Art on the U.S.-Mexico border in Baja California would simply not be the same without collectors Patty Fontes and Alonso Elias and their Colección Elias+Fontes. As Alonso explains in his text below, he and his wife started buying art from local artists over a decade ago and never stopped. Their collection, based on both sides of the border in Mexicali and Calexico, is the best and largest of it’s kind in the region, or, well … probably anywhere.
Please visit them here: facebook.com/coleccion.eliasfontes.
(photos: Patty Fontes and Alonso Elias at their home in Mexicali and Alonso with Alvaro Blancarte and Jaime Ruiz Otis at Blancarte’s studio in Tecate)
The following video shows half of the collection in Imperial, California, just 10 miles across the border:
Alonso Elias about Colección Elias+Fontes
“Like most collections, our started accidentally. We bought our first painting from an artist friend in 2003. We then realized it would make sense to purchase a second painting from our friend’s father, who is also an artist. Pretty soon we were buying regularly. We realized we were forming a collection when we ran out of walls and had to start storing them. Then came requests for loans, requests for exhibits and articles about our collection. Today we own 336 works by some 70 artists. 95% of these are from Baja California or have something to do with Baja California. We collect different media: Drawings, Etchings, Paintings, Sculpture, Installations, works with sound, Video. We our currently purchasing our first .gif work.
We purchase works that have a direct relation to the world that surrounds us. We live in Mexico but Alonso works in the United States. He has been crossing the border every day for 18 years. Works that comment on the border speak directly to us. “Toy An-Horse”, “How to dismantle an international border” and “Si, protesto” are just a few of the many border works we own. We own a house in Imperial but live in Mexicali. Our collection is hung at both sides of the border. Sometimes it gets confusing: Are we Mexican? Are we American?
We believe in Baja California artists. These artists exhibit all over the world but due to our geographic location, they do not have a sound art market. Because of this, Baja California is contemporary art buyer’s paradise. We support them by contributing with loans, grants and scholarships. We promote these artists with our exhibits (5 to date) and by a very active social media presence.
We are currently building our website: eliasfontescollection.com “
Alonso Elias, Mexicali, June 2016
All photos 2016 © Stefan Falke www.stefanfalke.com