Artists are creators and usually ones that have a deep connection from the heart and bringing to life stories through imagery, voice, writing and dance. But who is to say what a real artist is or isn’t.  As we look at ourselves through our own eyes, we find that some of us believe that although we create, we may not be considered what some would say is an artist.  Paul Montelongo never labeled himself as an artist until recently and hopes to leave a legacy behind that will change someone's life.  He had considered himself a Digital Artist in his field using digital media as a canvas for his love of making imagery that provoked passion and intimacy between himself and the viewer.

“I love to create and recently I’ve come to accept that I’m an Artist. I hope to leave behind not only my work that people will see and own but a mark in their lives from the conversations I have with them. I recently spoke with an older gentleman at an event and I told him how I went after my dream and that I didn’t want to look back before it got too late. It touched him to start up playing the guitar, it was something awesome to see how he lite up knowing he could still do what his passion was. It’s a great feeling seeing my work go home with someone, a small piece of me is now spread across this life.”


Paul has always loved to draw and ever since he was little he has always felt very blessed that not only was his mother an artist but his grandfather as well.  He learned at an early age that not everyone could do what an artist could and even more so as an adult with technology constantly introducing opportunities in the arts he could take advantage of. As an adult, his wife encouraged him to stop waiting and pursue his dreams for himself and not wait to do it for anyone else.

“As I grew older my passion was to become a Comic book artist, but in college that all changed when I was introduced to Photoshop. I learned that I could combine my art with the computer and it just grew. It wasn’t until Feb, 2016 that I finally pursued my own Art for myself as an Artist. My first piece, “Red Heart” was a passion project, something for me. From that piece I found my art style and mark myself as an artist. I’ve always had this passion to create, it was only when I took that leap that I felt free knowing this was what I was suppose to do.”

The art that Paul creates reflects who he is as a person with more to see than meets the eye and upon looking closer, details you may miss at first glance. He has always been drawn to distress and the beauty that brokenness leaves behind in nature.  

“In life some of the scars we are left behind with, both visually or emotionally those marks tell a story. With each piece I create I don’t do just to do, I have an idea in my head in what that piece represents. A story to tell and where that inspirations comes from, it would be easy to create something that everyone will like, but that would not be who I am...For my art I mix Photography with Photoshop, and even though that process has been done before, I wanted to have my own style with it. Each of my pieces has a mark of distress, decay or brokenness to it. I always try to balance Beauty with the Distress and push my art to have someone stop and just admire the work I put in and then notice those small details that were missed at first glance.”

Frida Kahlo has always been a huge influence that has inspired Paul’s art since he was first introduced to her by his grandfather in fourth grade. Being an artist himself, he had books of artists and culture and remembers seeing her work and thinking how amazing it was. He didn’t know any of the terms at the time, but knew he loved her Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.

“I never got into learning the history behind each one or know the main Artist that started each movement or had a hand in it, but the style itself was something I was drawn too. I think more so with Frida Kahlo, was that there was a story there. Her story, if you didn’t understand it, it was for her and not for you. I wish I could say I’m a huge Frida fan but I am not, I appreciate her work as an Artist and know that her work has inspired me to find my own style.”

We currently live in a world in need with more people feeling alone or having the sense of unimportance. Paul believes that if the world could have more “comfort” that that would be the first step to a better place to live in. His piece “Decay” was inspired by his nieces in Junior High that put themselves down not realizing their potential or worth.  Not only has he heard this by them but many female friends of his including his sisters.  His piece is a story of how we as humans can cause our own deterioration in the way we view ourselves not understanding sometimes how good we actually are.

“It’s easy for us not to say how we feel and just bottle it in, but just like anything bad it will just rot from the inside if it’s not removed. I feel art has always been an amazing outlet for those who don’t know how to say what they want. With Music, Performing Arts like Dance, Poetry, pen to paper or paints. Sometimes we see something someone has created and we get it right away because they’ve managed to create what our words could not say.

Art is an expression and without it the world would be boring and hollow.  The years that Paul had not created left a void in his heart when his art is the heart of all things to come.  For example, as a child, being told not to get up and to just sit down and wait was a detriment for the world around you is wide open for exploration and adventure.

“Art is that freedom that we can express, people automatically think drawing when they hear the word Art, but when they realize there’s so much more to that meaning they realize that they can create too. My goal as an artist is to leave to the world what "I did”, what I wanted and I not caught up in the idea of making sure I didn’t offend someone or that I didn’t go too far. What I create is selfishly for me even though there are many people out there that will appreciate my work. I want to keep creating until I can’t, and until that time I want to keep on learning and sharpening my style and progress and evolve. Even if a handful of people will remember me because of my work when I’m gone, that would be amazing.”

While Paul Montelongo creates for himself, his passions besides art include the love for his family and faith.  Hw feels without them he wouldn’t be who he is today and he is truly blessed to have the support in his journey in life.

“I grew up in the church and even as a little boy I would go with Abuelita where she would sing while my Abuelito played it guitar. I didn’t know any Spanish at all, but the passion she had when she was up there singing was a beautiful thing to see. I lost her when I was in the 6th grade and I saw how our family that was always together slowly drift away. As my siblings and I got older we knew we didn’t want that to happen to us as it did with my aunts and uncles. Now with my own family I try to make efforts to always see my family both on my wife’s and mine. I am grateful and blessed in what God has given me.”

Paul is an artist, truly from all depths of his soul and he is blessed to have a deep connection to his faith and family.  Inspiring, kind and sharing, he has already left a mark in the hearts of others by being the heart of it all and producing beauty through what could be ugly scars. His layers of deterioration and what seems broken only exude his passion in healing through stories told between layers in his art.


Written By Skye Amber Sweet
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