Northern California artist Bryan Valenzuela lives and works in Sacramento. For over a decade he's been aiming to perfect a unique drawing technique involving the atomization of the figure by carving out shape and light with handwritten text.  Though virtually unnoticeable from afar, once the viewer steps closer to each work they are engulfed in a barrage of words intermingled with other mixed media elements such as needle and thread, acrylic paint, and collage. Recent winner of both the Leff-Davis Fund for Visual Artists and a Best in Show prize at the 2015 California State Fair Fine Art Exhibition, Valenzuela was chosen by the City of Sacramento in 2016 to create a large scale public art piece for the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. When not working in the studio, he's composing and recording music, performing and touring with the band Exquisite Corps. 

photo by Nicholas Wray


Artist Statement

Building images with the written word is my primary visual focus. Paragraphs, sentences, phrases, and fragments are all the foundations of my work, acting as both form and content. As form, the text delineates figures and subjects layer upon layer as shading. Words varying in size and density from the minuscule and virtually unreadable, to large and bold are used in a manner similar to crosshatching. They carve out shadow and light with pen, ink, or acrylic marker in a handwritten drawing technique. As content, the language provides a sense of the inherent information and associations, metaphors and meanings embedded in everyday existence. The text is, mostly, a non-linear narrative script pre-written specifically for each piece and in dialogue with the visual element. The script is memorized to allow fluidity and consequently during the drawing process the nature of improvisation can take shape. Variations on a theme, even wild tangents can transform that same script into a springboard for stream of consciousness writing yet also provide a safety net that assures the continuity of work during dry times. Each of these methods are utilized as a meditation or a conversation with the image itself in both literal and figurative ways. 

A fascination with exactitude and precision demands an almost obsessive quality of rendering in detail. These meticulous moments are mixed with organic elements of chaotic color abstractions, gel transfers of the script in varying manipulated shapes that provide the juxtaposition of clarity and confusion, and sewn thread sections.  On a general level, the subject matter explores connections between perceived opposites (microcosm vs macrocosm, order vs chaos). The work aims to weave disparate elements into a whole. An idea alluded to in the use of sewn scraps of canvas as a foundation. On a specific level, it searches for symbols that meld together interests in psychological states, the natural world, physics, mathematics, and astronomy to name a few. All of them becoming, piece by piece, the building blocks of each image.


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CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO - Bachelor of Art in Art Studio - 2003



BLACK BOX CATHEDRAL (PUBLIC/CORPORATE PROJECT) - Verizon sponsored Artists & Engineers Collaboration - Sacramento, CA - 2019

COOL WATER (PRIVATE MURAL PROJECT) - CORE Commercial - Sacramento, CA - 2018



VERNACULAR - Spectra Vino Cabernet Sauvignon (Wine Label) - Paso Robles, CA - 2018

DAISY CHAIN (PRIVATE MURAL PROJECT) - Napa Railyards Arts District - Napa, CA - 2018

SHAPE SHIFT  (UTILITY BOX PROJECT) - Napa Railyards Arts DistrictNapa, CA - 2018

NEST (PRIVATE MURAL PROJECT) - Covered California commission- Golden Valley Health Center, Modesto, CA - 2017

THE OTHER ART FAIR NYC -Dell Studio Booth Artist-in-Residence Live Drawing- Brooklyn Expo Center, Brooklyn, NY - 2017

KUMBAYA MOMENT (PUBLIC MURAL PROJECT) - Wide Open Walls (Mural Festival), Sacramento, CA - 2017

MULTITUDES CONVERGE (PUBLIC ART PROJECT) - Golden One Center, City of Sacramento, & Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission - 2016

BEST IN SHOW - California State Fair Fine Art Competition - 2015

UTILITY BOX PUBLIC ART PROJECT - CADA and Sacramento Metropolitan Art Commission - 2014

LEFF-DAVIS GRANT - Emerging Artist Award Grant - 2014

AWARD OF MERIT - California State Fair Fine Art Competition - 2009

2ND PLACE, MIXED MEDIA - University Art Open Competition - 2008

AWARD OF MERIT - California State Fair Fine Art Competition - 2007




FORM LORE - Beatnik Studios, Sacramento CA - 2016

NEW WORK - Deep Gallery, Sacramento CA - 2009

WORD MADE FLESH II - Deep Gallery, Sacramento CA - 2008

WORD MADE FLESH - Momo Lounge, Sacramento CA - 2006

LANGUAGE OF FACES - Senses Salon and Gallery, Sacramento CA - 2006




EXPLORING THE NEW CONTEMPORARY MOVEMENT - Thinkspace Projects Group Show For Pow!Wow! Worldwide, Honolulu, HI - 2019

