A Haitian orphan. Spools of colorful thread. A kitschy ’50s motel sign. All seemingly random subjects, but to Valencia fine arts photographer Frank Lozano, equally worthy of his attention. “I bring to life what I desire, which is passion, color and laughter. I love shape and contrast. I walk slow, not only to smell the roses, but to see what’s beyond the roses,” Lozano said. “There’s beauty in everything.”
Lozano is the featured artist throughout March at OutWest Marketing, a gallery and retail store in Newhall. Dozens of his framed prints adorn the walls, ranging from weather vanes and dried flowers taken at the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall to colorful prints that capture Lozano’s extensive travels to such exotic locales such as Haiti, Africa and Puerto Rico.
“People are attracted to his work, how his eye picks up images. What I like is that Frank finds beauty in the mundane, in what we see every day, and turns it into art,” said OutWest co-owner Bobbi Jean Bell.
It’s Lozano’s first gallery appearance, the start of a fledgling new career. The former Power FM 106 morning disc jockey and current media director for Valencia Hills Community Church has already been picked up as a featured artist at the Janice Hall Designs gallery in Palm Springs and his photos will soon grace the walls of The Horitzon Hotel, also in Palm Springs.
The momentum is somewhat shocking to Lozano, who only started posting his photos on Facebook about five months ago to online acclaim – his many friends encouraged him to try his hand at a professional showing.
“The fact that I get a chance to hold a camera and point it to a leaf outside of Subway in Stevenson Ranch, take the picture, then post it and have someone tell me, ‘That’s so beautiful,’ well, how amazing is that?” Lozano said.
Lozano’s innate enthusiasm and curiosity led him to his original career as a disc jockey. Born in Alice, Texas, Lozano and his family moved to Southern California when he was just 0 months old and eventually settled in Hacienda Heights. As a high school student, Lozano studied architecture and planned to be a graphic artist until he began listening to the radio during his part-time job.
The thought of being a disc jockey appealed to him.
“It sounded like so much fun. I mentioned the idea to my boss and he said, ‘Frank, you’re 18, if it’s something you want to do, do it. Live your life without regrets,’” Lozano recalled.
He sent an audition cassette tape to KCWM in Victoria, Texas, and to Lozano’s surprise, he was hired. Admittedly not a country music fan, Lozano said he knew he had no business being on the station.
“I’d say on air, ‘That was the new hit from Mel Tillis,’ and inevitably someone would call in and say, ‘Son, I believe that was Merle Haggard.’ It all sounded the same to me,” he said.
A year later, Lozano was in Fresno, where he stayed for two years, then moved to San Antonio for five years, where he was the host of several local television programs, including two dance shows. California continued to beckon, however, and Lozano found himself back in Los Angeles in 1988.
That same year, he attended the Hollywood Christmas Parade with his mother and became transfixed by the float run by Power 106 or 105.9 FM, a popular hip-hop radio station.
“I cried. My mother asked me what was wrong and I said, ‘I’ll be at that station in six months,” Lozano said.
It only took three months before Lozano was offered the overnight shift on Sunday mornings from 2-6 a.m. That quickly earned him a spot hosting the midnight Friday night show. In 1989, Lozano was on the Power 106 float in the Hollywood Christmas Parade.
Eventually, Lozano was given the plum “Morning Drive in Los Angeles” spot, which earned him a loyal fan base and the opportunity to hobnob with some of the music industry’s top stars. In addition to radio, Lozano’s career evolved to include numeral television appearances on “Good Day L.A.,” “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Arsenio Hall Show.”
He moved to Valencia in 2002 from Toluca Lake. When his “Lozano on the Loose” reign on Power 106 ended in 2003, the same year he turned 40, Lozano dedicated himself to faith-based non-profit work for organizations such as Three Angels Children’s Relief in Port Au Prince, Haiti.
“I know what it’s like to hang out with Snoop Dogg and have breakfast with Mariah Carey, but it’s nowhere near as cool as seeing the faces of people I’ve helped out. That’s what I love. That’s the juice,” Lozano said.
After Lozano was informed that Three Angels didn’t have a Web site, let alone a logo, he flew to the headquarters in Haiti and took photos and video, which led to creating the company’s Web site and an informational documentary. What he saw haunts him to this day.
“I remember this kid taking a tin cup and dipping it into a pothole and drinking the water from it. And this was before the earthquake,” Lozano said, shaking his head. “People are so desperate for help.”
Lozano donated sales proceeds from his Haitian prints at a recent OutWest art event to Three Angels in January. Closer to home, Lozano volunteers with several local churches, using his graphic skills to design their marketing materials, and has mentored close to 15 teenagers over the last few decades, many of whom have gone on to become disc jockeys themselves.
Making connections is important to Lozano, whether it’s the people he volunteers with or the natives he meets while traveling the world.
During a marketplace excursion from a cruise in the Panama Canal, Lozano noticed a woman who created patterned pots from local materials. He shot her holding one up against a dramatic red wall, her dark skin and weathered hands providing the striking contrast he covets.
They struck up a conversation, with the artist asking Lozano about the food on the cruise. When her eyes widened at the description of bountiful fruits available to passengers throughout the day, Lozano headed back to the ship, filled a backpack full of produce and gave it to the woman, who covered her mouth in astonishment at the sight of his offering.
“When I see that photo, I’m reminded of that interaction, that woman, the ship, the fruit. To someone else it’s a simple picture, but to me, it’s way more than that,” Lozano said, tears forming in his eyes. “I’ve always wished that people could see what I see and now they can.”
View Frank Lozano’s at OutWest Marketing through March, 24265 Main St., Newhall. (661) 255-7087. For more info, visit www.franklozano.com or befriend Lozano on Facebook.