted Owls; More than just toys...They're Art. Relationships were established with Children’s Hospital in Seattle and Owl Pals™ in Bellevue, Washington promoting Peñalver’s art in various forms of merchandise and media.
Ms. Bryson has spent the last several years curating and expanding the collection acquiring early paintings by Ricardo. She has focused her energy photographing, preserving his body of work and writing his story. In addition, Ms. Bryson has researched Ricardo’s history, designed a new modern website and continues to develop her relationships within her community sharing the story of Ricardo and his art whenever she can.
Alexa is delighted to fulfill the dream of Affordable Art for the World She and Ricardo shared in 1977 when they opened PeñAlexa Studio. That dream is now a reality, 42 years later, with print-on-demand technology of Fine Art America.
Ms. Bryson is available to discuss the purchase of Ricardo's original art.
Affordable Art for the World is a dream Ricardo Peñalver and I shared 42 years ago in 1977 while operating PEÑALEXA Studio.
Thanks to print-on-demand technology our dream is now a reality.
Our collaboration with Fine Art America allows you to affordably purchase your favorite paintings, by Ricardo, as reproductions and to discover his amazing art printed on apparel, home décor and lifestyle merchandise.
Use the link below to connect with RicardosArt37 on Fine Art America.