Ignacio Gomez was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California. His father was an immigrant from
Piedras Negras, Mexico and his mother from Zacatecas, Mexico. A graduate of Roosevelt High School. He then studied commercial art at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. He worked at McDonnell Douglas to save money to enter Art Center College of Design which is now in Pasadena. Ignacio was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1966. While in the Army he painted four murals at Fort Ord, California and four at Fort Hood, Texas. After an Honorable Discharge as a Specialist Five from the U.S. Army in 1968, he returned to Art Center. While in school, he entered a contest in which two of his paintings were accepted and printed in the New York Times, which then led to having representation in New York. Ignacio received his BA from Art Center College of Design in 1970.
Ignacio has taught at Art Center College of Design and Otis Parsons School of Fine Arts. He has also lectured at California State College, the San Diego Art Directors Club, the Denver Art Directors Club, UCLA, and various high Schools and junior high schools in the barrios of East Los Angeles and the surrounding communities. In 1990 he was invited to speak before some of this nations’s Latino College students at a conference held at Harvard University. In May of 1995 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on behalf of the youth in the community by the Salesian Boys and Girls Club.
His works have been shown in New York, Europe, Japan and Mexico. Many of his original paintings have become part of permanent corporate art collections, such as “Escape from Sobibor”, which is now hanging in the Chrysler Corporate Headquarters. “The Astronomers”, which is now in the private collections of the Keck Foundation. He has been recognized in numerous publications such as “ENCUENTROS, Hombre a Hombre” where he was featured as a roll model for the youth, by the California Department of Education, Communication Arts, Idea Magazine and Pop-eye Magazine both from Japan and Caminos Magazine.
In 1991, the Boy Scouts of America commissioned Ignacio to paint a cover for a magazine and poster honoring the soldiers returning form the Gulf War. He has been painting covers and editorial art for the Boy Scouts Magazines for the past 25 years.
Ignacio has worked on various motion picture posters and advertising campaigns. He painted a mural depicting Hispanic movie stars in Hollywood at the headquarters and theater of NOSOTROS, located in Hollywood. He is well known for the painting of Edward James Olmos as the pachuco in “Zoot Suit” a play by Luis Valdez. KCET-TV commissioned Ignacio to paint a portrait of Leonard Strauss, founder of Thrifty Drug Stores and Book of Knowledge Stores, for his 80th birthday. He painted the poster for the series “Chicano! A History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement” which aired on PBS.
In 1993, he created the “Creo” Award, a 17 inch, bronze statue for TELACU. Some of the recipients of this award have been the U.S. Secretary of Education, Honorable Richard W. Riley, Lieutenant Governor Cruz M. Bustamante, Mayor of Los Angeles, Richard J. Riordan.
He has painted many portraits of César Chávez, one with Robert Kennedy breaking bread, was presented to the Robert Kennedy family at the César Chávez and Robert Kennedy Legacy Exhibit. A print of a portrait depicting César’s life was presented to Governor Grey Davis with the Chávez Family’s signatures in commemoration of the signing of the César E. Chávez State Holiday. In the past three years, he has painted over 40 portraits for a series of calendars on top Latino entertainers, such as Edward James Olmos, Ricardo Montalban, Cristina, Jimmy Smits and Anthony Quinn to name a few. He painted the portrait of Eugene Obregon, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient to commemorate the dedication of the freeway interchange in his name, in downtown Los Angeles. He also painted four Latino Congressional Medal of Honor recipients for a historical play about their bravery, it was called “Veteranos, A Legacy of Valor” written by Enrique Castillo.
Ignacio is part of the Edward James Olmos Latino Book and Family Festival team which emphasizes books, cultural pride and computer technology for the 21st Century. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Edward James Olmos Educational Center in Montebello.
His vast collection of posters aiming towards the youth in the community, to strive for the highest in education, have become a positive enforcement to many Latino students. Many of Ignacio’s posters are now in the Smithsonian Archives. He has been featured on television and radio.
Ignacio’s wife, Imelda, born in Aguascalientes, Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, is also an artist and an elementary school computer teacher. They have four children, Greg, a graduate of Harvard University, Deanna, a graduate of California State University at Northridge, Dario, a graduate of University of Colorado, Boulder, and Elysa, a graduate of UCLA.