Easton artist Duvian Montoya painted a picture of the Greiser’s team as part of a series during the lockdown. Two other paintings in his Longing for Connection collection are of his parents and family.
“Hard to believe I started this piece 10 months ago when we were in full lock down,” he said. “Sadly we are still feeling the pressure to stay home for the safety of all. This piece of the Greiser’s crew that still provides the Easton community with doorstep lattes, groceries and chatter, was meant to capture the need for connection and community, hence the church-like structure created by the wings of the Greiser’s hummingbird.”
Montoya lives and works in Easton and has shown his work throughout the country and has been represented by Garvey/Simon Gallery in New York until recently. He works in both oils and acrylics. He and his wife, Emma, have lived in Easton since 2011 and have two kids at Samuel Staples Elementary School. Emma is from England and has lived in the U.S. for 20 years.
“I do believe we will come out stronger because of the rebooting of what community means,” he said. “Thank you Greiser’s Coffee & Market for the continued effort of keeping our community together. I miss going inside and seeing the well-curated gifts of local artisans, but I mainly miss the random chatter and laughs. Thank you for all that you have done! “
Montoya is active in the arts community around Fairfield County. He is involved in a new venture in Norwalk called the Norwalk Art Space, a project providing exhibition space as well as offering free art classes to youth and providing a space to enjoy art and music. The Norwalk Art Space will open in the summer.
An artist, muralist, studio manager, curator and community organizer, Montoya grew up in Norwalk. His murals and installations can be seen in public spaces in New Haven and throughout Norwalk. Other works have been collected by the SONO Collection, Housatonic Community College, The Mattatuck Museum, Disney, and Gulfstream Worldwide.
He co-founded two Fairfield County Arts organizations, “The Saint Phillip Artist Guild” (Norwalk) in 2009 and “The Artists Collective of Westport” in 2014. Montoya was gallery director of the Peanut Gallery in Santa Fe, N.M., assistant curator at General Electric worldwide headquarters in Fairfield, and he has curated and juried over 50 exhibitions.
Montoya has also been the studio manager of world-renowned realist painter Robert Cottingham. His current community project is artistic and educational director at the Norwalk Art Space, where free art education will be given to underserved high school students. Regional artists will have a premier art space for exhibitions and programs in Fairfield County. It is based in his hometown of Norwalk.
His painting philosophy is based on his belief that “we must tell the story of our present lives for future generations to build on as our ancestors did in caves 10,000 years ago.” He says, “By studying our visual history, we can see our evolution and strive for a better tomorrow through a sophisticated visual language.”
This language is referenced in his gallery work and his public art installations for the context of current struggles, achievements, and aspirations. This is especially true in his projects at the South Norwalk Train Station and the Norwalk Public Library. Duvian used the language of fashion in the train station to represent decades of transitory history in Norwalk.
In the library mural, he was able to share his parent’s story of migration from Colombia, South America, to Norwalk, by using architecture and design as his visual transitions from country to country. Duvian feels it’s essential to understand the population he is creating for and adapt ideas around that population.
“I find complete joy in creating a narrative story that connects generations of people through symbols, color, texture, and shared visual cues,” he said.
Montoya’s recent works speak to the need for human connection in this time of social distancing and isolation. Other works depict individual meditative moments, architecture and its function as a cultural reference to its people and place. Still other works deal with the need to stand united against injustice toward our Black and brown brothers and sisters.