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Sammy Linebaugh ReportingA teenage artist from Midvale is earning a name for his work with his own one-man art show. Jesus Silva is a self-taught artist who at 17-years old works a full-time construction job in between his appearances at art shows. But life for Jesus wasn't always this way.
Jesus Silva has been drawing since he was seven years old -- the human face his forte. So it may not be surprising that his talent 10 years later has earned him his own display at this Barnes and Noble Bookstore. But behind these neatly framed portraits, mentor Walt Hunter says, is a story of personal triumph.
Walt Hunter, Midvale Boys and Girls Club: “What I would say is today things are different.”
Hunter first met Jesus Silva two and a half years ago when he was in charge of gang prevention at the Midvale Boys and Girls Club. Though neither want to talk about the life the Midvale teen has left behind, both agree art changed everything. And not just for Jesus.
Walt Hunter, Midvale Boys and Girls Club: "There really was no art until he decided there was art. I put some nice arches watercolor paper up on the wall and I was upset with them because I couldn't get them to do anything. And I smashed some chalk against the wall and I said ‘Will someone make a mark! Come on! Just hit the paper.’ So he got up and he challenged me, basically, to a drawing."
It’s a practice now commonly referred to at the club as dueling.
With that first duel between Walt and Jesus, an art class was born. And now the club is full of kids who are passionate about making pictures.
A match between the two guys who started it all still draws a crowd.
Jesus Silva: "He taught me to be myself, and just have fun when you're doing something."
Jesus Silva's artwork goes next to the 3W Gallery at 159 W. Broadway in downtown Salt Lake where it will be shown August 15th through September 15th. For more information, call Walt Hunter at 801-910-0768.