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Oliverio Balcells: Immigrating For Love

Updated: Oct 28


Oliverio was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. He is a multimedia artist whose practice includes painting, music, murals, mosaic art, films, and 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.” He got his bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from the University of Guadalajara and moved to Tempe, Arizona in the year 2000.


We are so appreciative Oliverio took the time to chat with us about his immigration story and his pursuit of art. Learn more about his story below.


Immigrating For Love

Oliverio was never very interested in migrating to the states until his long distance, on-and-off girlfriend proposed it to him. He shares with us his novela-esque love story that led to his stress-inducing immigration interview where he had to prove the authenticity of his relationship.


The Gift of Creativity

“Really the hardest thing was to believe in myself as an artist”

As a multimedia artist, Oliverio knows how to find inspiration in his surroundings. Growing up in Guadalajara he was exposed to music through his family and visual arts through pre-Hispanic art and the murals of Jose Clemente Orozco. Oliverio also discusses the stigma associated with pursuing art in his own family and how he rebelled against it.



Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



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