Bio

Sylvia Savala is a multi-disciplinary artist: She is a visual artist, essayist, and poet. She grew up in the barrio of Pinedale, a suburb of Fresno, CA.  At the age of ten, her father placed a typewriter in front of her and demanded she to learn to type so that she could become a secretary.

Her family later moved to the Bullard High School area, where she was one of six Latinos in her graduating class. She experienced the juxtaposition of  two distinct cultures-- the traditional Latino, Catholic and the bourgeois white upper middle class culture. This passage would give her the grit to break through social barriers.

She graduated from CSU Fresno with a BA degree in Spanish. After college, she began to dream of becoming a visual artist. She took art classes at CSU Fresno and workshops from artists, such as Wayne Thiebaud and Alexander Nepote.

She married and had a daughter and son. The marriage lasted fifteen years. She now has two grandchildren.

Up to that point, the content of her work had consisted of flowers and still life.  Then in the late 1980’s, she was introduced to Frida Kahlo’s art and saw that Frida’s life and tribulations were the subject matter of her work.  This gave Savala the courage to do the same.

She has exhibited from Fresno to Florence, Italy.  In 2000, her work was published in the San Francisco Chronicle's Datebook.  In 2000-2001, the painting “Zapatos”  (her first feminist painting) was included in the traveling art exhibit “Hecho En Califas- The Last Decade”.

In 2003, she began to dream of becoming a published poet and writer. In 2007. She graduated from CSU, Fresno with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

Her art work and the essay, "How I became a Chicana Feminist Artist," were both published in 2011 by Routledge Press in the book Entering the Picture, which documents Judy Chicago and the feminist art movement which began in Fresno in 1972.  

Currently, she teaches English at Fresno City College and devotes her life to family, painting,  writing, and gardening. 

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