Polo’s Gallery in Rosarito presents paintings and more by Baja’s best artists, and now offers weekend painting classes!
By Jack George
When I parked my car in front of Polo’s Gallery in Rosarito, I was immediately struck by the neatness and beauty in front. It definitely offers an invitation to go inside and investigate, so I did. When I walked inside, I saw Polo Valencia Garcia sitting to the right of me, painting a beautiful seascape that will be sent to a gallery in La Jolla. The pleasant man walked with me as I went to an adjoining room. There I observed portraits, landscapes, and a mixture of other pieces of art gracefully hanging on the walls. What I felt inside is what I repeated to Polo, “This is truly a place to feel peace and comfort in this world with so many problems.” Polo shook his head in agreement.
Polo introduced me to some magical pieces of art created from adobe. He watched, interested, as I studied the large adobe body. He then pointed to a silver art form sitting in the upper-left hand section of the creation. This was interesting and made me curious why this huge piece of art, all in one color, except for the body of this tiny person, was done in silver. I then observed the art piece more closely. I pointed to another body, sitting inside the main area of the artwork. Polo smiled as though he was happy I found this. Within seconds I pointed out body after body creatively placed inside the main body. The smaller bodies were not hidden, or placed in order to be hidden from the observer; they were simply a part of this art project.
Polo’s Gallery in Rosarito is located at kilometer 33, across the street from the former Fox Studios. It also offers a warm ambience (that might come from the warmth and passion that Polo brings to his business as well as his art work). It is obvious that someone takes a great deal of time and thought to place each unique piece of art in a special position. Polo opened this gallery 22 years ago. He also owns the Galeria Klein. It has been open for 10 years. Polo opened the Galeria Klein as a way of saying thank you to a doctor who had helped him many years ago. Polo has never forgotten the doctor’s assistance – he never will. Nor will he ever forget Paco Garcia. Thirty-five years ago the well-known Baja artist asked Polo if he would like to paint. Polo said he would. Polo excitedly told how Paco gave him money each time he painted something. Polo was a student with Paco for 14 years. Paco presently has his own art gallery located at the Rosarito Beach Hotel.
Polo said that the gallery has a number of options available for the holiday season. For example, he offers oil painting classes on Saturdays and Sundays, from noon to 3 p.m., for the public. There are also dozens and dozens of varied pieces of art work and the onwer/artist noted that he will offer everything in his shop at a 20% discount, during the 2012 holiday season. In addition, Polo will offer an additional $50 discount on the art pieces for sale to anyone who mentions Baja.com. The art available in his gallery begins at $100 and climbs up to a price of $7,000. Most of the higher priced pieces of art are created by Alvaro Blancarte. He is one of most acclaimed artists in Mexico. He exhibits in Miami, New York, and other large cities.
Polo is also pleased to have his first artist from Tecate. His name is Figueroa. Francisco Cabello continues to display his works of art at the gallery. He specializes in tango dancers. His wife, Lucy de Hoyos, also has her artwork on display. Polo says she is one of the finest female artists in Baja. Altogether Polo has 25 artists who display their art at his gallery. It is not surprising that art buyers from Egypt, India, New Zealand, and people from all over the United States buy from his beautiful gallery.
Polo has had several celebrities visit his studio. Years back, members from the crew filming the Titanic, purchased two pictures to give the director, James Cameron, as ‘thank you’ gifts. Then there was golfer Tiger Woods who visited his gallery. Another interesting visitor was actor Mel Gibson. Gibson has a doctor friend who lives at Club Marena. Gibson has been instrumental in suggesting to several Marena residents, needing art for their condo walls, to visit the Polo Gallery to find just the perfect piece of art. Gibson is so fond of the gallery that he has visited on three occasions and purchased 17 different pieces of art.
These days the dedicated and humble Polo says that most all of his oil paintings are pre-purchased by galleries in La Jolla and Carmel. He works seven days a week. This dedication to his gallery prevents him from exhibiting like he once did; however, he will once again be an exhibitor at the Rosarito Art Festival, to be held in May. Aside from his art work he also tries to spend as much time as he can with his wife and four children. Polo has two sons and two daughters ranging in age from five to 27. The five-year-old, Polo, Jr., is the only one of the children who thoroughly enjoys working in art. I asked to see one of his son’s paintings; however, like a proud father, he said none of his son’s pictures are hanging at the gallery; instead, they are all proudly hanging on the walls at the family home.
Where is Polo’s Gallery in Rosarito: The gallery is located at kilometer 33 on the free road, in the neighborhood of Popotla that is the Art District south of Rosarito. It is surrounded by other great furniture and curios shops, and just that stretch of road alone could be an hours-long adventure!
What to expect: There is an abundance of fine art in all sizes, and all prices. On a very lucky day, buyers could walk away with smaller paintings by renowned artists in the very low hundreds. There are also sculptures and other work. Polo will ship artwork to the US and throughout the world.
Where to stay and eat nearby: The Popotla Art District is just south of the Rosarito Beach Hotel. There are a variety of great eateries in the vicinity, including Tapanco and El Nido, both located not far from Polos.
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