Border Art Residency, a non-profit organization affiliated with the El Paso Community Foundation, is giving donors a chance to meet this year’s artist-in-residence, L.A.-based abstract artist Fausto Fernandez, at a dinner this Saturday, Oct 4.

The event, “52 Pick-Up,” is a fundraiser with the goal of filling 52 seats, $100 per seat, on a bus that will take patrons to the location of the residency in Mesilla Valley. Funds raised support artists during their ten-month residency.

Over dinner and drinks, donors will talk art with Fernandez.

“For me, it’s always been a search of trying to figure out who I am, and I think we as humans are constantly changing our behaviors, so I’m looking for those things that are constant in the way we are,” Fernandez said of his process. “I think my paintings are like psychoanalysis.”

Fernandez, a mixed-media collage artist of geometric and floral tendencies, was notified in May of his selection for this year’s Border Art Residency.

Border Art Residency, the brainchild of artists and now-retired UTEP professors Ray Parish and Becky Hendrick, was established in 1997.

The residency is set in an orchard and sculpture garden in La Union, N.M., where artists occupy a 2,200-square-foot studio space on the second floor of a building that was once a cotton gin. Artists selected for the residency in years past have been native El Pasoans as well as newcomers to the Sun City, including Kumi Yamashita, a native Japanese artist based in New York City at the time of her selection in 2002.

In addition to providing artists with a space to live and work, the Border Art Residency pays all utilities and provides artists with a monthly stipend of $600 for food and other expenses. Fernandez, born in El Paso, resided in Juarez until age 25. While living in Juarez, he crossed the bridge several times a week to pursue a BFA in graphic design and painting at UTEP. He graduated in 2001 and relocated to Mississippi and then Phoenix the following year. Before moving to L.A. in 2012, Fernandez lived in Phoenix for more than a decade. During that time, he spent five years designing the 10,000-square-foot terrazzo floor of the Sky Train Station at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, a project commissioned by The City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.

“My works are a combination of painting and mixed-media collages on canvas layered with aviation renderings, sewing patterns, laser prints and instructional materials,” he said. “I incorporate paper prints with images of tools, machines and flowers that I later paint and draw over with acrylic paint, spray paint, glitter, pastels and acrylic markers.”

Fernandez’s work has been exhibited in several spaces, including the Smithsonian’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada.

“[Fernandez] moves comfortably between the worlds of the fine and applied arts, rejecting the traditional hierarchies that influenced many artists of previous generations,” said René Paul Barrilleaux, chief curator at McNay Art Museum in San Antonio in a statement.

Fernandez’s exhibition, “Fausto Fernandez: Mechanical Metaphors,” was on view at the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts last year. One of his paintings from that show is now part of the university’s permanent art collection and another was purchased by El Paso’s Museums and Cultural Affairs Department and is now on display at City Hall.

One month into his residency, Fernandez said he is seeing the difference between art in the borderland and art in L.A.

“In California, for example, I see a lot of minimal conceptual art and I don’t think I see that very much in El Paso,” he said. “I think that because El Paso is so close to the border, the border issues tend to be very apparent in most artists’ work. For example, in L.A., I see a lot of bright colors in the paintings — super bright colors, almost fluorescent — and I don’t see that much [in El Paso]. What I see in El Paso is the subject matter of the border and the fence.”

Border Art Residency: 

Meet the Artist

Rulis’ International Kitchen, 4176 N. Mesa Street 

Saturday, Oct. 4, 4 p.m.

Tickets: $100, including bus ride, dinner, 

drinks  and raffle prizes 

For more info, call 915.533.4020 or visit, project name “52 Pick-Up” 

The next residency will begin August 1, 2015 and end May 31, 2016. Applications will be accepted until January 15, 2015. The selected artist will be notified May of next year. For more info, visit