The walls he’s painted have heard some things.
Your happy hour conversation at Bankers Hill’s Cucina Urbana, for instance, and the story you yelled to your dining companions as a plane roared over El Camino’s outdoor patio in Little Italy.
The artsy ambience at those hotspots is just a fraction of Juan Marante’s local footprint. As the artist Tocayo, he’s been orbiting the icons of border life and pop culture in his murals, drawings and paintings for years. The Cuban-born artist found a home he loved in San Diego more than a decade ago, at first making his living painting surfboards.
His daily commute to Orange County for his day job as a graphic designer for Fox Racing will soon shorten as he plans to move north with his new wife in a few months. But not before he puts together new paintings with longtime collaborator Exist1981 for a show at Little Italy’s Subtext Gallery next month. (The duo just completed artwork for the northerly Cucina Enoteca in Irvine, too.)
Between his day job, his commute and making art for that show this week, Tocayo shared with us what he wished happened with the Surfing Madonna, where he finds overlap between Cuban and Mexican cultures and what he does when he thinks of an idea in the car.