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b. 1993

 

Hector Acuna is a professional artist and educator living in Grafton, Wisconsin. He studied at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015 before completing his Master of Fine Arts from Michigan State University in 2020. Hector has taught art classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, and color/design for private lessons, group workshops, and at the university level. Alongside teaching opportunities, he's been invited as a juror and award judge for various exhibitions and events.

Hector's prolific art practice functions symbiotically between his studio and en plein air. He has found a necessary balance between each setting and continues to explore themes of place, architecture, ethnic/cultural identity, and the human body. Hector's approach outdoors is very organic, allowing shapes, colors, and textures of time in natural and human-made environments to inspire his paintings. Plein air painting is a way of documenting the present and is Hector's favorite way to find meaningful connections to the world around him, people who inhabit it, and the stories they share. At his studio easel, Hector's images drift towards surreal and imaginative compositions pulling visual references from life, photography, collage, and handmade props. These paintings unfold an ongoing personal mythology and are threaded by an uncanny, humorous, and mysterious visual language. Hector's pool of art influences has always been vast and varied. He recalls a portrait sketch of his sister, as a newborn, drawn by their mother piqued his interest in drawing at an early age. Since then he's found inspiration and truth in paintings by artists like Edward Hopper, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Giorgio de Chirico, Frida Kahlo, the Bay Figurative Artists, Alberto Giacometti, Nicole Eisenman, and Wisconsin's Magic Realists to name a few.

 

Hector works primarily in oil paint but he also rotates through gouache, casein, and handmade egg tempera. Each medium provides unique characteristics and challenges on the look and feel of his approach while connecting him to the rich histories of representational painting. For the majority of Hector's paintings, he constructs each one by hand from the canvas and paper-mounted panels to the hand polished frames. He takes pride in keeping a studious approach with relentless attention to the details of his craft which allows the nuances of his paintings to align with his creative vision and intent.  

 

Hector has had small group and solo exhibitions at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Scarabocchio Art Museum, Saugatuck Center for the Arts, and Noel Fine Arts Center. His work has also been juried into exhibitions at the Wisconsin Museum of Art, Site:Brooklyn Gallery, Trout Museum of Art, Baton Rouge Gallery, South Haven Center for the Arts, and Wheaton College. Hector has received various awards and grants including the Hipstamatic Entrepreneurship Award. He is honored to have received commissions to create custom paintings and drawings for clients including album art for Emmitt James and the band Soul Low. Hector has been an active participant in various art organizations since 2013, currently he serves as a volunteer committee member in the Cedarburg Artists Guild. Hector's paintings are held in public and private collections and have received numerous awards including Best of Show at the 2022 Door County Plein Air Festival, Best New Artist at the 2023 Bath County Plein Air Festival, and 2nd Place at the 2023 Plein Air Texas event. At the 2023 Plein Air Convention & Expo Hector was named the M. Stephen Doherty Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Plein Air Magazine published an article titled "Age of Exploration" on his work and journey in plein air painting in the 2023 Oct/Nov issue. At PACE24, Hector will be one of eighty invited faculty plein air artists teaching during the convention in Cherokee, North Carolina. Hector's work is available for purchase on his website and at Pink Llama Gallery in Cedarburg, WI, Levee Contemporary in Princeton, WI, Shaun Horne Gallery in Crested Butte, CO, Warm Springs Gallery in Virginia, and Kim Storage Gallery in Milwaukee, WI.

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Select CV

 

Education

2020     Master of Fine Arts, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

2015      Bachelor of Fine Arts, 2D Emphasis, Psychology Minor, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 

Professional Employment

2022-2023    Lecturer/Assistant Professor, ArtS 3310 (remotely), University of Minnesota Morris, Three Semesters

Professional Activities and Community Involvement

2024     Juror and Awards Judge, Alive in the Arts 29th Annual Juried Exhibition, Plymouth Center for the Arts, Plymouth, WI

             Faculty Artist, Plein Air Convention & Expo, Cherokee, NC, Invited Field Artist

             Instructor, Plein Air Painting and Studio Workshops, Peninsula School of Art, Fish Creek, WI

             Instructor, Plein Air Painting and Studio Workshop and Lecture, Bluff Strokes, Dubuque, IA

             Instructor, Plein Air Painting and Studio Workshop, Pacific NorthWest Art School, Coupeville, WA

             Instructor, Plein Air Painting and Studio Workshop, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN

