During a recent philanthropic effort, we came across the grand artistic murals and work of artist Levi Ponce. Recently, MSN named him as one of the “Top 10 Latinos to Watch” in the United States. He masterfully uses the JWR Artist’s Acrylics and Theme Paint lines from our Modern Masters products collection and we are so excited to showcase his artistry for you as well as his efforts to beautify and inspire communities.
Born in Los Angeles to a sign painter and seamstress, Levi has been studying arts and crafts since childhood. Initial influences include his father, urban artists, and Renaissance painters. He began painting with his father, Hector Ponce, in the 1990’s and since then has worked in a variety of creative fields including visual effects, film miniatures, and restoration. As a visual artist, he has exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Merida and the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum.
After graduating from California State University, Northridge, Levi began painting and organizing the creation of murals along Van Nuys Blvd in his childhood neighborhood of Pacoima. His murals are community projects that bring together artists, business owners, and local youth. Together they transform defaced city walls into works of art for both locals and visitors to enjoy. His efforts, along with that of other artists, have led to the re-discovery of the area now known as Mural Mile. Levi continues to paint community murals while running a full-time crew of artists that handle commercial work across the country.
Einstein mural entitled “Logic and Creativity” at the Magnolia Science Academy.
What is your most memorable, challenging or rewarding project?
My most memorable and challenging project was the North Hollywood mural. It was commissioned by the NoHo Neighborhood Council and Councilman Paul Krekorian of CD2. The community had a lot of energy and we had hundreds of volunteers for three weekends in a row. I organized the order, delivery and distribution of supplies and once on site, good times! After the volunteers, I finished the mural with the help of my crew and we were able to finish it in 12 workdays.
What are some of your favorite Modern Masters finishes?
When working in the studio for the film industry we often need metallic finishes. Nothing beats the Modern Masters Metallic Paint Collection. After buffing, the finish is the best you can get with paint. Fast and relatively cheap, it’s the way to go!
Mosaic Mural of Dutch painter Rembrandt at Continental Art Supplies.
Pantheism Meets Art mural in Venice, California.
What is the first work of art you remember creating?
The first work of art I remember creating was in pre-school. The teacher said that my drawings were far more detailed than the rest of the class. My stick figures had poses and hair! It’s been fun ever since.
Many of Levi’s murals have become city landmarks and have been featured on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times, LA Daily News, Fox 11’s Good Day LA, CNN Latino, BBC Mundo, Univision, Telemundo, the Huffington Post, and various other publications.
Exterior mural by Levi in the Foothill area of California. Several organizations and leaders came together to overhaul the landscaping at the LAPD’s Foothill Police Station. Modern Masters donated the Theme Paint for this great community cause.
Walking tours of the Mural Mile (with over 30 art works) are offered through the Museum of the San Fernando Valley and The Public Art Initiative. As he creates his murals, Levi is well-known for getting the community involved, encouraging creativity and helping fellow artists. “I allow everyone to participate — children walking by, delinquent kids, adults, the homeless,” Ponce says. “Everybody comes together to make this happen and I think that’s my biggest accomplishment, being able to rally the troops.” As for the products for these murals, Levi shares, “I use Modern Masters. No tints. No glazing. Just layering of acrylic paints.” Amazing! Click on over to the Levi Ponce website and Facebook page to see more of his works — and if you’ve enjoyed his artistry and philosophy, be sure to share and pin his story!