Bio: Mano Sotelo

B.F.A. Otis Art Institute Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles CA

M.F.A. Academy of Art University, San Francisco CA

M.B.A. University of Phoenix, Tucson AZ

U.S. Army Reserve / Army National Guard, Long Beach, CA & Yonkers, NY

Mano’s work has been exhibited at the Coutts Museum of Art, Alexandria Museum of Art, Tampa Museum of Art, Coos Art Museum, Haggin Museum, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, Tucson Museum of Art, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson Desert Art Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, local and national juried and invitational shows, and a variety of Tucson galleries. Mano’s work has also been highlighted in competitions hosted by The Artist’s Magazine, International Artist Magazine, and American Art Awards,

Mano is currently Visual Arts faculty at Pima Community College where he teaches drawing, painting, figure drawing, color, composition and design courses. He has over 18 years of higher education teaching experience and has taught courses at Southwest University of Visual Arts (SUVA), Artist Network University (online), and The Drawing Studio.

Appointed by the Tucson City Manager, Mano is a former member of the Tucson Public Art and Community Design Committee. Prior to teaching, Mano worked for several years as a production manager and graphic designer within the graphic arts, printing and publishing industries.

Resume, gallery, and commercial client list available upon request.


My artistic practice can be divided into two categories: observational and allegory.

For me, observational painting and drawing is an exercise in mindfulness. It directly provides me with an increased understanding of my external and internal world. In this practice, I question my assumptions, become more aware, solve problems, make deliberate decisions and ultimately recognize my accountability for the outcome. Through the process of critical observation and thinking, I am provided with direct feedback on the profound impact of my thoughts, judgments, beliefs and consciousness. For these reasons, observational practice has become a foundational component for the rest of my artistic work.

My current allegorical work, originated out of a religious upbringing; specifically, where I observed books, individuals, classes and rituals that professed to deliver individuals, and thus society, from evil. Evil can be defined as suffering, misfortune, harmful or wrong conduct or character.

Today, promises of salvation continue to be presented to the masses when we turn on the television, visit the book store, or the Internet. Although, this message of deliverance has been around for thousands of years, we continue to fail to find peace or enlightenment through any one person, organization, place, or book. If the truth were otherwise we would live in a world without conflict.
These paintings act as a response to my questioning and search for truth. Given this inherited and adopted state of internal and external conflict, the paintings respond to the question “who ultimately holds the key to our salvation or enlightenment?”

Faith is incredibly powerful; therefore, it is not my intent to dismiss or discredit any particular belief. Instead my objective, and evolving product, has been the observation of beliefs and values, their adoption and ultimate influence.

Although, the work is autobiographical, ultimately the people in the paintings could be substituted with anyone. That is, they symbolize questioning that is not isolated to me individually. Everyone experiences internal and external conflict. We can all discover the influence of our beliefs; and their power to create the reality in which we live.


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