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The Artists of Hijos del Sol: Bryan Perez, BMX Rider

Teens in Soledad and Salinas sometimes feel there isn’t much to do.  But this artist realized there are passions to pursue if you seek them out.  Now a favorite hobby—BMX riding—has pulled him out into nature, “something I hadn’t really done before.”
A student at Hartnell College, his creation pictured here sprang from his hours in a Hijos del Sol studio.  There he took the simplest of materials–cardboard, wire, sticks of wood, papier mache, gesso, and plenty of hot glue–and transformed them into this BMX rider, head over heels for his bike!
For the real-life rider, bike love competes with art and soccer, along with full-time work and school. How many hours it wins out depends on….Bryan Perez, the artist.
Bryan was born in Mexico City, where he lived for eleven years before moving to San Diego, where his passion for bicycles was ignited.  Bryan was exposed to BMX here at the Salinas Skate Park,  where his journey as a BMX rider began. 
Does Bryan have any visions for strengthening bicycling opportunities for Monterey County youth? 
“Yes! I’d like to see the BMX dirt jumps next to the Salinas Skate Park reconstructed, since they have been destroyed by the weather and other factors. The park, if reconstructed well, could be a great attraction for mountain bikers and BMX bikers, not just from Salinas but from the entire Monterey Bay area.”
Editor’s notes:
  1. Visit Bicycling Monterey’s main resources page for a section on BMX and where to connect with some BMX advocates; or contact Mari for other ideas.
  2. Keep in mind that if riding on California roadways, “bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows an operator to execute a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.” CVC 21201(a). Share that info with friends. Below are summaries that include the brake info, among other useful info.
  3. Download PDFs of bike law summaries, in English and Spanish. Print and distribute to people not online, post on a community bulletin board, etc.

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Hijos del Sol / Children of the Sun

“In our constant struggle as creators, ‘Hijos del Sol,’ it is vital to cultivate and develop our visual and intellectual expression as a means to enhance our inner capabilities; to awaken a collective social consciousness that may pave the way to a common ground; to bring in to mind as terra-celestial beings that we navigate space on the same planet, we share the same moon, the same sun, and the vital elements, earth, wind, water, and fire.  Our task as navigators is to protect and care for all this, to not falter in the error of abuse.”

–José G. Ortiz, founder

From street to studio to street

José Ortiz, founder of Hijos del Sol, was in love with graffiti as a teenager.  Watch the KQED video below to learn how he leaped from that earlier expression to create an environment where young artists can flourish.

The video shows how the youth Ortiz teaches and works alongside bring more beauty to everyday life on the streets of Salinas.

Salinas resident and Monterey County Weekly editor Mary Duan wrote the cover story for the Weekly‘s February 23-29, 2012 issue, “The Tagger, the Dreamers, and T.”  Included in the story are Joesph Frausto and Adolfo Arias of Studio 3:16, who aim to “feed the kids what they’re hungry for, which is self-expression.”

The  artists of Hijos del Sol and Studio 3:16 are part of an increasingly celebrated Salinas arts community.  Check out the One Salinas Youth Arts Festival March 31, 2012.

For more about Hijos del Sol, read a 6/13/06 story by Jacob Estrada from Alisal High School.

For related stories on this site, see:

“What to do in Salinas: The Monterey County seat

Salinas youth and others for bikes:  Bikes make life better

Shawn Carden of Salinas, BMX World Championships competitor

Getting on the right path–a bike path!”

This post was published on 1 March 2012. One or more changes last made to this post on 4 February 2020.

  1. marilynch says:

    Welcome to Monterey County, Daniel. Love it that you’re eager to volunteer to help create more BMX ops in your new home county! For more info, including how you can plug in, call 831-375-6278. Salinas Skate Park and the adjacent area are not a place to legally ride BMX at this time.

    Thank you for speaking up. BMX riders like Shawn Carden especially appreciate BMX tracks meant for practice and racing. And others, like Bryan Perez above, appreciate pump tracks and other places where the recreational and social aspects of BMX rule. Monterey County needs more places for all people with a passion for BMX. Maybe you’ll be one of the people who help make it happen!

    For some existing Monterey County BMX ops, go to Bicycling Monterey’s “Resources/Los Recursos” section, then the first page: “Monterey County Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, Events, Infrastructure, and More.”

  2. I just moved to Monterey from Austin, TX and explored the Salinas Skate Park on Wednesday. I’m more into dirt and saw the dilapidated track there. As I looked for a water source, I saw the dried up creek bed. Do you still have plans to revive this track? I would love to help. I go out to Hartnell AM College 3 days a week, which is 2.5 mile from there. There is NOWHERE else in the area to ride other than the mild riding of the sandy area of Ft Ord, unless you travel to Aptos or Santa Cruz. Bikes are not allowed at the Monterey Skate Park, which is about a mile from my house (Not sure why so many skate parks don’t allow bikes here in CA). Hit me back.

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