Contemplating Life Through Acrylics

A painting by Valente Francisco Saenz, who simply goes by Pancho Saenz, is not something that can be taken in for a brief moment. Instead, his complex work is something that encourages a revisit, leading viewers to possibly discover something they might not have noticed before.

Strewn along the colorful geometric fragments found throughout his paintings are random images ranging from Eastern iconography to internationally recognized corporate symbols.

In his painting, “Hybridization,” for instance, eight flamingos soar above what appears to be a pixelated world where mandalas, brand names such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s and different cultural monuments, such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, can be seen.

The reason [the flamingos are] there is because it is only together that we’re going to be able to overcome the challenges we have in this world,” Saenz said.

TowerThe juxtaposing corporate logos aren’t one of those challenges, Saenz said, because they unify nations by being identifiable across the globe.

“These companies that have presence in our country aspire to have a more secure and prosperous world,” Saenz explained. “What McDonald’s is doing essentially is investing in other countries and creating jobs in other countries.”

Despite this statement, Saenz’s idea of success does not rely on “working for the man,” as he put it, but on tapping into one’s authenticity through reflection and meditation.

I do daily meditation, which I consider to be a spiritual connection and one of the ways to align the self with the powerful and mystical force in this enigmatic universe,” Saenz said. “From this force comes my inspiration.”

Social NetworksSaenz often speaks poetically about subjects like the human spirit and the universe. Mesoamerican indigenous cultures also inspire much of Saenz’ work. An indigenous symbol can be found in “Surrounded by Eternity,” which also appropriates work by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo, and Henri Matisse.

“It’s called ‘Surrounded by Eternity’ because although those artists aren’t alive anymore, we’re still talking about them today,” Saenz said.

The classic pieces surround a depiction of a preoccupied Saenz.

That’s me carrying a ruler, always with the concept of my mind and my heart,” Saenz said. “Should I take measurements? Should I use a narrative, or do I follow my heart?

It is evident throughout his work that he does all of the above. Along with the symbolism and abstract figures in his pieces, many of them also contain repeating geometric shapes. They represent the universe, Saenz said.

Everything in this universe is always in constant flux,” Saenz said. “Nothing is static, so for me it’s evolving.”

While Saenz has over 25 years of experience as an artist, he remains bright eyed and eager to learn as he peruses an interdisciplinary doctorate degree at New Mexico State University, focusing on art, healing and spirituality. Prior to this scholarly endeavor, Saenz earned his bachelor’s degree in art and a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies focusing on museums research, both at the University of Texas at El Paso.


His education along with his passion led him to take on an art project with the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) in which residents of different living communities would contribute drawings to a total of twelve wood panels. With over a thousand drawings made by participants ranging from children to adults, the panels made up one large piece at 8 x 16 feet and are now displayed at the HACEP main office.

“My goal is to have at least one boy or girl believe in themselves and consider the possibility that their dreams can transform into realities,” Saenz said in Spanish about the project in the documentary “Art-HACEP Community Expression Project,” which follows Saenz as gathers the panels, discusses the project’s goals and exhibits the final product.

Witnessing the positive effects art has on people increased his passion for the field.

I’ve been taking art more seriously to the point where I’m focusing on exploring all the ways art can enhance or heal your life,” Saenz said. “The most important thing is to find how art can heal a person spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally.”

Find more of Saenz’ work at [themify_icon icon=”fa-circle” icon_color=”#ec008b” ]