Elmer Guevara is a Los Angeles native who currently lives and works where he grew up -in the former South Central area. A few years prior to his birth in 1990, his parents fled a war-torn El Salvador. With memories of fleeing the crossfire of the civil war in the mid-1980s, they immigrated to the United States and found their new home in the City of Angels.
From a young age, growing up in this portion of the city’s working class alongside the culture his parents brought from El Salvador, Elmer found inspiration in the city streets. Throughout his teenage years, he commuted on public transportation and by bicycle, out with friends and noticing social issues that took maturity to understand. Early on, urban art became an obsession being his earliest experience with painting. Without knowing, it would later lead into taking an education and experimenting with oils and the figure. In 2017, he received his BFA in Drawing and Painting from California State University Long Beach.
Elmer’s work attempts to create an open dialogue about identity using the portraiture of close family. The portraits utilize symbolism from both cultures hybridizing an example of the acculturation process for his Latin-American family immigrating to the United States.
Furthermore, Elmer also examines the social issue of homelessness in Los Angeles as he takes to the streets and the city’s crevices to meet and with permission photo document and interview street dwellers. From this research, he later creates collaged-based compositions that display spatial fragmentation, urban script, physical paint application, and gestural marks. His effort is to translate a verbal interview into a visual interview bringing the viewer a glimpse of his experience, the psychological state and personality of the interviewees, and a snippet of the realities in the city streets.