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Alumni Spotlight: Noé Piña

Noé Piña in the STA Art Studio
“Although we were kids, you’re being treated like a professional and being taught what it would be like to be a future professional and later you learn that you could make a living out of this, you could make a career out of this.”

Noé Piña speaks fondly of his time at LAMusArt and recalls the impact that it had on his artwork today. Piña has ventured into various fields including real estate, brokerage, sculpture as well as other art forms. He currently has a studio located within a vintage shop in Alhambra.

Born and raised in Boyle Heights, Montebello and El Sereno, he remembers when his mom would pick him up from school and bring him to LAMusArt which he regarded as feeling more like his “real school.” They didn’t have a specialized art class at his school so coming to LAMusArt made him feel like his day was starting then as a young kid who was serious and very well dedicated to the arts. "It was one of those things that is so important for kids and for the community.”

Piña began at LAMusArt by first taking an organ class but it wasn’t until he began taking Drawing that he realized his love of art. He asserts that although we tend to attribute the most prominent development of the arts to our time in college, it’s actually the classes we take as young kids that have the greatest impact. Knowing that the support was there really left an imprint on him. “Experience was great, even as a kid you feel like you’re being treated like a professional, like your talent is being acknowledged and it may not be acknowledged in a lot of other places.” He emphasized the way in which taking this Drawing class at LAMusArt made him feel like a professional with the way students have access to real art materials and instead of the space just being at a regular desk, it was a space that was meant for the creation of the arts.

Noé Teaching at Piña Real Estate Academy

After attending LAMusArt, Piña attended Plaza de la Raza, a community arts venue dedicated to serving the Eastside neighborhoods of Los Angeles and began receiving private art tutoring as well. He attended the University of Guadalajara then finished his BA in Fine Art at Otis College of Art and Design. He began teaching art at various private schools but suffered the aftereffect of program cuts every year. Piña found an interest in real estate and brokerage license and founding his own company, Piña Realty Inc and real estate academy, Piña Real Estate Academy.

During this time, he felt the need to return to his art - and he never let go - lugging his art supplies wherever he went. Soon after, Noé acquired vintage and antique shop, Second Time Around Alhambra, giving him an opportunity to create a studio space to create once again. Piña favorite medium is sculpture, using found materials and creating video installations. He used the theme of balance as a metaphor for our lives. Removing the brick collapses the monument, a metaphor for not just ourselves, but economic systems, and social systems as well. Piña encourages other artists to take the opportunity of changing their art medium when they feel stuck and may be surprised to see what other artists have made using different materials. He also spoke to the idea that some art is “too simple” to be art, “It doesn’t matter if it looks simple, people say “oh I could do that” with conceptual art like sure but you didn’t do it!” He emphasized that the thought process behind the art is what validates it in the end.

Piña acknowledged that having experience in the world of business made him a better artist as well as he became more familiar with the business aspect of art and treats art opportunities like business opportunities. Speaking to this, he emphasized that if one is able to find a way to make a living through art, go at it full force and do not be afraid. “Give yourself the freedom to create.”

Piña has had his art displayed at the Art Museum of The University of Memphis, TN as well as the the Sector 7 Contemporary Art Gallery in South Pasadena, CA. He has also been a part of a virtual residency in the city of Mexico which allowed him to publish a book recently showcasing his artwork.


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