Born and raised on a farm in South Texas, Jimmy studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Pitzer College in Claremont, California, learning from such masters of art as Rufino Tamayo and José Luis Cuevas, as well as business and creativity gurus Peter Drucker, Gene Rodenberry, Edwards Deming, and Isaac Asimov. This mentoring honed his talent and forged a vision of giving back to the community through art.
Jimmy is the only Chicano/Latino/Hispanic to be awarded a Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship, and he is the only Minnesotan to have art in the permanent collection of Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art, the largest collection of Mexican Art outside Mexico. Jimmy’s art was chosen to represent all of Hispanic Art for the 25th anniversary symposium of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, a national gathering of influential Hispanic leaders, government officials, and Fortune 100 corporate executives.
Jimmy’s unique and signature painting style is recognized for its dazzling color, contrast and multiple layers created with hundreds if not thousands of brush strokes. This mural technique and other forms of massive art-making are passed on to youth through his organization Mentoring Peace Through Art and its two-pronged program: MuralWorks in the Schools, turns whole classrooms into mural companies, where each student is given a job that challenges them to produce results; and MuralWorks in the Streets fully immerses teens in the process of deterring gang graffiti with exuberant community-based art.
This commitment to giving back to our community led Target Corporation to label him as “Someone We’d Like You to Meet” in a national campaign featuring six people who embody Target’s community spirit. The McKnight Foundation honored him with a Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Service and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board awarded him the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream” Award. He also received Ordway’s “Sally Award” for his artistic vision of giving back to the community through art and a La Familia Hispanic Heritage Award in recognition of Jimmy’s commitment to his Hispanic heritage, culture and community and his dedication and exceptional work as an artist and mentor.
Jimmy’s art hangs in the offices or homes of United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro; United States Representatives Luis Gutierrez and Keith Ellison; collector and actor Cheech Marin; and prominent state Senators and Representatives at the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul, as well as museums, schools, private and corporate collections.