Breckenridge Texan

A universe of possibilities: Artist Ellen Carmona-Kochoa encourages local students to pursue their dreams

A universe of possibilities: Artist Ellen Carmona-Kochoa encourages local students to pursue their dreams
January 30
12:19 2023

When Ellen Carmona-Kochoa creates art, she doesn’t limit herself to just one medium. Her artwork includes acrylics, watercolor, pen and ink, collages, and even poetry. Although much of her art is brightly colored, some are black and white, while others are almost monochromatic. She often includes fabric and jewels in the multi-media pieces.

And, that limitless freedom to pursue their own interests was one of the main messages that the artist shared with a group of Breckenridge Junior High School students when they met with her last week.

Artist Ellen Carmona-Kochoa shows a group of Breckenridge High School students the cultural elements that provide some of her inspiration. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Carmona-Kochoa’s artwork is on exhibit in the Breckenridge Fine Arts Center’s Main Gallery through Saturday, Feb. 4. There will be a reception for her from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

On Jan. 25, she came to Breckenridge from Eastland to visit with the local students and personally show them her art.

“The limit is yourself,” she told the students near the end of the discussion. “As an artist, we can actually do a lot of things. I’m sure some of you here if you want to go and pursue arts, maybe some of you would go into digital arts. … Or maybe you’ll be the first person to come up with your own art movement.”

As she explained each piece in the exhibit, Carmona-Kochoa included a bit of her own personal history, as well as some of the inspirations behind her work. She explained to the students that she painted the piece titled “I am a Universe of Possibilities” on the day that she and her family became naturalized citizens of the United States. They immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in 2016.

“I am a universe of possibilities, of unyielding potential. There is more to me…I deserve to be,” she said, reading the words written around the painting, which features a woman surrounded by swirling patterns, as well as stars on a blue background and red and white stripes.

The exhibit is titled “Introspections: A Collection of Unspoken Poetries,” and several of the paintings are accompanied by corresponding poems.

For example, Carmona-Kochoa painted “Melancholia” for a friend whose husband died during the COVID-19 pandemic. A poem by the same name accompanies it:


You promised me forever,
But none could last for eternity.

On this spot…
I gently bury you like a seed,
Water you daily with my tears.

Let our love radiate like the sun,
Grow and take root…
In the deepest recesses
Of my being

I may no longer
Be able to touch you,

But I will always feel you
In the unrelenting thrumming
Of my broken heart.

– By Ellen Carmona-Kochoa

Many of Carmona-Kochoa’s include a combination of patterns that make up the different parts of the picture, as well as symbolism. Common themes in her work are mother and child, as well as couples.

As an artist, Carmona-Kochoa finds inspiration not only from her own life but from others, as well. Her “Remembering Radium Girls” was inspired by the true stories of the women — many of them young — who worked painting radium onto the numbers on watch faces to make the numbers glow in the dark. At the time, from about 1917 through the 1930s, the harmful effects of the radioactive material were not known. Many of the women died or developed serious health problems, including tumors and pregnancy complications. Carmona-Kochoa’s painting is mostly green, symbolizing the green glow of the radium paint, and features Roman numerals, like those often found on the face of a watch. The woman at the center of the painting is pregnant, alluding to at least one of the issues the young “Radium Girls” faced.

To see Carmona-Kochoa’s exhibit, “Introspections: A Collection of Unspoken Poetries,” visit the Breckenridge Fine Arts Center at 207 N. Breckenridge Ave. The BFAC is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, weather permitting. It also is open on Saturdays for special events. If you’d like a chance to meet Carmona-Kochoa and talk to her about her artwork, she will be honored with a reception at the BFAC from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, which will be the last day of the exhibit.

For more information, call 254-559-6602 or visit the website or the BFAC’s Facebook page.

Ellen Carmona-Kochoa talks to Breckenridge Junior High students about her artwork and some of the techniques she uses to create certain looks. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Artist Ellen Carmona-Kochoa uses a variety of paints, inks, fabric, jewels and more in her mixed media artwork. Her exhibit “Introspections: A Collection of Unspoken Poetries” will be on display through Feb. 4, when there will be a reception for her from 2 to 4 p.m. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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