Blending a surrealist heart with a technical sensibility


She begins with a carefully crafted grid, ensuring every inch is utilized to its maximum potential. Then comes a central image, carefully placed to lead the eyes in a dance through fantasy and imagination, no 3-D glasses required.

In search of her own syle, Miriam Alonzo, 35, art major, has found guidance in the works of surrealists Vladimir Kush and Salvador Dali, as well as the highly stylized tessellations of M.C. Escher.

“I painted a duplicate of some of their works to get a feeling of what the artist actually went through in order to create a masterpiece,” Alonzo said.

Alonzo, who goes by the pseudonym “HHcita,” has spent her time at EC in many of its art classes, augmenting her extensive background in art.

“I’ve been drawing since I was nine and I have most of my work since 1996,” she said. “I didn’t collect it to make a business of it, but I collected it to see the process and how I developed.”

“Her work looks so real, it’s like you actually want to pick it up and take a bite of it,” Jackie Stewart, 56, an art student and classmate, said of an apple drawn by Alonzo. “She reminds me of the Jamaican and Spanish people that use a lot of vibrant colors.”

Alonzo credits her grandfather, a strong influence in her life, for teaching her how to work with her hands and develop her artistic side.

“I grew up with my grandparents and my grandfather was a kite maker,” Alonzo said. “I used to help him make kites and remember he used to love colors. We used to put different color compositions into each kite.”

The complexity and precision of her patterns has even caused some to question her pieces as computer-generated images, rather than authentic works of hand.

“I usually post the process of my work on my website because people think that I use computers to do my patterns,” Alonzo said. “There’s no computer at all; it’s just time, imagination, and color.”

Using mostly colored pencils on hot press watercolor paper, Alonzo achieves strikingly rich colors that immediately evoke a reaction from viewers.

Alonzo has been featured in numerous EC art galleries and has competed in local area contest including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park.

Her instructors have also taken note and are optimistic that Alonzo’s future career in art is bright.

“At this point, I think Miriam is on the right track. She’s a very hard worker and very ambitious about her art,” Willie Brownlee, art professor, said. “I think she will be a very solid candidate for scholarships and art programs, which will be very good for her down the road.”

More than just class assignments or a means of revenue and fame, Alonzo sees her art as a form of therapy and celebration of life, striving to emote a feeling of happiness in each piece.

“I’m happy with what I do,” she said. “I learned from my grandfather that whatever you do in life, you have to like it, even if you just have to wash dishes for the rest of your life.”