By Veronica Hurtado
Art Graphic Communication major Mario Hernandez’s graphic design won the Montebello Bus Lines “Ride Green” Art Contest on April 6. “I was pretty surprised (to win). I had no idea of the competition and how it was going to be. I really wasn’t expecting to win,” he said.
The Boyle Heights native participated in a contest along with other participants. Hernandez and participants took part in a competition to celebrate the MBL 80th Anniversary. Participants had to design an art piece that communicated MBL contribution to the community and environment.
Hernandez’s winning design portrays four MBL buses from different eras, passing light posts, trees while driving away from the City of Los Angeles skyline. Hernandez, who is a MBL commuter, said that although he saw posters of the contest, he really didn’t think of applying to the contest until his art instructor Michael Owens encouraged him and his class to compete.
Since Hernandez commutes on the MBL, he took pictures with his digital camera of the landscape he saw on his commute to get inspiration for his art piece. “I get around with the MBL, MTA, or my bike. It saves me money and it is the best way to get around,” Hernandez said.
He took those pictures and started to work on them with Adobe Illustrator. Hernandez wanted to be an artist since he was a child. He said he could remember his elementary school being good at doing arts and having teachers pushing him to pursue the arts.
Growing up in Boyle Heights, Hernandez said that he became interested in graffiti art. He said that he never was interested in writing on the neighborhood walls because of the negative association attached to it.
He was always attracted to the style graffiti artists took on to display the letters on painted on the walls. “I am inspired by typography. I love to design my own writing, color screen, manipulate colors and the surface texture,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez’s art interest was very high in that he decided to complete a certification program to become a certified drafter, yet not before taking a year to work as a tattoo apprentice in 2006. “I have drawn roughly 100 tattoos,” Hernandez said.
Yet, as he grew-up he also picked up music while in 6th grade at Belvedere Middle School. “(I) chose the saxophone as an outlet to express my art,” Hernandez said.
Although he moved on to play other instruments like the flute and clarinet, he returned to play the saxophone. “I just liked the sound, loved the tone, liked how someone can blow a tune out of a brass instrument,” Hernandez said.
Although at home he used to listen to Mexican music like rancheras and corridos, the music his mom plays, during this time he was also introduced to the Blues. “The blues was (influential) to me. My music teacher Mr. Garcia introduced me to KJAZZ (the radio station),” Hernandez said. “All these musical genres influenced me into the musician I am today.”
During his time at East Los Angeles College, Hernandez has playing baritone and alto saxophone in the ELAC Latin Jazz Band for 2 years, ELAC Jazz Band for a year, and the ELAC Marching Band for a year. He doesn’t play with any of the bands anymore, because he wants to concentrate on completing his associate in Arts Graphic Communication.
For the art design, Hernandez won a $100 gift card, which he plans to use to buy art supplies. In the meantime, he will continue working part-time as an electronic drafter for Llanes Engineering.
Hernandez’s art design for MBL will be on display at The Shops in Montebello for the next two weeks.