For Samuel Dominguez, a local artist, things seem to be looking up.
In 2009, Dominguez had to drop out of the Academy of Art University. While he met many different artists and learned a lot during his time there, he said, the tuition was more than he could afford.
But, over the past few years, the 30-year-old said his career prospects are finally starting to materialize.
Dominguez did his first commissioned mural for Visitacion Valley Middle School in 2017, then returned for a second mural in 2018.
Last June, Dominguez found a gig painting a mural through his girlfriend, Veronica.
“She knew a friend who worked at Sutter Health, and they were in the middle of getting a big art project together,” Dominguez said.
Veronica told her friend to throw Dominguez’s name into the pool of possible artists, and they chose him and his two friends soon after.
“That mural actually brought a lot of good feedback and opened up a lot of new doors,” Dominguez said, adding that it was his largest mural so far.
In December, Dominguez was invited to exhibit his work at the Voss Gallery, at 24th and Bartlett streets — his first exhibition at a professional gallery.
“I’ve done a lot of smaller shows, little bars and stuff like that, but for a legit gallery, this is the first,” Dominguez said.
On Thursday, Dominguez was outside of Voss Gallery working on a painting that would be shown in his second exhibition, beginning Friday.
“I wanted it to get people ready for better days of summer and spring, nice warm colors. It just seemed perfect for the days,” Dominguez said.
While his warm, colorful paintings are meant to celebrate the changing seasons, they are also meant to herald the city’s reopening and, a return to normalcy i. The paintings also seem to match the artist’s personal disposition.
“It’s mainly just supposed to look really nice and make you feel happy,” Dominguez said with a laugh.
In the near future, Dominguez hopes to set up an online store to display his art and sell more merchandise.
“Just trying to stay busy. There’s times where you kind of fall off and lose that spark,” Dominguez said. “So any chance I get, I try to hop on and just stay busy.”