             Judge Coordinator, Paint Cedarburg Committee, Cedarburg Artist Guild

2023     Instructor, Egg Tempera Workshop, Richeson Gallery & School of Art, Kimberly, WI

             Instructor, Drawing Workshop, Ampersand Supply & Co, November, Sheboygan, WI

             Instructor, Open Water Plein Air Workshop, September, Stevens Point, WI 

             Instructor, Plein Air Workshop, Peninsula School of Art, Fish Creek, WI

             Invited Artist, Plein Air Demo, September, Bath County Plein Air Festival, Warm Springs, VA

             Invited Artist, Plein Air Demo, July, Rahr-West Art Museum, Manitowoc, WI

             Invited Artist, Emerging Artist Program, Midsummer Festival of the Arts, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI

             Judge, Paint Cedarburg Plein Air Event, Cedarburg Cultural Center, June, Cedarburg, WI

             Judge Coordinator, Paint Cedarburg Committee, Cedarburg Artists Guild

             Instructor, Casein Mini Painting Workshop, Richeson Gallery & School of Art, Kimberly, WI

             Judge, Small Works Exhibition, Richeson Gallery & School of Art , Kimberly, WI

             Instructor, Drawing Workshop, Cedarburg Cutural Center, February, Cedarburg, WI

2022      Instructor, Mastering the Value Scale Workshop, Cedarburg, Cultural Center, 6 Hour Lesson

2021      Co Chair, Paint Cedarburg Plein Air Festival Committee, Cedarburg Artist Guild

2020     Instructor, Adult Portrait Painting Workshop, Saugatuck Center for the Arts, MI, 3 Hour Lesson

             Lecturer and Visiting Artist, Self-Portrait Puppet Project, Fennville Middle and High School, 

             Holland Middle School, Paw Paw High School, Black River Middle School, 300+ students, organized through               

             Saugatuck Center for the Arts, MI

2019      Lecturer, Artistic Practice and Teaching, STA 893 MFA Professional Seminar, MSU

             Lecturer, HA 254 Latin American Art, Professor Laura Smith, MSU

             Lecturer, TE 430 Teacher Education, Professor Karenanna Creps, MSU

             Graduate Representative, Critical Race Studies Artist-In-Residence Search Committee, MSU

2018      Juror, 2019-2020 Open Call, Lansing Art Gallery, Lansing, MI

 

Awards and Fellowships

2024     First Place, Lighthouse Plein Air Festival, Lighthouse Art Center, Tequesta, FL, Judge Michele Usibelli

2023     M. Stephen Doherty Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Plein Air Magazine, Presented at PACE23

             Second Place, Plein Air Texas, San Angelo, TX, Judge Michael Grauer 

             Best New Artist, Bath County Plein Air Festival, Warm Springs Gallery, Judge Randy Sexton

             Honorable Mention, Door County Plein Air Festival, Peninsula School of Art, Fish Creek, WI, Judge Lori Putnam

             First Place, Main Event Category, Paint the Point, Mineral Point, Judges Marc Anderson, Christopher Reno, Richard Moninski

             First Place, Nocturne Category, Paint the Point, Mineral Point, Judges same as main event

             Second Place, Postcard Category, Paint the Point, Mineral Point, Judges same as main event

             Honorable Mention, Quick Paint Category, Paint the Point, Mineral Point, Judges same as main event

2022     Best of Show, Door County Plein Air Festival, Peninsula School of Art, Fish Creek WI, Judge Don Demers 

             First Place "Outside of the Box", Bluff Strokes Paint Out, Dubuque, IA Judge Lorin Willey

             Best Render the Vendor Award, Walworth County Fair Plein Air Event, Elkhorn, WI

             First Place, Quick Paint, Paint the Point, Mineral Point, WI

             First Place, Postcard Event, Paint the Point, Mineral Point, WI

             Grand Champion, WI State Fair Quick Paint, Plein Air Festival State Fair, West Allis, WI

             2nd Place, Main Event Jefferson Plein Air Festival, Judges Lori Beringer, Bethann Moran-Handzlik

             First Place, Quick Paint Jefferson Plein Air Festival, Jefferson, WI, Judges same as main event

             Best of Show Cedarburg Art Museum Purchase Award, Paint Cedarburg Plein Air Event, Judges Tom Kubala, Andy Fletcher, James Hempel

2021      Sunshine Award, Paint the Towns En Plein Air, Plymouth, WI, Judge James P. Neilson

             First Place, Paint the Town Barrington Plein Air Festival, Barrington, IL, Judge Nancie King Mertz

             Award of Excellence, Between the Bluffs Plein Air Festival, La Crosse, WI, Judge Ben Bauer

