My Nature Is Hunger

My Nature is Hunger - Oil painting by Mark Vallen
[ My Nature is Hunger - Oil painting by Mark Vallen ]

One of my latest oil paintings has been published as the cover art for My Nature Is Hunger, the newest book of poetry from award-winning Chicano author, Luis J. Rodríguez. I took the title of the writer’s poetry anthology as the name of my painting, a work that mirrors the attitude of the poet’s verse. I talked with the author prior to creating the preliminary sketches for my artwork, and he told me that the poems in his book were about the numerous types of ‘hunger’ people live through - the hunger for justice, fulfillment, love, dignity - and always the hunger for a better life. I felt an appropriate cover artwork for the book would be a portrait of a teenage Chicana holding a child - an image that conveys feelings of discomfort but also a sense of strength and determination. The LA Times Book Review section of October 16, 2005 gave a one-page presentation of Luis Rodriguez’s new poetry book - and you can also see a larger version of my painting, here.

I’ll be appearing with Luis J. Rodríguez in a Book Signing and Print Premiere at Tia Chucha’s Cafe Cultural this coming November 5th. Rodríguez (who is also the cofounder of Tia Chucha’s,) will read from his latest poetry collection, and I’ll be on hand to talk about the original oil painting I created as the book cover. As part of the occasion, prints of my painting will be made available to the public for the first time. The event is scheduled for Saturday, November 5th, 2005 at 5 pm. Tia Chucha’s Cafe Cultural is located at 12737 Glenoaks Blvd., #22, Sylmar, CA 91342. Phone: 818-362-7060. For address, hours and directions, visit

Later that same evening at 7 pm, Luis J. Rodríguez is inviting poets from around the LA area to read their works for peace, justice and a cooperative way of life as part of the global mobilization of poetry and conscious-raising, sponsored by Poets Against War ( Poets Against War, founded by award-winning poet and translator Sam Hamill, has amassed the largest collection of poetry against war in the world. They have been working hard to bring attention to stopping the US wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, and for the peaceful resolutions of the complex issues of our day for the benefit of all humanity. Rodríguez said this about the upcoming antiwar poetry recital, “It’s time that we imagined another way to deal with the hard issues confronting us instead of violence and war, I hope this event will galvanize the LA poetry community to activate their lives and their verses toward peace and true justice in our time.”

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