Jose Arguelles Interview – Local Artist Bringing Healing Hands to the Yuma Community
Many people have been lost to the ongoing pandemic and COVID-19 continues to take loved ones from families around the world. Yuma county alone has lost 1,064 of its community members with more cases reported daily. To the families in this community, the statistic is much more devastating as the loss of any family member can be a profound loss and brings a level of grief, that is not easily remedied.
Jose Arguelles, a local artist of 13 years in Yuma, AZ has felt the loss, and he turned his grief into a way to help those in the Yuma community who have also lost loved ones through the use of his artistic talent. Arguelles has been memorializing the lost loved ones by taking photos submitted to him and putting them on canvas. All at no cost.
Arguelles relies on his finds at local shops and thrift stores in the Yuma area for his supplies and although he does not request it, we strongly encourage anyone who has the means to support this local artist that is helping the Yuma community members grieving a lost one by donating to his Healing Portraits project through the Gofundme page.
You can find it here and if you have lost a loved one or would like to know more about Arguelles or his work, visit his Facebook page here. Enjoy the conversation we had with Arguelles and samples of his art below:
Tell us a little about what this project is and what inspired you to start it?
“It’s a gift to the people of Yuma. I decided to start creating portraits for people who have lost someone to covid, free of charge. Since then I’ve started taking requests from anyone who lost anyone for free. My grandfather passing away started all this. I realized if I was suffering from a loss others were suffering too.”
So sorry for your loss but what a beautiful way to keep his memory alive and help heal the community. Do you plan to continue doing this in the future?
“Yes, Oddly I have always had my own issues with belonging to society or finding m place in the world I’m schizophrenic and that means I hallucinate and need very expensive treatment and monitoring to keep me stable. My insurance covers most of these costs 40,000$ yearly compared to 7000$ for the average person.
It’s an expensive illness, so it’s hard to find a job that would cover that or make accommodations for that. I felt left out of society for a long time and recovering I realized that if I used my gift in the spirit of healing and soothing I would always find my place in the world. So as long as Yuma will have me I will do this.”
It’s a fantastic gift you have and we are glad you are sharing it with the community What do you like to do for fun?
“Draw and paint, listen to music. Being able to connect with people through art is amazing.”
What kind of music do you listen to while you create your art?
“Right now? Adele, Florence & the Machine, Sia, Lana Del Rey, Emilie Sandae, Samuel Kim, Labyrinth, Sam Smith, The Weekend, Beyonce, Ashelyn, The Irrespressibles, Melanie Martinez, Hozier, Lord Huro. A bunch of pop I guess, all the moody pop music lol.”
That’s a great list! Where can people help support your craft?
“Go fund me! (Editors note: You can support the project here) It has updates on portraits being made and supplies being bought.”
Fantastic, thank you so much for your time, we will be rooting for you!
“I am honored.”
**Interview conducted by Jesse Alvarado
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