             Third Place, Between the Bluffs Plein Air Quick Paint, La Crosse, WI, Judge Jon Erickson

             Grand Champion, WI State Fair Plein Air Festival, West Allis, WI

             Grand Champion, WI State Fair Quick Paint, Plein Air Festival State Fair, West Allis, WI

             Best of Show, Port Wing Plein Air Festival, Port Wing, WI

             Honorable Mention, Paint Cedarburg, Cedarburg, WI, Judge Lori Beringer, Antwan Ramar, Paul Bergquist

2020     2nd Place, Best Use of Medium, November Self Portrait Challenge, New Masters Academy

2019      Dissertation Completion Fellowship, College of Arts and Letters, MSU

             Research/Professional Development Fellowship, Department of Art, Art History, and Design, MSU

2018      Summer Support Fellowship, Department of Art, Art History, and Design, MSU 

             2nd Place, Teenage Merit, Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition, Lansing Art Gallery, Lansing, MI

             Research/Professional Development Fellowship, Department of Art, Art History, and Design, MSU

2016      Excellence Award, Marshfield Art Fair, New Visions Gallery

2015      2D BFA Arts Bash Scholarship, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

             Hipstamatic Entrepreneurship Award, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point 

             First Place, Portrait of the Poet: Emmitt James, Gamblin Torrit Grey Competition

2014      Best of Show, Self Portrait, UWSP Student Juried Show

             James R. Hill Award, Model With Hoop, UWSP Student Juried Show

             Chancellor’s Citation for Artistic Achievement, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

             Juror's Choice, The Passing of Greed, Visions XVI Juried Art Show

             Honorable Mention,  Restoration 1A, Visions XVI Juried Art Show

             Best of Show, The Passing of Greed, CGSAC Student Juried Show at UWSP

             COFAC Dedication Scholarship, UWSP

 

Solo and Small Group Exhibitions 

2024     Expressions of Place: Painting en Plein Air, Curated Small Group Exhibition, Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, WI

             Indiana Green Invitational, Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, Fon du Lac, WI, Curator Frank Juarez

             Evolving Site, Curated Small Group Exhibition, Ruth Foster Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Curator Ned Gannon

2022     Indiana Green Invitational, Levee Contemporary, Princeton, WI Curators Frank Juarez and Samantha Timm

2021      Shoulder to Shoulder, Solo Exhibition, Richeson Gallery, Kimberly, WI

2020     The Barn, Master of Fine Arts Thesis Group Exhibition, Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI

             Alien Nation, Solo Exhibition, Corridor Gallery, Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck, MI           

2018      Súper Duper, Solo Exhibition, Kresge Art Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

             Hector Acuna, Solo Exhibition, Re:Vision Gallery, Kenosha, WI

2017      The Desert and the Farm, Solo Exhibition, University of Wisconsin Marshfield/Wood County, Marshfield, WI

2014      A Portrait Of Place-Stevens Point, WI, Scarabocchio Art Museum, Stevens Point, WI

           

Group Exhibitions 

2024     30x30x30 Exhibition, Juried Exhibition, Var Gallery, Milwaukee, WI, Jurors Jeffrey Morin, Josh Hintz, CK Ledesma

2023     TMA Contemporary, Juried Exhibition, Trout Museum of Art, Appleton, WI, Jurors Frank Juarez, Riley Niemack, Christina Turner

             Art of Water VII, Juried Exhibition, James May Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

2022     Annual Juried Exhibition, Cedarburg Artist Guild, Cedarburg Cultural Center, Jurors Debra Brehmer, Richard Hartman

             TMA Contemporary, Juried Exhibition, Trout Museum of Art, Appleton, WI, Jurors Samantha Timm, Mutòpe Johnson, Christina Turner

             Art of Water VI, Online Juried Exhibition, James May Gallery 

             Wisconsin Artist Biennial, Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, WI Jurors Dan Gun, Phyllis McGibbon, John Salminen

             Artlink Regional Juried Exhibition, Artlink Contemporary Art, Fort Wayne, IN, Juror Kim Rae Taylor

             The Uncanny, Online Juried Exhibition, The Chateau Gallery, Louisville, KY

2021      Faces and Places, Online Juried Exhibition, Dodomu Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

             Flat Rate Contemporary 11, Artist-Juried Flat File Exhibition

             Annual Winter Juried Show, Anderson Art Center, Kenosha, WI Juror William Doug Singsen

             Teeny, Tiny, BOLD, Rountree Gallery, Platteville, WI Juror Frank Juarez Artdose Magazine

             Artdose Magazine Exhibition, Honey and Ace, Sheboygan, WI, Juror Frank Juarez Artdose Magazine

