An Artist Remembered: The Eternal Gift of Maestro Francisco Magdaleno

By Armando Vazquez

Francisco Magdaleno of Oxnard, the enigmatic introvert and artistic genius passed away September 16, 2016. He was a dear and sweet friend to all of us at the Acuna Art Gallery at the Café on A. Truth be told after many years of collaborations with Francisco in various art projects and exhibitions at the Acuna Art Gallery; I hardly knew him.  He was guarded and private with his life,a gentle reclusive who you want to get to know intimately; but for me it never happened.

I only knew Francisco through another artistic genius in our Oxnard community Jacqueline Biaggi. She introduced Francisco to me, and when he brought in his ceramic master pieces El Arrbol de la Vida and La Semilla de Humanidad, I knew instantly that I was in the presence of a master ceramicist.


La Semilla de Humanidad


El Arrbol de la Vida

In the ensuing years Francisco and Jackie collaborated on a number of important art exhibitions at the Acuna Art Gallery.  One of the most memorable exhibitions ever held at the Acuna Art Gallery was the “Collective Voices-Abundant Years”.  The “Collective Voices-Abundant Years” brought together some of the most important, creative and talented ceramists, sculptures and artists in Southern California area together. It was a once in a life time show of ceramic masters and Francisco Magdaleno, along with his great friend and Jacqueline Biaggi, were the featured artists.

I learned in my infrequent conversations with Francisco he was a mostly self-taught and possessed a knack for learning ceramic techniques from artist friends like Jacquline Biaggi and Lynn Creighton, and other artists.  He came as a full time artist rather late life and as such Francisco has a limited body of work, all the more why it should be shared.

I am moved to write this tribute to Francisco Magdaleno because I want the communities of Oxnard and Ventura and the rest of the world to know what a magnificent and magical artist he was. Hopefully this tribute will ignite a serious interest in his artistic career.  I have seen over the years art get lost, “warehoused” in garages, attics, basements, storage sheds and worst yet, discarded. Such is the life of most artists: creation, isolation, poverty, and the inevitably of death, assigned to obscurity.

From my art gallery owner’s vantage point and arm’s length companero with Francisco Magadaleno, the introvert master ceramicist, he lived his life as a recluse and he coveted his privacy. So it is my sincerest hope that this tribute shines a bright light on the magical of his art work. We are contemporaries, he is now gone and tomorrow will be my time. There is a large population of Chicano and Latino masters, still unknown and “undiscovered” by most of the American art world; artists who are into their “golden years” and the light will go out on all of us soon enough, as it recently did for Francisco.

That is why I continue to be a passionate advocate for the arts, and in particular an advocate whot thinks globally but acts locally on behalf of my artist friends. It is a labor of love, with a very specific purpose: that is to help educate energize the community regarding the majesty, magical and transformational power of the arts created by genius like Francisco.  Magdaleno is now gone, yet he is with me every day through his wondrous art that I have collected over the years. That is the eternal grandeur of art created by masters, and the eternal gift of art.

Rest in peace my brother, your master work will now speak for you.


Maestro Francisco Magdaleno



Armando Vazquez

Armando Vazquez, M.Ed.  is Executive Director of  Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition

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