You may know Raul Jorcino as a beloved P.E. and special education teacher in Piedmont schools, or as a runner who regularly completes marathons. But Jorcino’s lifelong passion has been as an artist — his paintings and collages grace the walls of houses across the Bay Area and as far away as Paris and Malaysia.
Jorcino’s artistic talents were first recognized by an observant kindergarten teacher in his home country of Argentina, who suggested to his parents that he would benefit from extra art instruction. The young art student was allowed plenty of time to create art without any specific assignments and with the freedom to design from scratch. During high school Jorcino spent weekends studying formal art principles at a local atelier that included in its curriculum an entire year using only black charcoal in order to avoid the distraction of color.
Now Jorcino’s art work is highly sought after because of its expressive use of color to convey emotion and energy. Jorcino is primarily a painter, but frequently collage is incorporated. The subject matter of Jorcino’s work relates strongly to his personal history; on yearly visits to Buenos Aires, Jorcino strolls through flea markets to find vintage photographs which can be used as primary source material. He also incorporates ephemera such as event tickets, bottle caps, old toys and his mother’s sewing patterns in his collages.
Viewers are immediately drawn in to the work; finding many details that are easily relatable in an environment that invites a stroll and further exploration. A viewer could imagine sitting down for a hand of cards and a beer or coffee in a colorful café.
In his garage studio, Jorcino painstakingly produces detailed paintings that can sometimes take months or even a year to complete. Even at this pace, he, for the past 13 years Jorcino has mounted a biannual solo show at Rick and Ann’s Café in Berkeley.
Jorcino has also collaborated with fellow Piedmont artist Karen Stanton over the years. Their partnership led to the formation of the annual Chalk Art Festival, an event on the Beach Elementary playground that now connects the community with the International Chalk4Peace Festival. This year, the two released 10 Things to Love About Piedmont, a colorful, picture-book valentine to the city.
Jorcino’s art career hasn’t been without challenges, however. After becoming a teacher, Jorcino went through an artistic slump. But on a ramble around Lake Merritt, he came upon a yard sale offering a tempting box of miscellaneous art supplies for a great price. He began to paint again, and soon found himself showing art and going back to art classes through U.C. Berkeley Extension. At this important juncture in his life, Jorcino found encouragement and mentorship through his professor, Larry Robinson.
Because teachers have been such an important influence in his own life, Jorcino strives to inspire in his students a desire to develop their own creative abilities. He certainly has proved that a steady persistence in achieving goals is a winning formula.
The best place to see Jorcino’s new work is a bi-annual show he mounts at Rick and Ann’s restaurant in Berkeley, CA. Details can be found on his website.