We had the good fortune of connecting with Rosemary Tuthill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rosemary, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My business, Vasquez Art, was started due to a downsizing. Let me explain, I was a aerospace R&D Lab engineering technician for over 20 years. The company I was working for was being acquired, so they paid people to leave early. As a result, I had a decision to make. Either I looked for the same type of work for another company, or change my career. As I grew up both helping my father, Emigdio Vasquez – an internationally known artist – and painting as well, I opted to start painting and open my own business. I focus on oil-based painting; and while I paint landscapes, still life, and historical, I like painting portraits the best.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me apart from others is my painting style. My style is much like my father’s but with a feminine touch. From watching and working with my father, I can paint portraits with many layers to bring about depth. Following my father’s example, I learned to paint with styles influenced by the old masters, with their use of light and shadow. Today professionally, I have painted commissioned portraits, paintings for gallery shows and fine art prints, and murals. A career in art is difficult to say the least. It takes time and effort to both refine painting skills and talk with galleries about shows, and market. Regarding challenges, there are many. I am fortunate that my husband, Steve, has helped immensely with building my websites, marketing, and making contacts. As a business, a pursuit in art has its difficulties and rewards. I mentioned some of the difficulties, so here are my take on some of the rewards. I truly enjoy being at art shows when people stare at my art and say they are amazed as they ask questions about aspects of a painting. I am appreciative of the galleries that display my paintings, questions that people ask after visiting my website, and gaining recognition from publications such as the San Diego Voyager! Also, I truly appreciate those that commission art for portraits, landscapes, and murals. There are many lessons that I have learned, starting with focus. I learned to focus on branding; and I created my Portraits of Influence Series. This series features paintings of notable individuals who have made contributions which have influenced culture and affected society in areas including politics, science, music, art, technology, sports, social justice, and other areas with the common link – each individual in the series has supporters and detractors. Recognizing these individuals for what they achieved is important for consideration, but it is also important to embody the impacts these accomplishments had on their essence as reflected in each of their portraits. You asked me to comment about my brand and story. Regarding my brand, I am continuing a family tradition that started with my father in the 1950’s. I would like the mention that my brother, Higgy, also is continuing the family tradition and brand by restoring some of our father’s murals and painting murals as well. Also, to memorialize the brand, I am painting every day, contacting galleries, marketing, and appreciating the opportunity to have a painting career. In particular, the Vasquez brand is attention to detail, many layers, and use of light and shadow which, in some paintings, result in a photorealistic image. My story, besides what I have previously mentioned, is hopeful to continue painting commissioned art, showing in galleries, and selling fine art prints. My story also is one of appreciation for the opportunity to refine my painting techniques, painting discipline, and balance in my life. I encourage those that pursue a career in art to be ever critical of what you create, know when to declare a work you create as finished, and have plans for what you have in mind for your work que. For me, I like to look ahead to my Portraits of Influence collection and do research in any subject I paint. The more I know about an individual, for example, the better I can capture what I consider the subject’s aura. By this I mean, I find out as much as I can about an individual, look at photos and painting to see difference aspects or impression of an individual, and create my own interpretation. Finally, addressing your question, “What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?”, I would like to say that a painted portrait can become a family heirloom that can live-on for generations. While photographs are great, oil-painted portraits bring life to an image and captures a moment in time. I approach each of my painting with this level of care and consideration – this is my brand. Regarding my story, hopefully, I will be able to create art for
