El Paso muralist asked to bring town to life in ‘The Forever Purge’ »Albuquerque Journal
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Jesus “Cimi” Alvarado creates works of art with a message.
Growing up in Segundo Barrio in El Paso, his life experiences influence his work as it honors the Chicanx experience, while paying homage to his Mexican ancestors.
The El Paso-based artist owns nearly two dozen murals in his hometown of El Paso.
He takes another step forward as part of his work will be seen in the movie “The Forever Purge”, which is the fifth installment of the “The Purge” franchise, and in theaters. The franchise tells the story of where the country is in a dystopia that celebrates an annual national holiday known as the Purge, a day on which all crimes, including murder, become legal for a period of 12 hours.
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Alvarado says he was honored when director Everardo Gout contacted him.
âI did the murals in my studio and they were shipped to the studio,â he says. âThey put them in the film with special effects. I can’t wait to see how it all turned out.
El Paso is featured in “The Forever Purge” and it was important to Gout that he be portrayed in a way that is authentic and true to the city.
This is where Gout enlisted Alvarado’s help.
âCimi’s participation has been crucial in this project to give authenticity to the idea that the art and poetry created by Latinos in the United States can be used as a type of communication code that lurks in everyone’s view, âexplains Gout. âCimi’s art takes into account the Mexican-American bipolarity that exists in Texas and El Paso, which is exactly what we needed for this project.
Alvarado was delighted that Gout sought to properly portray the El Paso community in the film.
âWe need guys like him to keep the representation going,â Alvarado said. “(Everardo) gives people of color and myself, an American of Mexican descent, an opportunity to enter the film industry.”
In the film, the series of murals created by Alvarado serve as a code for those trying to escape the purge.
Alvarado is known for choosing themes and iconography for murals that resonate with Latinos.
âFor this film, I wanted to create images that I knew would be representative of El Paso and that people in my community would find relevant,â Alvarado said. âA job they can say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s El Paso’. “
The film was due out in 2020, but the pandemic forced the date to move. It hit theaters on Friday, July 2.
Alvarado hopes the international exhibition will help raise his profile in the film and television industry.
El Paso’s film industry is starting to make waves and he knows New Mexico is next door and is hoping to be exposed there.
âNetflix is ââmaking waves up there,â he says. âMy parents live in Albuquerque and it would be great to get up there and work on artwork for the movies or around the area.â