In Peter Cordova’s intricately drawn world, each zigzagging line and wash of color invites you to get lost in the fantastical details of his characters, many of whom are inspired by the Indigenous art traditions of the Americas and his memories of his hometown in the Philippines. After 25 years of making art at Creativity Explored, Cordova has created a captivating personal style full of bold patterns, earthy palettes and a warm-hearted approach to storytelling.
Cordova’s first solo show and retrospective, To The Place Where I Grew Up, marks a major milestone for the artist. It features over 60 drawings, paintings and ceramic sculptures created since 1996, and shows the evolution of his elaborate visual universe, where every corner of the page is alive with imagery.
Curated by program director Paul Moshammer and long-time teaching artist Gilles Combet, To The Place Where I Grew Up opens on Jan. 14 at Creativity Explored, a San Francisco art studio that works with developmentally disabled artists. (The gallery is closed for in-person visits through Jan. 28 because of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, but the work is still viewable online.) Cordova recently retired from his long-held job at Safeway, and is now focused on art full-time. In a watercolor and pen piece called In My Country, Cordova uses handwritten text to reflect on how the studio has changed his life: “In my country Philippines. / Over there no art center / in Manila city noting like / this art center. I finish / 6 grade on the hometown / in Iguig Cagayan Philippines / I grown up there in small town / I staying house I come out / in street to find buy & now / I back.”
To the Place Where I Grew Up will be on view through March 12, and later this month Cordova and other Creativity Explored artists will install panels at KQED’s Mission District headquarters at 2601 Mariposa Street. More details can be found on the Creativity Explored website.