Author - Jesse Mallare
“Growing up as young people in this time period, global warming is a real threat, corporations are trying to commodify oil and water, indigenous communities are being displaced from their natural spaces. I think that everyone that comes through this space has some sort of consciousness about the injustices that are being faced, and we want to see art shift culture around that.” - Ivan Lopez
Artillery A.G. is an art space like no other. Since it opened in 2009, the gallery has attracted over 80 local artists and designers of multiple disciplines to display and distribute their work. Hand-painted mosaics and jackets hang on a wall opposite of a miniature forest of succulents and cacti. The store expands like a museum, showcasing more original prints, more apparel, accessories, and a full artist's’ workstation.
Guests are warmly welcomed and encouraged to create a wish an art project called the Mission Wish Tree. The wishes are visualized as trees, homes, brown ownership, all in technicolor. This project not only demonstrates Artillery’s inclusivity, but also the initiative to start a visual conversation for larger social issues.
Ivan Lopez and Alexa Treviño founded Artillery around the pillars of nature, family, and culture, and those values manifest themselves in the positive energy of the space and the entire Artillery familia. Lopez came to the Mission when he was 3 and his parents immigrated from Colombia. In alliance with the Mission Wish Tree, Lopez envisions a renewed respect for the neighborhood’s natural identity and specifically cites the underground river as a symbol of the Mission’s long overlooked ecological abundance and vitality.
Artillery recognizes that art doesn’t abide by any boundaries, and all forms of expression are valuable and worth pursuing. Lopez himself has artistic experience ranging from product design to farming, and he has no intent of pigeonholing other artists to traditional definitions:
“We’re trying to create a dialogue for someone that doesn’t fully express themselves only in a visual, performance, or audio [way], and just wants to get a piece of that. We recognize that we’re all still trying to figure out what we want to manifest into the world.“
In addition to promoting creative freedom and environmental connectedness, Artillery also embodies the spirit of entrepreneurialism. Lopez notes how independent creators and designers can magnify their voice through formal business skills. Concepts like distribution, budgeting, and presentation empower independent artists to more effectively translate their values into their work, transcending their respective mediums and creating a greater cultural impact.
Artillery A.G. is a reminder that communities can be healed through art, in any form that may be. As long as the doors remain open and thoughts can be freely exchanged, Artillery will help artists realize their voice is the most powerful vehicles to drive social change.