Oliverio Balcells is a multimedia artist whose practice includes painting, music, murals, mosaic art, films, photography, being a teaching artist and a scholar of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures.
“I’m interested in social themes like history, culture and symbolism. I’m inspired by color, nature and music. The essence of my artwork expresses the energy and personal passion that is reflected in a song, a painting or a public art project.”
Oliverio has been selected in 2012, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021 by the City of Tempe for different Public Art Programs. Recently he was awarded with the Maryanne Corder grant to work with the Alegre community for a mosaic art standpipe. In 2020 he finished the Project PEACE with a mural design for the basketball courts at Escalante Park. In 2019 he completed a standpipe in Downtown Tempe made with the tile mosaic technique. In 2016 for the In Flux Cycle 6 he painted a mural on Apache Blvd. For the 2012 Public Art Program he painted a utility box on Mill Avenue; the image was then made into a library card for the Tempe Public Library.
In 2020 Oliverio was selected as an artist for various public art programs in the Valley. The City of Glendale chose him to design and paint a bench in downtown for the project “Take a Seat”. For the City of Goodyear in celebration of their 75th anniversary he was asked to paint a large 3-D heart sculpture at Wildflower South Park for “The Heart of Goodyear Project”. The City of Chandler awarded him a commission to design, with a student from ICAN, an artwork that was installed at a Cabinet Control box in Downtown. In 2017 he was a selected artist for Valley Metro’s public art for the Northwest extension of the light rail with a design that will be made as mosaic art on the risers’ stairs for one of the stations.
Oliverio presented a multimedia performance at Pueblo Grande Museum, entitled “The Unknown Symbols” with original music and film recorded in the Valley of the Sun. The Arizona Commission on the Arts granted him awards to work as an artist-in-residence with South Mountain High School, Chandler Gilbert Community College and Mercury Mine Elementary School in the Paradise Valley School District. He has also worked with Kyrene School District’s Kyrene del Norte elementary school in creating seven murals with students from Kindergarten to 5th grade that were painted in the school hallways. He has done several workshops for CALA’s Community Arts Program, Childsplay, Free Arts of Arizona, Xico Inc, Cultural Coalition, Calaca Cultural Center, City of Chandler’s Vision Gallery, and the Heard Museum. He is constantly composing music, taking photographs, making field recordings, exhibiting new paintings and traveling for inspiration.
His work has been featured as a cover for a book from the author Ruth Gomber-Munoz, Ph.D., titled Labor and Legality: An Ethnography of a Mexican Immigrant Worker, published by the Oxford University Press, Inc. in New York City.
Oliverio Balcells received his Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from the Univa University in Guadalajara, Mexico.
He currently lives and works in Tempe, Arizona, USA with his wife and two children. His native language is Spanish and English is his second language.
AWARDS AND GRANTS
• Selected artist for Maryanne Corder Neighborhood Public Art Grant, Tempe Arizona 2021.
• Selected artist for Heart of Goodyear Public Art for 75th Anniversary, Goodyear Arizona 2020.
• Selected artist for City of Chandler Public Art for Control Cabinets, Chandler Arizona 2020.
• Selected artist for PEACE Project Public Art for Tempe Leadership Class, Tempe Arizona 2020.
• Selected artist for Take a Seat Public Art Program for the City of Glendale Arizona 2020.
• Selected artist for the Public Art Program for the City of Tempe Arizona 2019.
• Selected artist for Valley Metro’s public art for the Northwest extension of the light rail, Phoenix AZ 2017
• Selected artist for In Flux Cycle 6 for the City of Tempe Arizona 2016.
• Awarded a grant from Arizona Commission on the Arts, Artist in Residence Mercury Mine School 2014.
• Selected artist for the 2012 Public Art Program for the City of Tempe Arizona 2012.
• First Place at the Arte Latino en la Ciudad, Phoenix Arizona 2008.
• Best Artist in the 7th Plastic Arts Exhibit of Cancun, traveling exhibit throughout Mexico
for the year 2000, sponsored by the state of Quintana Roo and Casa de la Cultura.
Cancun, Mexico, 1999.
• Balance, Harmony & Duality, Xico Inc Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona 2022.
• XSCAPE: Landscapes, Cityscapes and Mindscapes, Found Re Contemporary, Phoenix, Arizona 2021.
• Visual Stories of Place Inspired by Huichol World View Part I, ASU West, Phoenix, Arizona 2019.
• Visual Stories of Place Inspired by Huichol World View Part II, Unexpected, Phoenix, Arizona 2019.
• Three Series, ASU Gammage, Tempe Arizona 2019.
• There and Back, Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler Arizona 2018.
• ASU West Campus Fletcher Library, Phoenix, Arizona 2017.
• VI Bienal Internacional Indigena, Piura Peru 2016.
• Latino/a Americans: 500 Years of History, Idaho State University 2016.
• Promega Art Showcase, Madison, Wisconsin 2014.
• La Cocina, Museo de las Americas, Denver, Colorado 2013.
• Objects d’Art, Herberger Theater and Center, Phoenix 2012.
• The New Wave of Mexican Contemporary Art, Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center 2011.
• The Sacred &The Living, Herberger Art Gallery at University Club, Phoenix, Arizona 2010.
• Visiones of 40 Arizona Latino Artists, Galeria 147, Arizona Latino Arts& Cultural Center 2009.
• Conexiones, Contemporary Works by Mexican Artists, Mesa Arts Center. Mesa, Arizona, 2009.
• Migration: Immigration, Giving Honor to Cultures and Communities, ASU Phoenix, Arizona, 2009.
• Political Persona at ASU Kerr Cultural Center, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2009.
• Dia de Muertos, Arizona MuseumforYouth, Mesa, Arizona, 2008.
• La Cultura Cura at ASU West, Glendale, Arizona, 2008.
• Arte Latino XII en la Ciudad, Phoenix, Arizona, 2008.
• First International Congress of the Toltec Culture, Tula Hidalgo Mexico, 2007.
• Arte Caliente at Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler Arizona, 2004.
• The Mending Wall Exhibit at ASU West, Glendale Arizona, 2004.
• Arizona Room, Mesa Arts Center, Arizona, 2003.
• Arte Latino VII en la Ciudad, Phoenix, Arizona, 2002.
• Casa de la Cultura de Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, 1999.
• Ferrocarril Gallery, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1998.
• Ajolote Gallery of Contemporary Art, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1997.
• La Escalera Gallery, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1995.
• On Line Gallery. Tucson, Arizona, 1994.
• The Cultural Traveler – Multimedia Performance & Exhibit, Alwun House, Phoenix, Arizona 2020.
• The Unknown Symbols – Multimedia Performance, Pueblo Grande Museum, Phoenix, Arizona 2017.
• Stories in Color, Arizona State University West, Glendale, Arizona 2017.
• Spectacular Tones in the Essence of All, Herberger Gallery, Phoenix Arizona 2017.
• The Next Level, 6th Ave Gallery, Phoenix Arizona 2013.
• Cultural Arts Coalition Board Member, 2020