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Artist didn’t allow disability to prevent him from dream

David Fuentes David Fuentes’ “Just Not in for the Parking: Portraits of Past and Present” exhibit will remain on display through Sept. 27 at Victoria College’s Fine Arts Gallery.

David Fuentes was determined to prove the naysayers wrong.

Fuentes was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a youngster, but used his disability to his advantage in pursuing an art career.

“That’s what drives me,” said Fuentes, whose “Just Not in for the Parking: Portraits of Past and Present” exhibit is on display at Victoria College’s Fine Arts Gallery through Sept. 27. “When I was a kid, people were telling me I couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that. I was always the type of person who said, ‘Watch me and let’s see what I can do, and we’ll go from there. If I can’t do it, I’ll let you know.’ ”

Fuentes, who is an art professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was inspired to draw as a child by toys and comic books.

“I started out as an illustrator, and as I grew older I knew that art was kind of my niche,” Fuentes said. “So I really got serious about it in high school, and I developed from there. Then in college, I found who I was as a person.”

Fuentes’ watercolor portraits on exhibit at VC’s Fine Arts Gallery are of close friends and family members, including VC art instructor and friend, Jason Valdez.

“These are all people who I have experiences with on a daily basis or have had experiences with along the way,” Fuentes said. “I ask them what their favorite colors are. Then I make sure their portraits are painted with their favorite two colors.”

Victoria College’s Fine Arts Gallery, which is located on VC’s Main Campus at 2200 E. Red River Street in Victoria, is open Monday through Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.