An artist with many styles. An independent curator embracing creative diversity. A Mexico-born, Long Beach-bred Scorpion, Efren Luna is making moves all over this city and his heavy involvement in the arts is quite respectful.
Efren credits much of his talent to his professors at both Long Beach City College and Long Beach State and says he would have never finished college if it wasn’t for their inspiration and motivation. However, he developed his passion for curating all on his own, once realizing that he collection of art was so diverse, it was going to be difficult to pitch to a gallery.
Here is a Q&A with a little more insight to what Efren is all about, where he started and what he is doing currently.
Q. Tell me about where you were born, grew up?
A. I was born in Mexico and was brought to LB at as a kid. I was raised in LBC. I am a product of the LBC education system. I attended school here from grade school, middle school, high school, LBCC & CSULB! Long Beach is home to me and is the reason I now concentrate most of my projects here.
Q. How long have you been involved with art?
A. Wow! I guess most of my life but always had a thing for drawing. As a kid I really couldn’t draw but learned as my interest for it grew. I would say that professionally, since I took college classed. I have an AA degree from LBCC in Studio Art (2003) and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from CSULB in Drawing and Painting (2007). I started showing my artworks in college at student shows and display-cases at art departments.
Q. Do you remember the first piece of art you were proud of?
A. Yes I do, kind of. It’s been a while. I actually remember a painting I did in my art class in high school. It was of two, very colorful, South American birds! That’s when I remember being inspired to become an artist and my teacher seemed like she loved her job and was an artist herself.
Q. Did anyone in particular get you involved with art?
A. No. Not anyone in particular. I do have to credit my cousin and some of my teachers in school for inspiring me to continue college. But most of my inspiration to pursue my art career was from all my college professors. They are professional artists and I always admired them! I looked up to them and it was reassuring that I had picked the right path!
Q. What was your first time organizing or curating an event?
A. Back in 2008 I had been out of college for about a year and had not shown my own work, since my styles vary, it was hard for anyone in galleries to take me serious, so I thought. Then in clicked, I should have a show and invite others to join me for a big group show with art and live music and DJ’s. The idea grew and I found an underground space in Los Angeles. It was a great success and inspired and set me in motion to continue doing shows. So after that show I had many other successful shows in Hollywood, Whittier, and Los Angeles. In the art world the news moves quickly so I took the opportunity to take on the LB art and music scene.
Q. What do you like about being a curator?
A. I love being a curator because it’s a different thing then being an artist. There are so many things that go behind the scenes that I as an artist wouldn’t have imagined. It gives me insight into the world of art, access to people and the opportunity to encourage people and artists. I take the role serious and my approach is to do the best every time. It’s a lot of work but worth it to make a difference in people’s lives!
Q. Tell me about the events/galleries you are associated with?
A. I am an independent artist and curator. Though I work with many other groups at times and I’m part of other artists groups too. As an independent curator I have the freedom to work in any environment from coffee shops, galleries, festivals, nightclubs, anything any space I can use I will use and make something happen!
I have started my own organization AMC (Art, Music & Culture) www.efrenluna.webs.com through which I list what my intentions and purposes are and list all my projects and events. I now have an official gallery space for AMC. I curate the space, which is part of Phantom Galleries empty retail spaces program and sponsored by the RDA in LB.
The official Gallery is at:
344 E. 3RD ST
Long Beach CA 90802
AMC Gallery is Part of:
Here are some festivals in LB I am affiliated with:
Here are some art groups I am affiliated with:
Phantom Galleries LA LB
Artists as Art
Q. Any other events to highlight?
It’s an official name now and I love it! It basically takes place the second Saturday of each month. I am proud to say AMC Gallery is part of and has a new show for every art walk! The naming of this art walk mainly highlights LB and the downtown area. Since the Long Beach downtown area is a bit scattered, on a map it would look like a word puzzle, the idea of this name is to embrace all the art spaces and galleries in downtown LB which are many. The art spaces go from the Pike, 3rd & Elm, Linden & Broadway, Pine, Linden &4th, the museums and much more!
Q. What do you like about the city and people of Long Beach?
A. I love the school system that fosters the arts! I love the diversity of people, the art culture and music culture. The museums and the nightlife! You can find authenticity in many cultures.
Q. What changes do you hope to see in the art community in the near future?
A. In regards to the arts in LB, as we speak, I think many changes are happening for the better. LB has become a grassroots grounds for innovative and creative people. The LB Downtown Art Walk is going through an expansion process that will highlight LB even more as an arts and cultural destination!
Q. Any other comments?
A. Thank you very much for your interview and for what you do for the LBC! I love Long Beach! I am Long Beach!
"Urban Structure I" Currently at AMC Gallery
"Urban Structure II" Currently at AMC Gallery