             Richeson75 Figure & Portrait, Richeson Gallery, Kimberly, WI, Group Jury

             The Skin I’m In, South Haven Center for the Arts, South Haven, MI, Juror Donna Jackson

             One Square Mile, Cedarburg Art Museum, Cedarburg, WI, Juror Evelyn Patricia Terry

2020     Surreal Salon 12, Baton Rouge Gallery, Baton Rouge, LA, Juror Dan Quintana

             Drawing, Site:Brooklyn Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Juror Olga Valle Tetkowski 

2019      15th Annual Small Works Show, 440 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Juror John Gagné

             Brush Coat Cover, 2019 Wheaton Biennial, Wheaton College, Norton, MA, Juror Cade Tompkins

2017      New Works For A Live Audience, Group Exhibition, Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI

2016      Phantom Gallery Party, Group Invitational Exhibition, Create Portage County, Stevens Point, WI

             The Art of Landscape, Invitational Show, Smith Scarabocchio Art Museum, Stevens Point, WI 

2014      Visions XVI, Juried Art Exhibition, Riverfront Arts Center, Juror Susan Morrison

Residencies

2024     Artservancy, Artist in Residence, Gallery 224, Juried, Port Washington, WI, Partnered with Lake Michigan Bird Observatory

2022     Cedarburg Cultural Center, Artist in Residence, Cedarburg, WI February

2020     Growing Young Artists Program, Saugatuck MI, Teaching Artist in Residence, July

             Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck MI, Low Residency January - February

2018      Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT, August Session

Public Collections

Cedarburg Art Museum, Cedarburg, WI

Public Art

2021      Life in Lansing, Mural, Lansing Art Path, Juried by Lansing Art Gallery

2019      Collaborative Mural, MLK and Pasadena St, Flint Public Art Project, Flint, MI

             Robin, Mural, Lansing Art Path, Juried by Lansing Art Gallery, 

             (Sponsored by Dan and Bonnie Warmels, located under Cedar St and Elm St. Lansing, Michigan

             Life is a Groovy Opportunity, Collaborative Mural, East Lansing, MI 

Podcasts

2024     Vining Gallery Podcast with Justin Vining, https://www.vininggallery.com/podcast/43s4uhdi3cpcg9yvvzqnfh8ok1yeis

2022     Reasonably Fine Art Talk with Charlie Hunter, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKelVxDcvJ8&t=1151s 

 

Press/Features

2024

This Helped My Art Journey, Artist Profile, Outdoor Painter.com, Plein Air Today, https://www.outdoorpainter.com/this-helped-my-art-journey/

2023

Age of Exploration Feature Article, Plein AIr Magazine, October/November issue, written by Bob Bahr

2022

Artists to Watch feature, Plein Air Magazine, October/November issue

Cover Artist and "View from the Studio" Feature, Artdose Magazine, Vol 32, Winter 2022 https://artdosemagazine.com/ 

2021

Artists ‘Paint the Town’ of Barrington in open air art competition, Pioneer Press Staff, October 2021

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/barrington/ct-bcr-plein-air-paint-town-competition-tl-1014-20211012-z2bm2rwgrzhrpc4gm7f2advkby-story.html 

Hector Acuna Leaves Mark on City with Mural - Lansing ArtPath Profiles, June 4th 2021, Sophia Saliby, 

https://www.wkar.org/arts-culture/2021-06-04/hector-acuna-leaves-mark-on-city-with-mural-lansing-artpath-profiles 

2020

SCA Live Community Conversation with Hector Acuna, Podcast Interview, Saugatuck Center 

for the Arts, https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=309123813775350

EXAMINING A SENSE OF BELONGING BETWEEN THE FIGURE AND GROUND, Pikchur Magazine 

https://www.pikchurmag.com/post/examining-a-sense-of-belonging-between-the-figure-and-ground-artist-hector-acuna

Oh, the Humanity, Marla R. Miller, Revue Magazine, January 28, 2020.

https://revuewm.com/arts/visual-arts/item/4715-oh-the-humanity

2019

Lean In and Stand Back, Lawrence Cosentino, City Pulse, March 7, 2019. 

http://lansingcitypulse.com/stories/lean-in-and-stand-back,59

2018

Artist Hector Acuna displaying works at Re:Vision Gallery Kenosha, Kenosha News, June 7, 2018. 

https://www.kenoshanews.com/get_out/arts/artist-hector-acuna-displaying-works-at-re-vision-galler

y-in/article_c84c661b-99ed-5fb7-8da2-078b2051b13e.html

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