Jon Leonardo: No walls at El Ganzo.

Here in America, we don’t give in to our fears. We don’t build up walls to keep people out.
– Michelle Obama

Meeting Leo reminds us that there are still plenty of good people out there – trying to help voice communal concerns – through their art.
And it was quite fitting to have this Artist in Residence work with our local kids at El Ganzo’s community project. They loved working with him as much as he enjoyed spending time with them.

Together they painted a wall that pretty much defeats the idea of walls existence at all.
He helped these kids understand that just by throwing paint and having fun together, they could “break down the walls and break down the barriers” and the many divides between the system – and the rest of us – the rest of the people.

The mural’s timing is also perfect, considering the feud that has started between Mexico and our neighbor’s new President Mr. Donald Trump. Our kids don’t need to learn about hatred and race divide as much as they don’t need to learn about walls that keep us Mexicans out… Our kids should understand the good in all things, like Leo puts it,
“Mexico is colorful and Mexico is amazing and Cabo is a dream of a place…”

Through his work, artist Jon Leonardo, better known as “Leo”, interprets the different circumstances that arise in society and expresses them through a mixed media method that becomes his art.

He strives to exhibit a simple idea- things don’t have to be the way they are.
And his argument comes across quite clearly on the work he left for us at the 2nd floor of El Ganzo.
In it we see a Queen and Pawn in what it is a pretty-much-straight-forward next move.
Chess is a big game.
The system is also a big game, we all know little about it, who wins and loses… but in the words of Leo,
“People are standing up and raising their voices, people are coming together against racism and injustice”

He believes in change-makers.
He also believes in people raising their voice and being heard.
He refuses to see the world as “it is supposed to be” people following norms they didn’t make up themselves or ever said to agree with.

Which is part of the reason we loved having this California Native hanging out with us during his Residency.

Leo was born and raised in Boston and now resides in Venice Beach where creativity strives on every corner, the colors and innovative surroundings have progressively inspired and consumed him.

His latest project, was shown during Art Basel on December 2016 – in collaboration with artist Krohn Royal, Bushwick Collective and Mana Urban Arts – it consisted of an emotional ode to Standing Rock and the indigenous people. The mural is located in the Wynwood Arts District.

We hope to see Leo soon,
It was a pleasure to hang out with such a fun and peaceful revolutionary.

Next time you are at El Ganzo come see his work.