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a good question that I would approach with an initial 4-day tour of the area and then regroup for the remaining days based on my friend’s comments and expressed interests. Day 1 I would begin with a VIP mural tour that focuses on my father Emigdio Vasquez’s and my murals. I would start with the mural I created for Eastvale’s City Hall September, 2020. Eastvale was awarded an Arts Innovation Award for community art; and I received the Key to The City of Eastvale! We would then head to the City of Orange and have breakfast at the landmark “Filling Station.” From there, we would visit one of my father’s first murals titled “El Proletariado de Aztlan” located at 442 N Cypress St. Orange, which is in the heart of the barrio where we grew up on Cypress Street. Then, we would walk north, crossing Walnut street and visit the formerly segregated Cypress Street School, 1931-1944 to educate the Mexican and Mexican-American children of Cypress Street Barrio and El Modena. Walking directly across the street, I would point out the house Emigdio’s family moved into when they moved from Jerome, AZ. We would then head to Anaheim to visit four of Emigdio’s murals. First “Towards the Twenty-First Century” located at Manzanita Park 1260 N. Riviera Street. We would take a short drive to visit “Nuestra Experiencia en el Siglo Veinte”, at 201 E Cypress St Salvation Army Parking Lot. Then I would drive Just a mile to downtown Anaheim, where we would park at the ”Anaheim Packing District” and take a short walk over to Anaheim Civic Center at 200 S. Anaheim Blvd. to see Emigdio’s mural titled “One Hundred and Twenty-Five Years of Progress” located on the second floor of City Hall. From there we would exit the back of the building parking lot and walk over to the boy’s and girl’s club at George Washington Park. Emigdio has a very large painting titled “Raices del Pachuco” hanging above their boxing ring. Afterwards, we would walk back to the through the charming Anaheim neighborhood back to the “Anaheim Packing District” and choose from the many restaurants to have a late lunch and talk about the day’s adventures. After lunch, we would find our way to the “Blind Rabbit” there, we would order a beverage of choice and talk about the Day two’s adventure and head back home. Day 2 On the next day, we would head to “The Riverside Art Museum” future home of “The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art.” After that site, it’s a short walk to “The Mission Inn” where I would lead a tour through the many levels of this breathtaking Spanish Mission-style architecture hotel. We would lunch in the outdoor courtyard’s Mission Inn Restaurant then drop in at “Las Campanas Tequila Bar” for a flavored Margarita. Day 3 If he or she couldn’t get enough mural hopping, this day we would head to the “Heritage Museum” of Orange County in Santa Ann. There we would walk the beautiful grounds under the citrus trees and visit the 1/2 size replica mural Emigdio created and I restored titled, “Spanish, Indians, and Today’s Hispanics.” It is displayed in the Heritage Museum courtyard. Staying in Santa Ana, we would then visit four of Emigdio’s murals starting with “Visions of Orange County” located at 400 w Santa Ana Blvd. Next, we would travel to see “Visions of Santa Ana” located at Angeles Park, 914 W. 3rd St. The next mural titled, “Chicano Gothic” Memorial Park is located at 2102 S Flower St. We will then visit the last mural of the tour titled, “Recuerdos de mi Pueblo,” located in the Tapatio Restaurant 1214 E. Pomona St. Here we will dine on authentic Mexican food Santa Ana style! Day 4 Today, we start early and drive to in the neighboring city of “Horse Town USA” Norco, and have breakfast at the voted the “number one” restaurant for breakfast in the IE “Cowgirl Café.” We would then head back into the OC to visit some more of the Vasquez family murals in the colleges. First stop – “La Eduacion Y el Trabajo” located in the Irvine Valley College library, 5500 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine. Next, we drive to Santa Ana College and see “The Legacy of Cesar Chavez” located in the Cesar Chavez building, 530 W. 17th Street Santa Ana. We would then head back to Orange and visit Emigdio’s son Higgy’s mural at Chapman University titled “Visions of Chapman” located in the breeze way across from The Guggenheim Gallery, One University Drive, Orange. One last mural for the day, so we take a short drive heading east on Chapman Ave to the city of El Modena. In the mid-70s, Javier and Nora Moreno rescued the late 1800’s landmark, Quaker Church abandoned in 1967, to build a Mexican restaurant. During the construction they commissioned Emigdio to paint a small mural titled “Mariachis de Jalisco”, in the dining area. In 2019, Moreno’s Restaurant located at 4328 E. Chapman, celebrated it’s 50-year anniversary. There we would enjoy a fine Mexican lunch, sipping on one of their signature margaritas. Then, we would drive home and talk about what we will do tomorrow.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to recognize my father Emigdio Vasquez. He painted over 400 easel oil paintings and 32 murals. He was amazing at painting in a gritty style that resonated strength of character in his subjects. Emigdio had often been asked to give an artist statement that he felt best described his art. He once replied, “I consider my art to be a part of the experience of the working class. The daily lives of people in the barrio are documented in my work. This environment holds inspiring visions of human warmth and cultural heritage. I do not view my subjects as a detached observer; I am personally involved with the people and scenes in my paintings. They are a part of my life experience.” His bio can be seen at: https://vasquezart.com/emigdios-bio.
Other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5p-qZtgF9w https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIzMURFsU7Q https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI8sGYV8tMc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0PZ23Ev4FI
Chad Tuthill- Zoetic Photography Steve Tuthill Carlyn Camp