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Best Painter 

Paco Velez

Staff Pick

Thirty-something Velez gave Tucson an art attack last fall with his explosive paintings and installations in the Bajo La Frontera/Under the Border at MOCA. The visual cacophony of Ambos Nogales, the twin border towns where Velez grew up, crowded into his big cartoon canvases and spilled into Mexican-style shrines. Giant bunnies, Minutemen, graffiti and monster teeth--painted, scratched and collaged onto canvas--mirrored what Velez calls the visual "overload" of the border. Skewering the deadly politics of the international line, Velez re-created the hated border wall, and honored the dead of the nearby deserts by illuminating it with candles.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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