Fruitvale Mural Design, 1979

My artistic philosophy guides my work and of course my life. Although I address many issues, there are three prominent themes that run through my work. They are injustice, empowerment and international struggle. In my images of struggle for justice I try to illuminate with clarity the defects of social and political existence. The art historian, Dr. Ramon Favela has said of my work, "With strident forms of great simplicity and power the message conveyed by Montoya's posters are exceedingly clear...his images are of a dispossessed humanity restrained and shackled by an incomprehensible and nefarious political condition."

My images of empowerment are intended to confront the multitude of images of disempowerment given to us by our daily media. Images that disguise reality, manipulate consciousness, and lull the creative imagination to sleep. In my images I pay tribute to those who struggle on a daily basis. I pay homage to the workers and I aggrandize their efforts. I celebrate small and large victories of the human spirit. I depict people in control of their lives working together to change and transform their reality. As Bertol Brecht said, "Art should not be a mirror of reality but a hammer with which to shape a new reality."

Images of international struggle are important to our community. They bring solidarity and for this reason, my work is replete with international themes. My work attempts to serve as a bridge between our struggle and those of other countries. This helps to give us a better understanding of the world we live in and show us that we are not an isolated culture that failed but that we have a common antagonist that makes it necessary for us to unite. From Angola to Central America, from Palestine to the barrio, I have created images that speak to the disenfranchised. In this sense my work bears the imprint of contemporary Chicano Art which "reaches beyond the confines of the barrio." However, it does so in a more dramatic sense, traveling through continents as well.

I must say my work is often referred to as propaganda art. I don't mind being labeled as such since I feel all work is propagandist in nature; it just depends who you want to propagandize for. From cave painting to the present, art has always spoken on someone's behalf.

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