Magnificent Murals

Artist Patricia Llovera’s beautiful designs are showcased throughout the community
By Kamala Kirk

Patricia Llovera started drawing when she was 12 years old, around the time her mother passed away. She hung out in her room on a beanbag chair drawing pictures from the dictionary while listening to classical music. Her favorite was Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” 

Throughout her teenage years, Llovera continued to draw and dabbled in calligraphy, but when she landed an office job after graduation, her artistic endeavors were put on the shelf. 

Fifteen years later, when she was laid off, Llovera rediscovered her talent for the arts and began taking courses in writing and art at Pasadena City College and the Otis College of Art and Design.

Llovera studied multiple topics, including illustration, life drawing, composition, as well as writing, illustrating and designing children’s books. She became fascinated with geometric work, and one of her professors at Otis College once compared Llovera’s style to that of Frank Stella and early Piet Mondrian.

“I discovered that writing and drawing made me feel good about myself, and I really appreciated the discipline that I had,” Llovera says. 

Llovera began attending Wine & Canvas painting classes in Pasadena, where her artistic skills shined. On a whim, she participated in the Pasadena Chalk Festival in 2010 and honed her chalk skills. 

“I thought I could do chalk art, too, so I went to see what would happen,” Llovera shares. “My first year was a really cool year for the Pasadena Chalk Festival because they were named the Largest Display of Chalk Pavement Art by the Guinness Book of World Records. I love doing the chalk festival. It’s not always about winning. I do love to win, but I’m not tremendously competitive. I participate because it’s fun and creating makes me feel good.”

Since them, Llovera has participated in over 20 chalk festivals, including the Carlsbad ArtSplash, Monrovia Chalk Festivals and the Chalk Art Festival in Centennial, Colorado. 

In 2015, Llovera and a fellow artist formed a two-person mural team, designing and creating murals for cities, schools, restaurants and private residents, in addition to creating custom designs on windows for businesses. During the five years they worked together, Llovera helped create murals throughout the San Gabriel Valley and in Wilmington, and her various artwork has been displayed at libraries in Bellflower, Pasadena and Monrovia.  

“Murals are often complicated, detailed and require a lot of prep time,” Llovera says. “You have to clean and prep surfaces before starting the design, and paint acts differently on different surfaces. I often use a water-based latex paint, which is safe to use around schools. I’m very safety conscious and like to keep a neat and clean workspace.”

Llovera is also a member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts and developed a talent for refurbishing utility boxes for the city of Monrovia, where she was eventually awarded with two boxes of her own to paint with her designs, along with another utility box in South El Monte.

“A lot of cities will put out an artist call to paint utility boxes, then you can send in your artwork to be considered,” Llovera explains. “Sometimes there will be a theme for the utility box. I lean toward geometric designs because they’re balanced and uniform. I love working with bright, eye-catching colors.”

Llovera now works on her own and continues to provide mural and artwork services for clients. She also enjoys painting canvases for friends and family and designing hand-painted cards for different occasions. Since COVID-19 occurred, the chalk festivals and competitions have gone virtual, so Llovera has been creating designs on her driveway or on canvas and submitting them online. Aside from chalk art, she also enjoys working with acrylics, watercolor, pencil, charcoal, and pen and ink.

“I love the drive that I get from art, and it makes one more disciplined,” Llovera says. “It’s cool being an artist, because I can use anything as a tool. Nothing is going to be perfect all the time, and you learn from your mistakes — there’s always an opportunity to improve. I’m always up for commissions, and I’m constantly looking for competitions to enter. It gives me an excuse to create, and it keeps me in practice. If I don’t win a competition this time, there will always be others.” 

For the past five years, Llovera has been a full-time, live-in caretaker in Pasadena for her 100-year-old grandmother.

“We have a lot of fun together,” Llovera says. “It’s definitely challenging being an artist and a full-time caregiver at the same time, but I’ve learned that if I want to get more things done, I have to take advantage of the time I have. So, if she’s taking a nap, I’ll use that time for working on projects or creating stencil letters for a client. It’s all about finding a balance between time and responsibility.”

Llovera is also eager to pursue a career as a writer and illustrator of children’s books. Five years ago, she finished a book for young readers on how to execute chalk designs, addressing technique, art supplies and safety issues, as well as the joys of working as an artist in the public workspace. She is in the process of updating the book and plans to resubmit it to publishers.

“I want to write more books for children that have good morals and lessons in them,” Llovera says. “I also want to continue my journey as an artist. Picasso said that it took him a lifetime to paint like a child. There is beauty in children’s artwork; we seem to forget that as we grow up. If you want to draw a tangled mess of lines and weird colors, go for it. Draw what makes you happy; other people may end up liking it as well. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and it’s always important to follow your heart.”

To see more of Llovera’s work and to contact her for commissions, follow her on Instagram @patricia_llovera_. 

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