MERCEDES — Raul Curiel is small in stature, but huge in creativity.
Over the decades he has created major pieces of artwork from self portraits, paint brush sketches of rock stars to large canvas murals focusing on the Chicano culture.
He has amassed an art collection that dates back all the way to his early days after college.
Early on he painted pictures of Ramsey Muniz and Chicano art. These days his vibrant work stems from his inspiration to create art with any medium.
Curiel, 69, a lifelong resident of Mercedes, dabbles in various types of art styles. When he is not showing his art at art shows he’s in his studio coming up with fresh new paintings and art pieces.
“I have all different kinds of stuff,” Curiel said, standing in the middle of his studio at home.
After he finished his art degree at Texas A&I, Curiel says he was a big advocate of Chicano art in the early 1970s.
He went as far as joining the Chicano movement in Crystal City, where a revolution to create a Latino political party was brewing with La Raza Unida.
While there he painted murals and trained young art students how to paint.
And when it was time to part ways with the movement, Curiel returned home to the Valley and eventually retired as a teacher as he continued his passion for painting throughout his career.
“I did a lot of art with my students,” Curiel said, even though he was not an art teacher.
Over the years Curiel has focused on rock ‘n’ roll art, and colors and shapes.
“I evolved,” Curiel said. “My work is graphic and I like to work with colors that contrast.”
He works with a lot of paint and tools to make textures to make his artwork pop.
“I call it strong visually and every piece of art is different,” Curiel said. “They all have a little bit of me,” he said about his work.
He said when he creates his artwork he concentrates on the colors and eventually and an image will appear as he executes his work with every stroke of his brush.
He even dabbles in macramé art.
One of his brightest pieces is a macramé image of the sun with bright eyes and mustache.
“I designed my own picture out of rug and pushed it in and made it,” Curiel said.
He said he has enjoyed creating his artwork. He said he gets his inspiration from art’s finest masters.
“The old masters are my favorite,” Curiel said. “Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Picasso and Salvador Dali.”