Friday, October 05, 2007


It was bound to happen sooner or later. The amazing folk art of Martin Sanchez at Tio's Tacos, just a few blocks away from us in Riverside, has been discovered. I'd been toying with the idea of writing about the amazing gardens and installations at Tio's, myself--every time I go there, I find something new: a chapel made of recycled bottles, a person made out of Barbie dolls, a walkway under arched plumes of water, a marble patio floor etched with the names of social justice icons (including "Abramham Lincoln")--but I was torn. I wanted people to know about this amazing work, but I also didn't want the world to intrude on Mr. Sanchez's process. We'll see whether this new exposure makes a difference, but I probably have no reason to worry--he has such a clear and driven vision, such passion for his continual quirky cycle of creation; I doubt recognition will derail him. I was surprised to learn that Mr. Sanchez is only in his early 40s--the depth and extent of his work led me think that he must be an eccentric old guy. But no, he's pretty young, and crazy-talented, and while the food is not the main draw of his restaurant, they make the best, most refreshing, mixed fruit aguas frescas around.

It's interesting to see Riverside on the art map. This weekend, our town hosts Baby Tattooville; many of the hottest contemporary artists (including Riversider Jeff Soto) are going to be meeting with serious art collectors at the Mission Inn for a few days of art talk and exploration. It sounds like a very cool event, but I'm afraid the $1500 registration fee is too rich for my blood.

Speaking of art and Riverside, I was also excited to discover the existence of Small Wonder Foundation, a new group which "seeks to support cultural development in the city of Riverside and surrounding areas by providing a quality venue for fine art and literary education, and rigorous creative experimentation, collaboration, and exchange." I'm going to meet with one of the founders soon, and am eager to learn more about her vision.

4 comments:

HL said...

I feel the same way. I wrote about El Tio here http://growabrain.typepad.com/growabrain/2007/04/best_mexican_re.html

Anonymous said...

link above corrected

Cati Porter said...

Funny that you mention Small Wonder -- I just met with the director on Friday and I think their organization is a great addition to our local literary arts scene. Very cool!

Karen said...

This is akin to The Orange Show in Houston, also home to the Beer Can House. Proof that what we see in this world is only what we see, and not what there is.