Photo: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

Portrait of an Artist

by | Nov 30, 2016 | Alumni Profiles, Culture, Fall/Winter 2016-17

Art is a language, and it’s one anyone can learn to speak. That’s what Emilio Soltero, Ph.D. ’04, has set out to prove, teaching art to community college students in the Central Valley, underprivileged youth in the Sacramento area, and kids and adults at the Crocker Art Museum. “When you’re talking to someone you like, you stumble,” Soltero said. “As you get better and calmer, you can find a voice to speak whatever the situation. Art is the same way.” A fan of both comic books and fine art, Soltero aims to connect to both camps. “If I did fine art, the cartoon people would think I’m highfalutin,” he said. “But trying and doing different techniques has helped me.” Soltero was selected as a maestro de impacto (teacher with impact) by Univision in the spring, and lectured on figure drawing at San Diego’s Comic-Con International in July. He’s bridging gaps in other ways, too: This year an illustration he did depicting California’s immigrant and agricultural heritage, commissioned by Capital Public Radio (KXJZ-FM), was chosen by state Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de León to be given to the Dalai Lama during a visit to the state Capitol.