JoAnne Perez Robinson’s art will grace Festival poster
Gilroy – When JoAnne Perez Robinson learned that she’d placed first in the Gilroy Garlic Festival poster contest, her response was anything but subdued.

“I screamed in the woman’s ear,” she said. “I was like a game show contestant.”

And the local artist/stay-at-home mom was even more ecstatic when she learned that her good friend Jean Castillo, had placed second.

“She called me right away and we were both screaming on the phone,” Robinson said.

The longtime Gilroy resident, who learned about the poster contest while working at the Dispatch with Castillo, entered her artwork the first year it was staged, made it to the top 10, but didn’t win. She “kind of forgot about it until last year,” when she decided to enter again.

Although she lost for a second time, Robinson said she learned a lot from her participation, such as how to incorporate the Gilroy Garlic Festival lettering within the design. In her past two pieces the slogan was more of an afterthought, but this year Robinson kept those three words in mind while designing and painting her piece of art.

And apparently that approach, coupled with her skillful touch of the paintbrush, catapulted her to first place. In her winning painting Robinson used watercolors, her favorite medium, to illustrate a garlic braid resting next to a bottle of red wine tagged “Clos de Garlic.”

On the wine label, the artist etched 1979, the first year of Gilroy’s now world famous Garlic Festival. She decided to tie in wine, since the beverage is such a huge part of the festival.

Patty Sebald, a member of the Garlic Festival Association judge’s panel, said the piece really exemplifies what the event is all about.

“It captures the essence of Gilroy and the Garlic Festival,” she said.

After spending uncountable hours holed away in her studio – her adult son’s old bedroom – taking pictures and sketching the still life, Robinson finished the watercolor, turned it in and then purposely forgot about it.

“I had to put it out of my mind because I didn’t even think I would place,” she said.

That’s why the 47-year-old was particularly excited when she won.

Robinson, a married mother of two, moved to Gilroy during the first year of the festival and fell in love with both the Garlic Capitol and the event designed to showcase the city’s goods. Art has been a part of the Gilroyans’ life for as long as she remembers, but it wasn’t until her daughter came into the world that she decided to embrace the medium full-time.

“I just stopped fighting it and when my daughter was born 9 years ago I said, ‘I’m going to stay home and paint and be a mom,’ ” she said.

Robinson’s work has been displayed in Morgan Hill and other galleries and is currently hanging on the walls of Casa Galleria in San Juan Bautista.

Eleven artists entered this year’s contest. Robinson received $750, second place winner Castillo received $400 and third place winner Karen Hinds of Brentwood took home $200.

Hinds also won in 2004. This year, the GSA decided to also reprint Castillo’s vibrant computer graphic on some merchandise.

Previous articleWet Weather Means Health Problems for Some Animals
Next articleSteep Climb Continues


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here