Live, from Baby Tattooville

Martin Sanchez Chapel

When I was at Inman Connect, Brad Inman was asking questions of the audience and to the winner with the answers he liked the best, giving away Mark Frauenfelder’s “Rule the Web: How to Do Anything and Everything on the Internet—Better, Faster, Easier”. Frauenfelder’s an artist and one of the co-creators of BoingBoing. I met him briefly at a show he had at Roq la Rue Gallery in Seattle. Brad said he loves BoingBoing and admonished everyone who wasn’t a fan to become one immediately. For lovers of the internet, tech news, art and popular culture, it’s a regular read and getting something mentioned there is equivalent to having your new invention mentioned on engadget.

I’ve had several posts meet with their approval and get a link. One was a photo essay on artist Lisa Petrucci and another just a little link that documented collector Steve Bard. Yesterday, they mentioned this one on Riverside folk artist Martin Sanchez.

I met Martin through Hanan Levin of Grow-a-Brain. He knew I’d enjoy the naive folk artist-created environment, and arranged a lunch meeting there. Hanan and I were both so touched by Martin’s story, that we promised to help him if we could. Hanan is the Blog Father, to whom we all owe so much and, incidentally, the owner of The Great Team of “The Champion Company”, a real estate firm in Riverside. Hanan had visited Martin too and taken some great photos and posted them on Grow-a-Brain.

Though I took the photos in April, I waited until Baby Tattooville, taking place this weekend in Riverside, to post and spread the love, thinking that the timing would be much better, as the town would be crawling with artists and art afficianados.

Sanchez was the eighth child in a family with 16 children — 13 boys and three girls and he came to the United States in 1984. He struggled at first, selling oranges in East Los Angeles, working in factories and making extra money by selling tacos. He became a legal resident during the 1986 federal amnesty.

In 1992, Sanchez quit factory work and persuaded the owner of a Mexican seafood restaurant to let him sell tacos out of a corner of the establishment. Eventually, he raised enough money to buy the restaurant and the Spanish Colonial home next door where he lives with his family. (And, Marlow adds, becoming yet another person to successfully combine art with real estate!)

This is the first Baby Tattooville event and if successful, will probably happen again. It’s like Woodstock for low-brow art lovers. If you ever attend or have another reason to take the drive between LA and Palm Springs, then Martin Sanchez’s incredible art installation should be a definite stop on your itinerary.

Riverside California Folk Artist Martin Sanchez on Unusual Life.

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