Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

January 4, 2005 > Local Artist Displays Works for Public

Local Artist Displays Works for Public

by Mekala Raman

Johnny Rio, Fremont resident of 35 years and lifelong inspired artist, will showcase his work for the Tri-City community on January 15, 2004. Rio was exposed to the artistic talents of his brother-in-law, sister, and cousin at a very young age and immediately began to display his talent. In the third grade his teacher helped him realize his potential when she expressed her pleasure in his work and urged him to continue to draw.

Encouraged throughout his childhood, Rio used his flair for art in high school to embellish cars with unique designs including monsters, spiders, and others of the like. He entered a contest to make a seal for the city of South San Francisco and was judged second place. Art was a major focus for Rio when he attended high school and he became President of the Art Club directing many projects. At times, Rio's artistic abilities caused him in a little bit of trouble. He once drew a cartoon of the Vice-Principal which caused quite a stir and a visit to the principal. "Later my art teacher told me that the Vice-Principal had hung it in the teachers' lounge and that it was a very good likeness of her," he remembers.

Following high school, Johnny and his brother Manuel worked together for ten years at an auto garage, later working at a dealership. Rio moved on to Sequoia Institute teaching auto mechanics and put his artistic talent to work creating automotive illustrations for the school. He also drew pictures and signs for the campus. His colleagues' suggested that he was "in the wrong business," but supporting a family of seven prevented him from entering the uncertain profession of a fine artist.

Now in retirement, Rio has time to enjoy his passion and has been a professional artist for the last two years. "I put a lot of feeling into it. I fall in love with all the pictures I do and find it hard to part with it," says Rio. Just as in his childhood, he competes in contests and fairs and has won many awards. In September 2004, he won First Prize at the Alameda County Fair, making a mailbox out of pine wood shaped like a mail truck whose headlights light up. He also won "public favorite" for his drawing of a serpent. A butterfly by Rio was judged best in a San Mateo contest and now serves as his logo. Rio is a member of the Fremont Art Association and a three-time winner of the Artist of the Month award.

Recently, Rio's paintings and wood sculptures have been shown at Paddy's Café on Smith Street in Union City and will continue through January. An artist reception, open to the public, has been scheduled for January 15 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and all are invited to attend.

Reception for Johnny Rio
Saturday, January 15
1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Paddy's Café
3900 Smith Street, Union City
Information: (510) 656-9364.

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