Jesus “CIMI” Alvarado began his artistic career as a graffiti artist in El Paso Texas, and his footprint can be found throughout the city’s historic Segundo Barrio and beyond, with his most recent project taking him to Marfa, TX, to address the ongoing cultural and physical gentrification that has been happening in that border town three hours away. His work is entirely rooted to the community he’s working in at a particular time, and his process usually includes elements of community brainstorming and participation within the creation of each public work. In the same vein as Chicano muralists who have come before him — like his former teacher at Bowie High School, Gaspar Enriquez — his art is truly public, honoring the everyday Chicanx population that strengthens border culture in El Paso. The power of both contemporary and historic Chicanx figures is the driving force behind much of CIMI’s work.

In addition to honoring his barrio’s history, he’s committed to growing new artists, which is one of the reasons behind his co-founding of Kalavera Culture Shop, a new spot in El Paso where emerging artists can buy art supplies at affordable prices, and find an artistic community that truly upholds one another.