SURREAL SALON 11 - Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art, Baton Rouge, LA - 2019

SCOPE ART FAIR - Thinkspace Projects Group Show, Miami, FL - 2018

THE ART AUCTION - Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento CA - 2018

OFF THE WALL - Groundswell Gallery, Sacramento CA - 2017

ART AUCTION - Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA - 2018

THE OTHER ART FAIR NYC (May) - Brooklyn Expo Center, Brooklyn, NY - 2018

THE OTHER ART FAIR DTLA - Majestic Theater, Los Angeles, CA - 2018

SURREAL SALON 10 - Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art, Baton Rouge LA - 2018

THE ART AUCTION - Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento CA - 2017

THE OTHER ART FAIR NYC (November)- Brooklyn Expo Center, Brooklyn, NY - 2017

CONDENSED - Beatnik Studios, Sacramento, CA - 2017

THE OTHER ART FAIR NYC (June)- Brooklyn Expo Center, Brooklyn, NY - 2017

THE LIVING MARK- Verum Ultimum Gallery, Portland OR - 2017

OF, BY AND WITH WOMEN- Latino Center for Arts and Culture, Sacramento CA - 2017

ART STREET- M5 Arts Exhibition, Sacramento CA - 2017

PATTERNS OF DISORDER- Retrograde Collective Exhibition, Sacramento CA - 2017

SURREAL SALON 9 - Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art, Baton Rouge LA - 2017

THE ART AUCTION - Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento CA - 2016

IF YOU DO ME, I'LL DO YOU - WAL Public Market , Sacramento CA - 2016

DUEL/DUAL (A two person show with Benjamin Hunt) - Blue Line Arts, Roseville CA - 2016

FINE ART COMPETITION EXHIBIT - California State Fair, Sacramento CA - 2015

A MORSEL FROM THE MAGISPHERE - Shimo Center for the Arts, Sacramento CA - 2013

SALON DE MYSTERE ET FUNK - T Street Retreat Pop Up Gallery, Sacramento CA - 2013

TAROT CARD SHOW - Bows and Arrows, Sacramento CA - 2013

BIG NAMES SMALL ART AUCTION - Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA - 2012

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE (6 MONTHS) - Beatnik Studios, Sacramento CA - 2011

BIG NAMES SMALL ART AUCTION - Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA - 2011

FINE ART COMPETITION EXHIBIT - California State Fair, Sacramento CA - 2009

MONTHLY MOSAIC - Sacramento News and Review Headquarters, Sacramento CA - 2009

UA ART COMPETITION - University Art Store, Sacramento CA - 2008

FINE ART COMPETITION EXHIBIT - California State Fair, Sacramento CA - 2007


VALENTINES SHOW - Deep Gallery, Sacramento CA - 2007

PRELUDE EXHIBITION - Else Gallery, Sacramento CA - 2003

WHAT IS BEAUTY? - Witt Gallery, Sacramento CA - 2002

REINVENTING THE MANIFESTO - California State University, Sacramento Library Gallery - 2001



INSIDE MAGAZINE - Front Cover Image, Inside Publications, 03/2017 

400 GLASS SPHERES ENLIVEN SACRAMENTO LOBBY- Interior Design Magazine, 11/21/2016

TWO BECOME ONE - Submerge Magazine, Issue #226 11/11/2016

FOURTEEN HILLS - San Francisco State University Literary Review, Front/Back Cover and Centerpiece, Issue 23.1 2016

ART FORMS CONVERGE AT SACRAMENTO ARENA- Comstock's Magazine, 9/27/2016

SACRAMENTO ARENA ARTWORK IS A ‘CONVERGENCE’ - Sacramento Bee, City Beat - 4.17.16 Issue

CALL IT 'ARTCO ARENA'? - Sacramento News and Review - 2.18.16 Issue

WORDS OF ART - Cover Image and Article - Inside Publications - February 2016 Issue

BRIGHT, STRONG WORK HIGHLIGHTS STATE FAIR SHOW - Sacramento Bee, Ticket Section - 7.15.15 Issue

RIGHT BRAIN - Sacramento News and Review - 7.11.13 Issue  

WORDS SHADE HIS WORK - Sacramento Bee, City Section - 2.07.08 Issue

40 UNDER 40 - Sacramento Magazine - January Issue

A SELF PORTRAIT OF WORDS - Senses Magazine - Fall/Winter Issue 2007/08

LYRA & THE NEW MOON - Call me Ishmael Album Artwork, ASCAP - 2005