Arnulfo Gonzalez is a Mexican immigrant who lives in Los Angeles. He wants to be an artist. He earned a degree in art from East Los Angeles College and attends drawing classes with his wife whenever he can. But art is not something that will support a family of four. So after trying out a number of jobs, he found that becoming a short-haul trucker on the streets and freeways of southern California suited him best.
Then one day, when he was cleaning the grease and grime off the back of his white truck, he realized he was driving around town with a ready supply of canvas and paint. Instead of cleaning the dirt off the back of his truck, he moved it around, found various shades of gray to black, and a spray cleaner to get down to the white of his truck. Slowly, as he applied his talent to this new medium, the outline of the face of a woman emerged. Gonzalez had found a new art form. Dirty truck art. His wife says he has always wanted his work to be seen by as many people as possible. Now it is. He’s a traveling gallery.
Each new piece becomes more and more detailed as he learns how to work with his new miry medium. Grime is like ink that never runs dry. “It just gathers and gathers and gathers and never ends,” he says. Now he creates a new greasy, grimy mural every two weeks on the back of his truck, and his unsuspecting audience is waiting to pull up behind him as soon as he hits the streets.
As he’s driving, Gonzalez is bringing people pleasure, and dreaming up his next work of art. He sketches it out on paper and then works on it as the truck sits in its dock or while waiting for his next load. After a two-week showing, he washes the back of his truck off, and covers it with cooking spray to capture as much muck as possible over the next two days when he will create his next masterpiece.
His tools are brushes, cotton swabs, and Clorox wipes; his paint is dirt and grime, axel grease, even soot from the tailpipe; and of course, his canvas is the back of his truck, rocking and rolling around the streets of the city.
Arnulfo Gonzalez is a true artist. He receives no notoriety or money for his work (although an article on the front page of the Los Angeles Times today may get him some of the former). His satisfaction is the fact that he gets to do his passion and share it with the world. What more is there for an artist?
Life gave him a dirty truck; he made art. What has life given you? God wants to turn even the muck of it into a thing of beauty if you’ll let Him.